Kitchen countertops can
make or break a kitchen remodeling. If you choose top end stainless steel
appliances, hardwood cabinetry, expensive tile floors, and luxury faucets and
hardware, then top it all off with laminate instead of granite, you’ve
effectively devalued your high end remodel substantially with one wrong
Laminate counters can be
a great choice for a budget kitchen in a small house or apartment, but upscale
projects demand upscale materials all the throughout. Right now granite sets
the standard for high-end construction, but standards change all the time.
Knowing your budget, your style, and which countertops fit which styles of
décor can help in making the right choice.
The following kitchen
countertop materials are among the most popular and most functional, and each
type is more or less appropriate for different spaces and decors:
countertops. Today most people expect granite in new construction,
and few people would do a serious kitchen remodel without at least pricing
granite. Granite comes in many colors and, though expensive generally, also
comes in many different price points depending on whether the granite is
imported or domestic and what thickness and style of counter is desired.
Granite has to be periodically refinished professionally to maintain the shine
and durability of the surface.
countertops. Quartz is actually very similar to granite except that
quartz stone is combined with artificial materials such as Corian and other
manmade products to make the countertops more durable. Quartz tends to be more
expensive than granite, but it is also easier to care for while retaining the
natural beauty of real stone.
countertops. Concrete is not the easiest material to use as a
countertop, but when applied correctly can create a look that is very similar
to quarried stone (such as granite or quartz) at a fraction of the cost.
Professional installation is also available. Concrete can be colored and
textured to fit almost any custom décor, making it a popular alternative to
conventional countertop materials.
- Solid surface
countertops. Synthetic materials like Corian or Wilsonart are usually
made from a acrylic or acrylic and polyester mix made into a hard solid
countertop that mimics the look of stone, wood, or any sold color or textured
pattern. Synthetic countertops are moderately priced (some are expensive),
widely available, and very popular because of their durability and versatility.
They are easy to clean and repair and hold their value well.
- Stainless steel
countertops. Stainless steel is a specialty counter material that is
popular in modern décor or for use in ‘industrial chic’ ultramodern kitchens.
Stainless steel has a dramatic, clean look but the material dents and scratches
easily. If not cleaned correctly, stainless steel will spot and become dull, so
maintenance is not as simple as most homeowners expect it to be.
- Wood and other
specialty countertops. Kitchen countertops can be made of almost
anything, including tile, wood, ceramic, glass, and many other unique
materials. Any specialty material used for a counter will usually require extra
care and attention and will cost more than standard counter materials, but for
custom kitchens, tile or ceramic countertops can make a dramatic decorating
statement that some homeowners find worth it.
countertops. Laminate comes in thin sheets that attach to wood with
adhesive, giving it the appearance of a solid surface countertop, stone, wood,
or just about anything else. Laminate is very inexpensive and widely available.
It is very popular for budget remodels and rental properties. Laminate
countertops are not recommended for most kitchens that get heavy use. The
budget look and feel of the material does not fit into most modern kitchen
No matter what kind of
counters you choose, keep in mind that your kitchen counter gets some of the
heaviest use of any workspace in your entire home. What’s more, realtors
commonly say that kitchens sell a home; so choosing the best countertop
materials you can afford definitely affects your home’s resale value.
Sturdy, beautiful kitchen
countertops last for years and making cooking and working in the kitchen a joy.
With all the fantastic choices, textures and colors available today, shopping
for them can be a lot of fun too!
Scott Gray is currently a
handyman enthusiast who enjoys providing tips to consumers and homeowners. For
more information about do it yourself home
improvements projects, tips for choosing the best
cordless drills for your home and sliding
compound miter saws be sure to visit everydayhandyman.com.