“Kitchen Counters: So Many Choices…”
My kitchen desperately needs updating. I don’t think the builder’s wife ever spent a moment in the kitchen, let alone a full day, so I spend a lot of my free time thinking about and researching looks for my new kitchen. Until now, I hadn’t given much thought to what type of material is best for my countertops.
Almost everyone knows about granite, but did you know soapstone and slate are also natural stone that make great counters? Of the 3, granite offers the most variations of color and movement of pattern, but soapstone and slate can be formed into sinks to match the countertop. Although slate is the softest of the 3 materials, scratches can be buffed out with steel wool. Granite can be shiny, or for a more modern look, matt finished.
Other stone options are quartz, carrera marble, and travertine. Because travertine has to be sealed periodically to prevent bacteria from forming in the pitted surface, it is more high maintenance than the other options. Quartz, on the other hand, is one of the hardest materials on the planet and doesn’t need to be sealed so it’s virtually maintenance free. The beauty of Carrera marble is that the veins hide normal wear and tear and stains, while still costing less than other types of marble.
Some people turn up their noses at manmade materials like Corian, and engineered stone like Silestone, but they’ve been around for 40 years, and provides a highly durable, and versatile surface. If you can dream it, chances are your contractor can make your dreams come true with these materials.
If you crave a more modern look, you have several impeccable choices: concrete, stainless steel, and glass. Restaurants use stainless steel polished to a #4 matt finish because its easy to keep clean, making it and glass some of the most hygienic materials available. More expensive than some of your other options, glass has become increasingly popular because it offers a sleek look that can be customized in a vast array of colors, textures, and shapes. Choose glass that’s at least one inch thick and tempered for added durability.
Concrete is not only versatile, mixing well with other materials to create a unique look, but energy efficient. Concrete holds the heat when the house is warm and releases it into the air when the house cools down.
Looking for old school? Try a tiled countertop or for a warmer look, wood. Wood, once sealed is highly durable and you can place anything on it including hot pots and casseroles. Tile was probably more popular before the trend towards seamless countertops took off.
What would you choose?
- 6 Great Countertops: How to Choose the Best Material (Popular Mechanics)
- Our 10 Favorite Kitchen Countertop Materials (HGTV)