There are many options available for homeowners when they are trying to decide which material to use for their kitchen countertops. Having multiple options to choose between can be exciting, and at times overwhelming, so we decided to share some expert knowledge that we’ve gained on this particular subject from years of being the premiere interior design firm in Scottsdale.
Choosing the right kitchen countertop material is paramount to the overall success of your design or remodel. A kitchen countertop often represents a large percentage of surface area in a kitchen, and as a result, will influence many other kitchen palettes moving forward.
We will break down some of the most popular types of countertops you should consider in a bit, but first here are three things you should consider before committing to a specific material:
1) Make sure the material you select matches your overall theme and vision for the kitchen.
Browse interior design galleries that feature kitchens or ideabooks that share common traits for what you want in your remodel or new design and determine what material those kitchens used. If you find a kitchen you love, chances are using the same countertop material that kitchen has will fit perfectly with your desired theme.
2) Consider how your kitchen will be utilized.
Factors such as frequency of use, projected wear and tear, and type of cooking all play a part in deciding what countertop material you should choose. Different materials have different levels of durability and what amount of heat they can sustain without being damaged.
3) Keep your budget in mind.
Make sure that while your countertop of choice coincides with your desired kitchen style, it doesn’t push you over budget. Choose a countertop that expresses your vision for the entire room, yet doesn’t cost more than your total projected budget.
Now we will get into the specifics of some popular countertop materials that should hopefully make your decision easier and well-informed.
First up: Natural Stone – This includes Granite, Marble, and Soapstone.
Granite is the most commonly used countertop in today’s market. It is very durable and can be sealed for added durability. Another advantage is there are a fairly wide range of color choices with granite. Take into consideration that with stone countertops, whatever the type, will need routine maintenance as they must be sealed every couple of years to ensure prevention of stains. You don’t want to avoid hosting a dinner party or weekend brunch due to an unsightly countertop freckled with stains. Stone countertops are a good option, however they must be properly maintained.
Quartz- This includes Silestone, Caesarstone, and Cambria. These countertops are also very durable, and they can be a great alternative to natural stone as they do not need as much maintenance/upkeep. Quartz countertops also come in a wide range of colors and patterns which makes fitting them into your desired theme that much easier.
Concrete – These countertops generally convey a more industrial/edgy look than other materials, which may be perfect for your kitchen, or it may steer the rest of your kitchen away from your original idea. Check out other kitchens with concrete counters to see how they developed an overall look and feel. With that said, one distinct advantage to concrete countertops is that they are very versatile. Concrete can be cast into any shape, color, or tint; this allows you to get creative and doesn’t limit you as much as other countertops will. Concrete stands up to heavy use, however, like natural stone; it needs to be sealed for protection. An additional trait you should consider is that concrete is not as heat resistant as other materials, and depending on what the planned use is for your counter, you may want to choose a material that is resistant to higher temperatures.
Wood, Butcher Block – This is a natural and classic countertop option. One major consideration for wooden countertops is that they will need to be cleaned more often due to bacteria build-up. One tip for this type of counter: the surface can be sanded down to eliminate scratches from daily use.
Metal, Stainless Steel – Metal countertops are most commonly used in commercial kitchens because of their durability and clean look. This option is the best for minimal bacteria build up and high resistance to heat. If you want durability and have less time to commit to cleaning and sanitization, metal countertops are ideal.
Solid Surfacing (laminate) – While these countertops may not be as visually appealing as natural stone or quartz, they are maintenance free. Solid surfacing countertops also have a huge range of color options, which makes them easy to tailor to your style needs. However, they don’t stand up as well against hot pans or sharp knives, so our suggestion; they are great for a laundry room or utility room, but not necessarily for a kitchen you expect to be cooking frequently in.
To wrap it all up, we know that choosing a countertop material for your kitchen can be daunting, but it shouldn’t be. After taking a look at the different types of materials we listed above, weigh the pros and cons for each one. Think about what type of material will best fit how you plan to use your kitchen. After you’ve done that, always consider whether or not the type of material you have in mind for your countertop fits your desired vision, style, and theme. If not, find out if it is possible to customize the type of material you want in a manner that will allow you to take advantage of the material’s benefits while still integrating it flawlessly with your initial vision.