Kitchens are generally the heart of the home. This is the place where memories begin. The kitchen is usually the most commonly used room in houses. This is where a person’s day starts and is the center of your family’s day-to-day living. The kitchen is especially important during the holiday season because this is where all of the meals are prepared and most likely where your guests socialize together. It’s where you are going to design Christmas cookies with your children and grandchildren. Think of your favorite recipe that’s been passed down in your family for generations. Now, think about it being made. How do you visualize the kitchen?
Countertops are the focal point of a kitchen. They are the first things guest see when arriving and most likely the last thing your guest will remember when leaving. They will be continuously used every day for many different tasks, so it is imperative to know how long these countertops will be used. The length of time is a huge factor in deciding which material is right for you, as all materials have different lifespans just like humans have different lifespans. Many different types of countertops can be installed in kitchens. This article will discuss the 5 most popular types of kitchen countertops and why they are great additions to your kitchen. Also, this article will discuss the disadvantages of each stone type. The goal of this article is for the reader to be completely confident on what kind of countertop they are buying for their kitchen.
Types of Kitchen Countertops
When a person thinks of kitchen countertops, granite is usually the first material to come to mind. It is commonly used in kitchens because of its strength and beautiful features. Granite is the best known igneous rock. Granite is harder than marble with large mineral grains. It is commonly used in kitchen countertops because of its great durability. Ordinary kitchenware such as knives and cutlery can be used on granite because it won’t typically scratch the surface. Also, it can be very chaotic in design. All pieces of granite are different in color even though the “name” type is the same. It is a stone that is hard to match years down the road. That being said, some granites are more consistent with their veining and color. Even though granite is beautiful, it does require maintenance to keep its beauty.
Yes, granite is an amazingly durable natural material. However, it still has its disadvantages. Granite is a naturally porous material, so it is highly susceptible to staining. Colored liquids can leave stains on the granite if not cleaned up quickly. The most damaging stains typically come from oils. To protect your granite countertops, it is highly recommended that you have them sealed every so often, depending on the sealer instructions. Granite can also trap bacteria. If your granite isn’t properly sealed, when you wipe a towel across the surface it could push food, liquid, and bacteria into its pores. Granite is also a strong material, so it is important to remember to have brackets installed under overhangs greater than 10 inches so that the countertop doesn’t crack or break off.
Marble is another magnificent natural stone that can raise the value on your home. This is one of the most sought-after materials for countertops because of its unique veining. Marble has this brightness that cannot be matched by any other type of stone. Surprisingly it is generally less expensive than other natural stones because it is widely available.
There a few disadvantages to having this lovely stone in your kitchen. Due to marble’s soft nature, it is more prone to both staining and scratching. There are sealers to help with this, but unfortunately, etching can still occur from oil and acidic based stains, for example, wine. This is why marble is strongly recommended for bathrooms instead of kitchens. When purchasing marble, it is crucial to consider the length of time you are wanting to keep the countertops. Generally, marble doesn’t last as long as granite or quartz, even when it is sealed and kept up well.
Quartz countertops are relatively new. However, they are becoming one of the most popular countertop types for kitchen use. Quartz is similar to both granite and marble in that it does come from the earth. However, quartz has manmade properties, such as a resin that bonds it together. Because of this resin, quartz doesn’t have to be sealed like granite and marble do. The manufacturing process allows the quartz to come in a number of many colors. It can take on the look of both marble and some consistent granite patterns.
Quartz is just as durable as both concrete and granite but is more forgiving when it comes to chipping and cracking. Quartz is typically a non-porous stone which makes it less susceptible to staining. It also does not trap dirt and bacteria which makes it easy to clean and perfect for kitchen countertop use. Kitchen countertops are general 3cm thick; however, some homeowners and designers prefer 2cm thick tops. Quartz is the only material that can be cut down safely without damaging the rest of the material.
Like with every stone, quartz does have its disadvantages. One of the biggest downfalls of any quartz product is the price. Generally, quartz is more expensive and can run anywhere from $115-$200 per square foot. This price is competitive with most high-end granites and marbles. Be careful when placing hot pots and pans on this surface because quartz is not heat resistant like granite. A hot pot sat directly on quartz will leave a burn mark. Quartz also scratches easier than granite, and it cannot easily be repaired.
Quartzite, also a relatively new product is becoming very popular among homeowners and interior designers. It is very sophisticated in its looks, has natural strength, and is very low maintenance. Quartzite is commonly found in the following finishes:
Because it is available in these three different finishes, it is perfect for contemporary, traditional, and transitional design types. Quartzite and Quartz are not the same even though their names are similar. Quartz is a mineral from the earth as stated above, however resins, pigments, and polymers are added to it to make it into the countertop quartz that was previously mentioned. Quartzite starts out as the mineral sandstone which evolves over time by using heat and pressure turning into quartzite. It is a very resilient material and is very easy to maintain. Quartzite is an excellent alternative for people who want marble but need something that is stronger and more resistant to staining and etching. It is also easy to clean and can be sanitized. Also, if a customer is designing a kitchenette outdoors, quartzite is the perfect countertop material because it is highly resistant to UV rays. This means that there’s less a chance of fading to occur.
Even though quartzite is a great alternative to marble, it still has some disadvantages. Quartzite may be very strong; however, it is not indestructible. It needs to be sealed every year. Which is more often than any other natural material. The colors of quartzite are typically natural, but you may be able to find a few blue or green pieces available.
Concrete countertops are becoming very popular due to the rustic trend that is taking the design trend by storm. This material is also very durable. However, there are many disadvantages to putting concrete countertops in your kitchen. Concrete is very susceptible to both scratches and stains. Sealed concrete has its downfalls also, similar to marble or granite, concrete will show markings, especially spills of things like coffee, wine or dark juices. This might seem surprising due to its durability. Have you ever walked down the sidewalk and noticed the cracks in the surface? That will happen to your countertops. Concrete generally cracks. The investment is also substantial. This stone takes 28 days to cure fully and are pretty expensive. Even the “do it yourself” method is costly, with the average cost ranging from $65 to $135.
All of the materials above can be used for kitchen countertops. However, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before deciding which material is perfect to complete your dream kitchen. Keep in mind that if you use your kitchen more than 3 or 4 times a day, the material you decide should be as resilient as possible. Also, the length of overhang should be considered as well as the form of the countertop itself. The materials listed earlier are available in tile as well as full slabs. The most important considerations that you need to make are a function, style, and budget. When deciding the type of kitchen countertop, the options are endless. The countertop types mentioned earlier are all wonderful choices and are sure to make the heart of your home amazing.
A husband and father of two boys, an entrepreneur and business owner, a homeowner and a writer.