Choosing the perfect countertop can be challenge, but your options have never been quite as diverse. From wood to stone to tile, countertops have become as revolutionary and stylish as the kitchens they cover. New developments and old-world charm combine to bring you the best in functionality and design. But determining the perfect countertop depends upon your lifestyle as well as your cooking habits. Below are just a few of the types of countertops available for your next kitchen remodeling project.
A classic countertop option of the past, wood has most recently been relegated to strictly butcher block status due to appearance and cleanliness concerns. Despite its absence from kitchen showroom, it has been recently staging a comeback as a warm alternative to today’s industrial kitchens. Softer than stone or tile countertops, it has always been knife-friendly, provided you can put up with minor scratches and dents, but it has little resistance to heat and must be protected from hot pots. Although it requires frequent sanding, oiling and sealing, it can be complimented with other type of countertops to offer warmth and versatility. Typical costs are $50-$200 per square foot.
Laminate countertops not only offer a wide array of colors and designs, but do so to those on a budget. At $10-$20 a square foot, laminate countertops have been a great choice for generations and continue to be, especially since new technology produces the color through the entire surface of the laminate rather than simply the top layer. This allows them an increased ability to resist damage and dents. Still, laminates can not only stain and scratch, but also have the potential to burn and may not be the perfect match for the gourmet kitchen. But if price is a concern, you will struggle to find a more perfect combination of price and style.
A newer entrance onto the widespread market, stone countertops have gained popularity as mining and cutting technology has brought down the price. At $60-$220 a square foot, it is one of the more expensive options, despite its long lifespan and versatility. As a general rule, stone countertops are resistant to heat and light scratches, but are tough on knifes and dishware and glass that can break when dropped from even small heights. Sealants are frequently necessary to protect more porous stones from stains, but expect variations due to normal wear and tear.
Combining price with versatility, solid surface and synthetic quartz countertops are a good match. At $40-$100 per square foot, they may not be the least expensive, but they are fairly maintenance free. Solid surface and synthetic quartz countertops offer a wide array of color selections. Some heat and scratching damage is possible, although it may be removed with sanding as necessary.
• Ceramic Tile
Ceramic and porcelain tiles can be used on countertops as well as floor to create a mixture of colors and patterns. In a quaint kitchen or where cooking will be minimal, tile countertops may be a good choice to offer the most decorating options. With an uneven surface, though, tile countertops can allow for staining in both unsealed tile and grout that can be frustrating and difficult to keep clean. Just like stone, it is also hard on knives and dishware and glass, although it is extremely heat resistant. At $20-$100, it is a specialty option that can also be easily installed by the do-it-yourselfer.
Although still uncommon, concrete has established itself as a dependable countertop surface for its excellent heat and scratch resistance. At $75-$200 a square foot, concrete can be stained virtually any color and will develop character over time with hairline cracks and gradual color deepening. Waxing and sealing is critical to prevent staining on the porous concrete. Additional structure or cabinet structure may be necessary to support the additional weight of a concrete countertop.
A choice of professionals and industrial kitchens for decades, metal countertops allow for excellent cleanup and low maintenance. Lacking in warmth, it may need to be combined with wood cabinets or warm colors to avoid looking too industrial. At $75-$150 per square foot, it is a good option for food preparing areas, but be prepared for scratches and dents especially on polished surfaces. It is heat resistant, but is tough on knives and dishware.
The choices are many, so make sure you match the best one to your style and cooking habits.