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How to Choose the Best Countertop Material: A Buyers’ Guide

Whether you’re renovating your kitchen or embarking on a custom home build, there are many decisions you’ll need to make. A kitchen redesign is an opportunity to build the dream kitchen that you’ve always wanted. Today, one of the most important decisions that a homeowner will make is how to choose a countertop material.

From quartz composites to acrylic sheets to natural stones, the options are seemingly endless. With so many countertop material options at your fingertips, it can be difficult to choose an option that meets the aesthetic and functionality that you desire. Our experts have broken down some different options for you to help get you started.

Natural Stone Kitchen Countertops

The first category of kitchen countertop materials that we’ll discuss is natural stone. As the name suggests, these countertops are completely natural and bring a unique element to the space.

Granite

Granite countertops are an incredibly popular kitchen surface, especially in recent years. Granite is available in different grades, usually 1 through 5. The rating depends on where you buy the material in addition to its patterns, thickness, and colors. Granite slabs range in price; a slab can cost anywhere from $25 per square foot for modular pieces of basic stones to $1,000+ per square foot. The thickness is a huge factor in what determines the cost of the granite.

Granite is resistant to heat and scratches and it is generally seen as low maintenance. On the flip side, granite is a porous material that needs to be resealed to maintain its surface. It can stain permanently if it isn’t properly sealed.

Marble

kitchen counter materials

Marble is a material often associated with stunning sculptures and gorgeous pillars. This feeling of luxury is what makes so many homeowners attracted to using marble in their kitchens. It is a popular kitchen counter material that comes in a range of textures and colors. For example, beige, creamy white, black, and gray are all popular marble options. Maybe you have a kitchen with white cabinets and you opt for a breathtaking black marble slab to contrast the white.

When you’re choosing the marble, you’ll see a range of options, many on the more expensive side. There are, however, more affordable options such as Carrara marble to consider.

Taking care of marble countertops is an important part of your decision. Make sure that you clean natural stone countertops like marble with a combination of water and a mild liquid detergent. It’s important to seal marble annually so it doesn’t become damaged. Marble is also prone to scratches and stains more easily compared with other materials.

Marble isn’t a great material if your kitchen is often bustling with people and food preparation as it can be high maintenance. However, if you’re a baker, you’ll love how easy it is to roll out bread and cookie dough on a marble surface.

Slate & Soapstone

Soapstone is another option to consider for your kitchen countertops. It is usually greenish-black in color, however, it’s possible to find lighter green-gray slabs as well. This is a porous material that needs to be sealed with mineral oil to avoid staining.

Slate, on the other hand, is a dense stone that comes in subtle shades of red, gray, green, purple, and black. It’s also possible to get shades of variegated and mottled purple; these varieties have visible veins and contrasting colors. Despite its density, the slate is relatively soft and can scratch easily. While slate has a soft-matte sheen, it’s possible to create a “wet” appearance by putting lemon oil on the surface.  

Engineered Stone Kitchen Countertops

kitchen surfaces

When choosing a kitchen countertop, don’t forget to consider engineered stone also referred to as quartz composite. This is a unique and beautiful material made from roughly 90% quartz and 10% acrylic or epoxy binder. Some of the most popular quartz composites on today’s market include Corian quartz, Formica Solid-Surfacing, and Silestone.

Unlike natural stones, engineered stones are much harder. They have depth, clarity, and radiance that you can’t find on solid surfaces. There are many pros associated with the engineered stone with the top benefit often being how durable it is. It is also very low maintenance, making it a great choice for those with high foot traffic or kids. On the flip side, there are cons of engineered stone with the main being how expensive it can be.  

Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface countertops are made from polyester, dense acrylic, or a combination of the two. These countertop material options have a wide variety of patterns and colors. You will be able to choose the right one for your perfect kitchen. They’re also resistant to scratches and heat in addition to being completely repairable and renewable. Even if you have a deep gouge or an intense scratch on the surface, you’ll be able to repair it.

The seams of solid surface countertops are fused to make joints undetectable; this makes it a popular choice for those who need to cover long sections or want an oversized island. Many homeowners also get sinks in the same material to either match or contrast the countertop.

Glass Kitchen Countertops

Another countertop material option that you might not have considered is glass. Glass offers translucent beauty and is sure to leave a positive impression on your space. Many people aren’t aware that glass countertops come in a range of colors and textures, many of which are a mix of browns, greens, and blues. No matter what your kitchen color palette is, you’ll be able to find a glass countertop option that matches it.

There are other glass countertop options made from recycled materials. This is an eco-friendly option and can even be made to mimic the look of granite countertops. To achieve this look, a mixture of recycled glass pieces is used. Recycled glass countertops come in concrete, resin, and tiles depending on what suits your aesthetic the best.

One potential con of opting for glass countertops is how expensive installation can be. If you are sticking to a tight budget, consider only using glass countertops as an accent piece in conjunction with a more affordable surface.

Pros of glass countertops include durability, heat resistance, non-porous, and a variety of colors and styles. On the flip side, they may chip or crack easily and they are more expensive to install.

Concrete Countertops

best countertop material

You might not think of concrete as an option for your kitchen countertops, but many homeowners have tapped into this material to create a unique and beautiful space. Concrete countertops work well in many different aesthetics and they are very versatile when it comes to designs. The material can have an organic, natural feel as each countertop is handmade. Staining concrete is another option to help achieve nearly any color.

If desired, you can also add textures or patterned imprints to the surface of your concrete countertops. For example, maybe you have a beach house and you’d like to add recycled glass or seashells to your concrete countertops.

Opting for concrete is eco-friendly, making it an appealing choice for homeowners who are focused on environmental issues. For further character, feel free to add wood chips or other repurposed materials for a true one-of-a-kind appearance.

Maintaining your concrete countertops is relatively easy. Make sure to wax them every 6 months and seal them annually. It’s also possible that food and drink such as ketchup, wine, lemon juice, or other items with dye can cause staining. Always clean up spills as quickly as possible.

Guidance Is a Phone Call Away!

We know that it can be incredibly overwhelming to make such a big decision. After all, the kitchen is the heart of your home and you want to ensure you choose a countertop that you’ll love for years to come! If you’re stuck on how to choose countertop material for your kitchen, our experts Zenith Design + Build are here to help!

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