With so many different countertop material options, how do you decide which is best for your home?
If you’re looking for a natural stone, granite is the best choice. It’s comprised of many different minerals that give each slab of countertop a unique and attractive appearance. Granite is ecofriendly, heat, scratch and stain resistant, and also has durability and strength to last over time with proper care. It was used in ancient Egypt to build pyramids and continues to grace today’s kitchen designs.
Quartz is an engineered product and is one of the toughest countertop materials. Many enjoy this type because of its many options for color, patterns, textures, and finishes. There is no need for sealing and it is non porous and durable. It is resistant to stains, bacteria and scratches. It is low maintenance and can last a lifetime if treated properly. The downside of this stone is that it is not heat resistant and direct sunlight over an extended period of time will cause it to fade.
Laminate countertops are the most affordable due to the surface being made from layers of plastic that are bonded to particleboard or kraft paper to create a solid countertop surface. They come in wide ranges of colors and patterns. Because of its light weight, nature laminate can easily be installed with professional help. Higher quality laminate countertops can be tough, durable, and can even mimic the look of more expensive surfaces. Prices for this type of material range from $15-$50 per square foot.
A popular new countertop trend is using concrete. This is a custom made technique with various stamping and staining techniques. It’s durable and requires the same level of maintenance as granite. May have a textured finish and can be formed on site to fit oddly sized or shaped areas. Material is susceptible to stains and heavy weight may cause cracking. You would spend $70-$140 per square foot on this type of countertop.
Recycled glass countertops have some of the most unique appearances. They are made of glass held together with cement binder so a wide range of colors can be chosen. It comes from commercial and domestic sources. It is varied in design through different colors and sizes of glass that make no two alike. The material is durable and strong and is not prone to chipping or cracking. It’s easy to maintain and clean and also heat and stain resistant. It is also the only green building option available for counters. Price point for this type of material would be about $50-$125 per square foot.
Butcher-block countertops are ideal for those who enjoy baking and other types of food prep. They add warmth and natural coloring. It’s a soft material that’s easy on glassware and dishes. After years of use it can be sanded and resealed, making them look new again. The average costs per square foot of butcher block countertop can range from $40 to $60.
Marble is the quintessential classic choice for countertop material. It is made with metaphoric rock containing high concentration of calcite or dolomite. It is a luxurious surface that lends warmth and sophistication. This material varies in the size of the grains and amount of veining, stone quarried from different parts of the world have a unique appearance. Fine grained marble is more consistent in color. Here is a list of many types of marble you can choose from:
Carrara: White or Blue-Gray, from Italy, Connemara: Green, from Ireland, Creole: White or Blue & Black, from Georgia, Etowah: Pink, Salmon, rose, from Georgia ,Murphy: White, from USA, Parian: Very White, from Greece, Purbeck: Gray/Brown, from the UK ,Ruskeala: White, from Russia, Sienna: Yellow w/various color veins, from Italy, Swedish Green: Green, from Sweden, Vermont White: White, from Vermont, Wunsiedel: White, from Germany, Makrana: White, from India
There are three different finishes for marble countertops which are:
Honed or Matte– Sanded smooth with a soft feel, matte finish mutes color hiding scratches
Polished– Surface grinded and buffed to produce a rich luster that sparkles, brings out color and veining, most susceptible to showing scratches
Leather– Preferred on darker marble, textures the finish to better hide scratches and fingerprints while still offering some gleam
Marble costs vary widely depending on the quality and aesthetic appearance. A lower end price would be $40 per square foot, a mid-range price would be close to $60/sf, and the upper end can extend well beyond $100 / sf.
Solid surface countertops made with synthetic material and sturdy acrylics are versatile and durable. They have extremely low porosity which keeps bacteria away, promoting a cleaner and more sanitary countertop. They come in over 100 different colors and patterns. They are on the upper side of the price spectrum costing $75-$125 per square foot.
Tile countertops are produced using ceramic tile, glass tile, and porcelain tile. It is the most versatile material coming in a endless variety of styles, sizes, shapes and color. It offers unlimited opportunities to create a look tailor made for your home. They are heat-resistant and also stain and scratch resistant up to a point. One big advantage is that if one tile gets damaged, you can replace the one tile without having to get a whole new countertop. The cost of tile material is relatively inexpensive and can range from $20-$75 per square foot.
Lava countertop is custom cut for each individual order, glazed with enamel at heat in excess of 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit. The glazing used gives it a very smooth, non -porous finish that is completely water resistant. As the countertop cools, small cracks in the glazing appear, known as crazing, they give the countertop a completely unique appearance. It resists chipping and cracking, withstands heat, stains and acid from cleaners or foods. Will not fade in the UV rays of the sun. Can be finished glossy or matte look. Be prepared to spend $250-$300 per square feet on this material.
Crafted from cured epoxy synthetic material , acrylic or polyester resin countertops can be produced to any standard lengths. They have seamless finishes, have many color and style options and are cut to order from “blanks” or can be customized. They are durable, resistant to impact, staining, UV rays, scratches, heat and acids. The level of coloration found in the resin can be regulated to produce a variety of effects. They are also non-porous and do not support the growth of bacteria or fungus. The only disadvantages of this material is that it lacks consistency among products and not all are created equal, you get what you pay for. You can spend between $50-$125 per square foot.
If you are going for a contemporary or retro look then stainless steel is the way to go. It is clean and efficient, that also complements materials such as wood cabinetry and natural stone flooring. Comes in a number of different finishes that are durable and non-porous. It is one of the most sanitary materials you can use. The average minimum cost of this material is $67.76 per square foot and the average maximum price of stainless steel countertops is $95.51 per square foot.
Manufactured from a type of clay that is heavy in a mineral known as kaolinite, porcelain countertops can be produced into slabs that are coated with pigmented glaze and fired at high temperatures to enhance its strength and beauty. There are many available colors and patterns with several finishes. One popular brand for this material is Neolith. They are 30% stronger than granite and can be installed over existing countertops that also requires no sealing. They are durable lightweight slabs that are heat resistant, easy to clean and can be recycled. You can spend between $60-$100 per square foot based on the specific material, type of edge you have beveled into it and the complexity of the job. The more corners, cutouts, and seams you have, the higher the cost per square foot is likely to be.
With all these options to choose from it can be hard to decide which material to use when remodeling your home. Always remember to stick to your budget and to choose the material that you think would fit best with your design.