Pros & Cons: Countertop Surfaces
A kitchen countertop is in the running as one of the most important space in our homes. They’re used for food preparation, desk space, a staging area, and a gathering spot for families. With so many important roles to play it’s important to consider which surface or product is right for your lifestyle.
The team at Dale’s Remodeling has put together this handy list of pros and cons to help you get started selecting the right countertop for your kitchen.
With beautiful natural mottling and a variety of colors and patterns, quartz, granite, travertine, marble and soapstone make stunning showpieces in a kitchen. Each cut is unique and extremely durable, especially the hard stones which stand up well to splashes, knife nicks, heat and other wear and tear. Troy Young, our Remodeling Specialist recommends quartz for its durability and cost, “Pricing varies and there’s a wide range of colors and designs—natural stone, like granite or marble, or even polished concrete.”
Natural stone is heavy and requires extra strong construction in the cabinets to support its weight. This type of counter surface also needs regular applications of sealant to prevent stains, especially marble and soapstone, which are extremely porous.
Pros: Virtually maintenance free and long-lasting, engineered stone is one of the easiest types of counter surfaces to care for. Scratches and burns can easily be sanded out and seamless installation means there are no cracks to trap particles. Also, color and pattern options are nearly endless, which allows you to match that unusual shade of turquoise or firehouse red perfectly.
Cons: If you’re looking for a natural look and feel, then engineered stone is not for you. It’s also susceptible to burns from hot pans or sharp knife cuts and can reach a price point comparable to natural stone.
Pros: Durable and flexible, Corian is made from polyester and can mimic the look of natural stone. It’s available in many different shades and can be cut to fit any space. Cost-wise it is much less expensive than stone and is easy to install.
Cons: While it is a durable product, it can suffer damage from knives and heat. Never put hot pots or cut food directly on the surface.
Pros: For the budget conscience, laminate is a great option. It’s low maintenance and easy to clean and its light weight doesn’t require the support of a thick cabinet base.
Cons: Laminate is prone to scratching, burns, and staining, and moisture can cause the particleboard core to peel. It’s also difficult to repair if it gets damaged and under-mount sinks are not an option because of its layered construction.
Pros: The rich variegated wood tones of a butcher block are a striking addition in a kitchen and, for some, the extra scratches acquired over time only enhances its look. If that’s not your style you can easily restore the surface with some sanding or add an insert of granite or marble for work surfaces that are better suited for different tasks.
Cons: Exposure to moisture causes wood to swell and contract and butcher-block countertops are no exception. It’s also highly susceptible to bacteria and needs frequent disinfecting, and oiling is a must to fill in scratches and protect its surface.
Pros: The nearly indestructible properties of metal make stainless steel the preferred choice for contemporary and industrial-style kitchens. It is also naturally resistant to heat and bacteria.
Cons: You’ll be cleaning fingerprints constantly off stainless steel countertops and pots and pans can cause a lot of noise. There’s also the chance it will acquire some dents and chemicals could cause damage to the color or cause unwanted etching if left on too long. Additionally, stainless steel is extremely expensive due to its custom fabrication.
Pros: With a rainbow of color blends and multiple applications, glass countertops are a beautiful addition to any style of kitchen. Both glass and acrylic are non-porous and don’t easily chip and many can be made using recycled glass.
Cons: Glass is fairly strong but with enough pressure it can crack. Foods that are high in acid content, such as tomatoes, or residue from harsh cleaners can mar the acrylic surface but a bit of care can prevent this from occurring.
Pros: Concrete can be cast in any shape and custom tinted any shade you desire, making this choice one of the most versatile, style-wise. Add unique inlays, such as glass fragments or light it from behind and you’ll have a one-of-kind counter. It stands up well to heavy use, too, but is not as heat resistant as stone.
Cons: Because it’s porous, concrete will stain without frequent sealing and with time and settling small cracks could develop. Concrete is extremely heavy and will need strong support beneath, and, like stainless steel, its custom creation ups the price tag.
Pros: Heat and sharp blades do little damage to tile, and they are typically resistant to staining. Also, if you do have an incident replacing damaged tiles is an easy and quick process.
Cons: Uneven tiles create an uneven working surface, but the real trouble lies within the grout. It stains easily and can be damaged by moisture or be a breeding ground for bacteria.
What is your preferred counter surface for kitchens? Let us know in the comments below or ask us any questions you might have about any of these surfaces.