The kitchen is one of the most functional and central rooms in your home, so decisions about its most utilized materials should be made with careful consideration. Countertops are incredibly important in your kitchen, since they are a key work area for practically every activity that it’s used for. They are also among the most expensive pieces in a kitchen renovation, so it’s crucial to make sure the investment in your choice is a wise one.
While there are many materials you are likely familiar with, there are even more new and innovative ones you may not be. Finding the best countertop choice for your needs and your budget can seem confusing, but we’re here to help!
Types of kitchen countertops materials
When giving our kitchen a makeover, the countertops are usually the first thing we think of as being the focal point of ‘beautifying’ the space, besides the cabinets. With so many colours, finishes and materials available, the possibilities are endless.
Laminate is the most popular budget-friendly material. It’s a good option if you’re going for a simple and affordable material, with a somewhat similar look to stone.
Practical and very good value. It’s a good option for someone looking to give the kitchen a facelift without breaking the bank. It’s good for those who would like to prioritize other features in the kitchen, such as new appliances. While not as heat resistant as natural stone, it tends to do the job for most practical purposes and is almost just as resistant to stains.
With cheaper materials, there are always going to be drawbacks. Cutting directly on this surface is likely to cause scratches, and the general durability of leaves it subject to wear and tear much sooner than stone. Depending on the quality of the laminate, it can have a “cheap” appearance compared to polished stone. For the amateur chef, it’s not the ideal material.
Quartz has become more popular in recent years due to its versatility. It’s an engineered stone which mimics the look and feel of natural stone such as granite but with increased durability and stain resistance.
Being more durable and than granite, quartz is a more practical option, with less need to worry about chipping, scratching, or staining. It doesn’t require sealing, so maintenance becomes a lot cheaper and less time consuming, as stains are very unlikely to penetrate the surface. When it comes to the best value of practicality and style, quartz tends to be the most recommended.
As it is an imitation stone, it does not have the prestige of natural stone, with its unique and naturally occurring veining. It is also not as heat resistant as natural stone like granite, so dishes straight from the oven can discolour quartz if put directly on the countertop.
A wooden countertop is often installed as part of the total countertop area, in combination with another material. It is the ideal material for chopping and slicing as it replicates the attributes of a cutting board. It is made by bonding together strips of wood for use as a work surface. Butcher blocks are usually made from maple due to its density and strength, however, oak, walnut, teak and cherry wood are sometimes used.
It does provide extra functionality to your kitchen workspace to have a permanent area dedicated to chopping and slicing. It also provides a more genuine look to the kitchen, as a space where cooking is done, rather than just a space ‘for show’.
As you can expect with using sharp instruments on wood, butcher blocks are susceptible to scratches. They will therefore require period maintenance to keep a polished look.
While concrete countertops aren’t well known, their beauty is undeniable. They offer a fresh, timeless, and raw look that remains unmatched! They’re also great for everyone, from the microwave cook to the chef extraordinaire, and come in a variety of styles. Just change the concrete’s composition (i.e., aggregate) to create a look that suits your taste!
Concrete countertops are extremely heat resistant and easy to maintain. Since they don’t come in one slab like natural stone countertops, they can be cast and custom made for your kitchen.
Much like natural stone countertops, concrete is porous, so it needs a sealer to protect it. Its price point is similar to quartz, but its finish isn’t as luxurious.