Pros and Cons For Different Types of Countertops For Your Kitchen
One of the major parts of a kitchen remodeling project is the countertops.
First things first, you need to find out what type of countertops you like. So the best place to start is finding out the pros and cons of each type to better your idea of what will work best for you. There are so many different types of countertops on the market today, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages.
To best find the countertops that will be perfect for you, make sure you take into account your specific situation, for example do you have a house filled with kids or are you alone, do you have a heavy cooking schedule or do you rarely use your kitchen and of course what can you afford. Just to give you an example, for a home with kids and a heavy cooking schedule, marble countertops are probably not the best choice because it can stain more easily than others.
It is very easy to clean tile countertops and you can put pots and pans on tile countertops without worry of harm done to the tiles or staining them.
Grout can be hard to maintain. It can crumble or discolor. It is also not easy to replace. It is important to buy more than you need because if they break you need to have several of the same kind of tile on hand, in case the tiles you picked are no longer being made. Then you are really out of luck. You would have to completely redo your entire counter top for a small crack or one broken tile. So this point alone is a definite con.
One of the practical disadvantages of a tile counter top is that you will not have a completely smooth and even surface. The con here is that even if you use large tiles, you will still need to have a fair amount of grouting. The drawback to the grout is that it will need to be protected with some sort of sealant in order to be made stain resistant and waterproof.
Examples of popular brands include Corian®, Avonite® and Swanstone®. They are constructed from acrylic polymer and trihydrate.
It is very smooth and can be fabricated to any size or shape, making it simple to create a seamless counter-to-backsplash transition. This is known for durability, there are many styles and colors to choose from and is very easy to clean, as well as easy to touch up . It is a non-porous surface that is highly hygienic and can be sanded and resealed easily if ever needed.
It can be expensive and this type of surface should be installed by a licensed contractor.
Granite is a natural stone material, normally purchased in “slabs” and then fabricated for counter top applications.
This is very very durable and very easy to clean. This is definitely a high end product and if you get granite countertops they should last you a lifetime. Granite withstands heat very well, has a hardness rating of two, with diamonds being one.
The main disadvantage to granite is price, and the cost of fabrication is very high. It needs polishing and resealing at least once a year. If you don’t keep granite sealed properly it will result in staining.
Laminate countertops are cheap and easy to install, which makes it perfect for do-it-yourselfers with basic skills. Laminate has many different styles and colors. Laminate is easy to clean and upkeep.
Laminate has no resistance to heat and is easily scorched by a hot pan etc. It is also easily cut by sharp objects such as knives or utensils and if scratched or scorched it is unrepairable so you would have to get a whole new counter top if you wanted to fix it.
Most popular materials are stainless steel, brass, zinc and copper. Other materials are also available.
Metal countertops are pretty durable and very stylish. The heat resistance is great. It can easily handle a hot pan. This material is great for back splashes as well because it looks great and is easy to clean and polish.
It is expensive or more on the expensive side as far as cost goes. You must be careful because scratches and nicks will easily show.
Smooth to the touch and usually medium to dark grey in color. Often found in older homes with historical significance.
Soapstone is stylish and has a pretty good heat resistance.
Soapstone is a lot easier to scratch then say granite. It has to be sealed on a regular basis with mineral oil, so the upkeep can get a little annoying. Has been known to darken over time and has cracked under certain circumstances.
Butcher Block Countertops
Common wood varieties uses for this surface are hard maple, beech, red oak and white oak.
They are beautiful to look at, warm and inviting. It can easily be sanded to get rid of imperfections from use over time but must be resealed after sanding. You can use it for not only a counter top but a chop block for fruit and vegetables, so it has multiple uses which is nice and can make cooking a little easier and faster.
Butcher block countertops do need to be oiled periodically to keep their beautiful appearance intact.
For countertops that are not of standard size or shape this is a convenient choice because the concrete can be fabricated on site using molds.
An endless variety of looks and colors are available for concrete countertops. It can even be accented with different objects such as tiles, colored glass and stones. Some people have even put personal objects in it such as antique china. You can make it a show piece or keep it plain, it is all up to you.
Concrete counter top installation can be expensive depending on how much personal accents you want to put into it or how personalized you want it to be. FYI, this is not something you should do yourself. This definitely requires a professional installer.
In the natural stone category, marble is often used as an accent for islands or other segmented areas.
Let’s be honest, marble is one of the most beautiful and elegant materials out there for countertops. Marble can even withstand a pot right off the stove. It is very durable.
Marble is expensive. It stains pretty easily because it is very porous.
I hope this gave you a good idea of what is out there in terms of countertops and gave you a better idea of what you would like to have in your home now. Here at RWT we install all types of countertops so we are not bias in any way to any type but it is good to know what the good and bad of each are, so you can make an educated decision on your countertops for your home. You will have to live with it so it is always good to know as much as you can about each type of counter top.