Kitchen Counter Tops for Function and Style
Kitchen countertops can be the centerpiece of a kitchen remodel bringing together the cabinets, floor, walls, and backsplash. This surface is one of the most prominent in the kitchen, especially, if there is an island, and can set the tone or the “feel” of your kitchen. Kitchen countertops can offer drama, a crisp no-nonsense feel, or soothe the eye. There are many choices for kitchen countertops and we will address a few.
Quartz Counter Tops
Top choice in 2020 for kitchen countertops is still Quartz. This engineered stone, made from a blend of stone chips, resins, and pigments with their primary ingredient being ground quartz (about 94 percent), combined with polyester resins to bind it and pigments to give it color has replaced granite for the top pick. Made from one of the hardest minerals on earth, quartz countertops are the most durable option for kitchens. They’re also some of the most eye-catching. Manufacturers have been coming up with new patterns for the versatile material, which can imitate the look of granite and marble or offer bold colors. Some designs include recycled glass or metallic flecks added to the mix. They are also stain and scratch-resistant—and nonporous, so they never need to be sealed. Unlike natural-stone slabs, which are mined, these slabs are engineered in a factory.
Pros: Non-porous, so it’s stain, mildew, and germ-resistant; strong and easy to buff out scratches; can be installed seamless and made to imitate other high-end materials like marble and granite.
Cons: Vulnerable to heat, dents, and scratches; relatively expensive
Granite Counter Tops
Granite, battling for second choice, is a quarried rock which in its natural appearance has a medium to coarse-grained texture and comes mostly in medium to dark colors. This surface can come highly polished or honed. Honed granite has a matte finish and is less impervious to staining than the highly polished finish.
Pros –Granite is a natural creation. One piece of rock is not like any other in the world. This quality is what makes granite so beautiful and desired. The individuality of each granite slab is what draws so many to choosing this surface, as well as ease in cleaning.
Cons – The surface can have streaks of color and veining causing a difference in color range and tone between pieces. Requires proper sealing, some recommend twice a year to prevent staining. Over time cracks can appear, if it’s not properly sealed. Something to know; there is some granite that doesn’t require sealing, check with your dealer when choosing your slab.
Wood Counter Tops
The contender to granite tops is Wood. Constructed from pieces of hardwood laminated together with glue for strength and stability, they provide a warm, organic landing surface in a kitchen, one that is wonderfully forgiving, gentle on dishware, and able to absorb the noise of a busy household. The majority of wood countertops are made from traditional butcher block, and while they may see some mild meal prep, they’re rarely used for chopping these days.
Pros – Wood can be revived if damaged; if it gets dinged, stained, or gouged, you can refinish it. The variety of woods available is impressive, from subtly grained maple to deep, rich walnut. Wood offers warmth to the stainless appliances found in many kitchens. It helps absorb the noise of a busy household.
Cons – Wood is a good choice, but it does require some care & attention like sealing to help keep it clean since it is a very porous material. Wood countertops are susceptible to stains, cuts, and burns. Some other concerns of wood countertops that owners have are bacteria contamination, and warping and cracking of the wood.
Marble Counter Tops
Lastly, we will offer the option of Marble countertops. Marble is a rock that changes from its original form (in this case, limestone or dolomite rock) to marble under severe pressure and heat. This distinctive aspect of marble–the veining–is the result of impurities in the original limestone. Under extreme pressure and heat, the original materials completely re-crystallize. The purest marble is white, the type that Renaissance artists carved into statues.
Pros– Marble countertops can be fabricated to have fancy ogee edges due to the softness and overall workability of marble. Decent Durability – Even with marble’s inherent “softness,” it is still hard enough to withstand high traffic. Resists Heat – It’s an ideal work surface because it is heat resistant, lending itself well to kitchen use.
Cons – The cost, Scratches tend to be more of an issue with polished marble. Due to its softness or porosity, it’s also prone to staining, certain foods, especially on the acidic side, can result in permanent stains. Sealing the marble countertop and keeping up with sealing on a regular basis (usually annually) helps prevent staining.
The trend is returning to the kitchen as the heart of the home. High tech may be the order of the day for appliances, lighting, etc… but now, we are seeing kitchens become the main gathering place for family and friends, as in days gone by. When considering your remodel, give it a “welcome feel” inviting your guests to settle in and share their lives as they share a meal.
A recent Houzz study for kitchen trends in 2020 feature the top upgrade during kitchen renovations is the countertop. Check out some of the other stats they gathered for this year in the report. Kitchen Designers can be very helpful in navigating the options available for your kitchen.