Posts Tagged ‘countertops’

I’ve been watching a lot of HGTV lately, and I’ve noticed that when walking into the kitchen, the homeowners always complain about the same thing: “hmm…These countertops aren’t granite.” That one always makes me roll my eyes. Personally, I’m a bit tired of granite countertops. They can be really beautiful, but more often than not I find they all look kind of the same. I can’t help but wonder, when it comes to countertops, is granite really the best thing out there? Take a look at what I found below.

1. Quartz

A kitchen with quartz countertops

Quartz is a manufactured stone product, which gives it the look of granite for a slightly lower price tag. That’s not to say that quartz is cheap – it can run anywhere from $50-$200 a square foot. The combination of materials in these countertops gives the finish a depth that no other counters have.

Pros: Because quartz countertops are man-made, they can come in a much wider range of colors than natural stone. It’s also the most durable counter on the market – unlike granite, it’s very resistant to chipping or cracking. Because it’s not a porous material it cleans easily, doesn’t stain, and doesn’t harbor bacteria.

Cons: Not many. Quartz is slightly less heat resistant than stone counters. Also, because of its contemporary look, your quartz counters could look dated in 10 years. And with the hefty price, you won’t want to be changing them up with the next trend. But if you really love them, they’ll probably last you a lifetime!

2. Concrete

Concrete countertops

Concrete is an up-and-comer in the countertop world, probably because they can be colored and stained to fit with any space – often in beautiful, artistic patterns. They are truly one-of-a-kind, which is one of the reasons why they’ve become so popular. Depending on the intricacy of your design, they can range from $75-$150 a square foot, making this option on the higher end of the scale.

Pros: Concrete is tough! It can withstand just about anything, which is why we use it to construct our buildings. A concrete countertop is both scratch-resistant and heat-resistant. It’s also being called the more eco-friendly choice, which is an important consideration for many homeowners.

Cons: The maintenance. Although concrete is tough, it must be sealed every few years to stay that way. If it’s not sealed correctly, it becomes very susceptible to chipping, cracking, and staining. This can be a headache for some, and also add a lifetime of additional costs.

3. Tile

A kitchen with tile countertops

Tile has been around forever – it’s a classic design material that isn’t likely to ever go out of style. It’s also relatively low cost. Depending on the type of tile you choose and the intricacy of the work, they can run anywhere between $2-$150 a square foot. When going with tile, stick to quality ceramics and porcelains with a narrow, dark grout for maximum durability.

Pros:  Tile is easy to clean, and heat and water resistant. You can also get tiles in many varieties, and lay them in many different ways (such as mosaic), creating a personalized look.

Cons: Tile produces an uneven surface, which can be frustrating when you’re using it to prepare meals. It’s also not a very durable option. Tile chips and cracks easily. What’s worse, the grout in between the tiles can become discolored and wear away.

4. Laminate

A kitchen with laminate counters

Laminate countertops are the go-to for the budget conscious renovator. They’re usually priced somewhere between $10-$60 a square foot. These days they come in a huge variety of colors and patterns, making them able to fit into any space. It’s a great low-cost option.

Pros: Apart from budgetary benefits, laminate counters are very easy to install, and are resistant to stains and water. They’re also incredibly low maintenance.

Cons: As I mentioned in the intro paragraph, laminate countertops are not desirable to a buyer. That means that when you do sell, you won’t have that dream kitchen they’re all looking for. They’re also not heat resistant, and they can crack and scratch.

5. Stainless steel

A home kitchen with stainless steel countertops

This option has always been a favorite in industrial kitchens, but lately we’re starting to see stainless steel counters in ultra modern home kitchens as well. It will cost you, however. Stainless steel countertops start on average at $100 a square foot, and can run up to $300.

Pros: There’s a reason busy restaurants choose this material. It’s incredibly durable, so easy to clean, and stain and heat resistant. Also, its shiny surface is great for reflecting light, which is always a plus in the kitchen, when shadows can make it difficult to prepare food.

Cons: Even though it’s easy to clean, it dirties very easily too – you might be forever wiping fingerprints from your counters! It can also nick and scratch, and its metal surface can be very noisy for a home setting.

6. Butcher block

A kitchen with butcher block counters

The wood grain in butcher block can bring a lot of warmth to the space. In addition, wood countertops  can be an eco-friendly option; it’s a renewable resource, and you can always choose native or local woods. This material can cost anywhere between $40-$150 a square foot. Personally, butcher block is my favorite countertop aesthetic. However when you look at the pros and cons, it may make more sense to keep the butcher block to a smaller area such as the island instead of the entire kitchen.

Pros: Unlike stone, wood is an incredibly forgiving material. Any delicate item dropped on it will probably survive. It’s an excellent surface for chopping and prepping food and, when cared for properly, can last a lifetime.

Cons: To keep your butcher block counters looking their best, they require regular maintenance and sealing. Wood can be easily damaged by burns, dents, spills and scratches. Then there’s the water to worry about. If the counter is installed around the sink and not properly sealed, it can discolor and even develop rot and mould.

7. Granite

A kitchen with granite counters

Finally, back to our old friend granite. Granite countertops have been in vogue for nearly two decades now, and with good reason. They’re known as being the height of luxury, but depending on what you’re looking for, you can find granite countertops anywhere between $45-$400 a square foot. They also come in a wide variety of colors to match nearly any kitchen.

Pros: Granite is a very durable material – it’s resistant to scratching, staining, heat and water. Also, because most home buyers are looking for granite countertops, they will increase the resale value of your home.

Cons: Your granite counters will need to be resealed regularly. Although they are durable, they can chip or crack on impact.

Given all these wonderful options, which would you choose? Let us know in a comment!