Many material options are now available for kitchen countertops, and most of the best ones require a considerable investment. Choosing the right one is a bit of a big deal, partly because of the cost, and partly because of its role in the kitchen. Countertops serve many functions, so the material must be attractive and sturdy enough for that.
A good way to make an informed decision is to know a bit about all these material options. In most cases, the materials most people choose are the best ones, so here are seven of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops.
The top choice today for kitchen countertops is quartz stone, a manmade or engineered stone that comes under many brands. The main component of quartz stone is natural quartz mineral, which makes it extremely durable. Between 4% and 10% of quartz stone is resins, pigments as well as other substances for various purposes, such as retard bacterial growth or add uniqueness to the stone.
Early design s of quartz countertops attempted to duplicate the look of naturals stones, particularly granite and marble. Many brands continue to come out with these mimics today, but quartz stone has since evolved into a force of its own.
Since it is a manmade stone, the sky is the limit when it comes to color, design, composition, and characteristics of each product. Manufacturers can and do produce quartz stone for kitchen countertops that are unmistakably not natural stones, and some lines are truly amazing and fantastic.
While wonderful colors and designs are important, the best thing about quartz is its durability and low maintenance. It is non-porous, so it is staining resistant as well as scratch resistant. However, quartz countertops are not particularly heat-resistant and not suitable for outdoor use as direct sunlight fades it.
Granite is no longer the top choice for kitchen countertops, but it comes as a close second to quartz stone. Most people continue to choose granite because it comes in many beautiful colors and designs, and no two slabs are the same, so each kitchen countertop is unique. It is almost as durable as quartz stone, generally resistant to scratches and stains, and high resistant to heat.
Moreover, granite can last for a long time without damage, even when exposed to the elements. It is also available from many sources, so you are sure to find the exact slab you want from the local showroom. Having granite countertops in your home in good condition is an asset in case you plan to sell.
Like quartz, you need professional help to fabricate and granite countertops. While this may cost you initially, it is unlikely that you will need to replace them in the foreseeable future, so it is money well spent.
Marble countertops are also popular with people that like a bit of elegance and luxury in their natural stones. It costs about the same as granite, so budget is not a factor when comparing the two materials.
The wow factor of marble countertops persists even after centuries of use, but it has suffered some bad press as some circles have declared it too much trouble to use as kitchen countertops. Marble is a soft material compared to quartz and granite, and porous to boot. It also reacts quickly to the presence of acid due to its calcite base.
That said, the high maintenance required for marble countertops is wildly exaggerated. Marble countertops require regular sealing, but daily cleaning and upkeep is comparable to both granite and quartz.
Another somewhat popular natural stone is soapstone, which some people mistake for marble. It is also a metamorphic rock like marble, but it is very different from it. Architectural soapstone is generally durable and non-porous, which makes it a good option for kitchen countertops. The most common color is a light gray with faint veins, and the stone darkens over time, eventually acquiring the look of an antique.
The problem is soapstone is softer than marble and requires regular applications of mineral oil to darken evenly. It is also more expensive than marble and granite, and has a narrower range of colors, so it might not be the most practical or esthetic choice for modern kitchens.
People do not normally associate slate with kitchen countertops, but it has its own charm. Coming in darker colors than many natural stones, it has a gritty texture that some people find attractive. It is also generally non-porous, durable, and stain resistant. However, the inherent roughness of the stone makes it a bit harder to clean, and it does not accept a glossy finish at all. If you want something sleek and shiny for your kitchen countertops, you might want to consider granite, quartz, or marble instead of slate. A better use for slate is for kitchen and bathroom floors, as it is not slippery even when wet.
Solid surfaces are manmade like quartz stone and come in a wide range of designs and colors. Unlike quartz, however, it is not very durable as it is a mix of materials other than natural stone. In fact, you can cut it with ordinary power tools, so you can fabricate and install it yourself. It is also not scratch or heat resistant, so that can be a problem if you use it for kitchen countertops. That said, solid surfaces are less expensive than most stones, so it can be a good option if you want a stone-like material for less.
Ceramic tiles are still popular in kitchens today, but mostly for backsplashes and floors. It has limited use as kitchen countertops because it has many seams and keeping the grout clean and stain free is usually a problem. That said, ceramic tile countertops are quite durable and the most affordable material in this list. You can also DIY ceramic tile countertops, so that means more savings. If function and budget is your major considerations, this is a good option for you.
These 7 most popular choices for kitchen countertops should point the way to the material that best suits your needs. If you are still uncertain, consult with the experts. Silver Marble Granite is a ONE-STOP SHOP for home improvement, and we specialize in the best kitchen countertops in Northern Virginia. We service the areas of Washington D.C., Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, among others. You can visit our showroom in Sterling, VA to see the products before you buy.
We have a wide range of options for granite and marble countertops, with actual slabs available for your inspection in our showroom. However, we also carry some of the best brands of engineered quartz, including Silestone, MSI, Cambria, and Caesarstone, if you prefer manmade stones. We work only with the best brands in the business and can offer better prices and faster turnarounds than big box stores.
Check out our website for some of the best deals in kitchen countertops and other products to make your home a better place. We offer free quotes for all your kitchen countertop needs. You will be amazed at the deals we can offer you!