The longer days and increased energy of the summer season is perfect for maximizing your time making home improvements and upgrades. The kitchen is one area where you likely spend a lot of time, making it a popular room to renovate. Your countertops serve as a focal point and they will need to endure a lot of wear and tear. Luckily, you have lots of stylish and customizable kitchen countertop options available.
Choosing the Right Kitchen Countertop
When considering what countertop to select during a home remodel, keep in mind your kitchen countertops will be a main element. While you want something appealing to your personal style and kitchen trends, you also want this investment to last.
In addition to style, select a countertop that will work with your daily activities. Think about how you use your kitchen. Are you an avid home cook? Do you do a lot of baking or meal prepping? Will cracks or stains in the countertops bother you?
Consider the overall kitchen design. How will the countertops pair with the flooring, cabinets, and overall aesthetic? Answering these questions will determine the best countertop material for your specific needs.
Your Kitchen Countertop Options
Comprised of bonded pieces of wood, butcher block countertops can be made from a range of woods and finishes. Since it’s essentially one giant cutting board, you can cut and chop directly on the counters.
However, the porous material means is more sensitive to liquids and staining if you don’t clean up messes quickly. Stains can be removed by sanding and re-oiling, meaning they can last with the proper care.
You can choose between sealed or unsealed butcher block counters. Sealed will be better protected from spills and other damage, but it makes your countertops unsafe for food prep directly on the surface. The upkeep requires oiling with a food-safe mineral oil or walnut oil twice a year.
If you’re looking to create a bold look in a modern kitchen, consider a concrete countertop. Its durability makes it more likely to endure a considerable amount of wear and tear.
Concrete counters offer customizable shapes, edges, details, textures, and the ability to add color. Concrete counters can be done as a DIY project or professionally installed. However, they may take up to 28 days to completely dry before you can use them.
To ensure long-lasting concrete counters, they must be sealed to prevent stains, water damage, heat damage, and bacteria growth. Some cracks may appear with home settling, but these are easy to repair.
Granite, a durable natural stone made from a mix of quartz and feldspar, has long been a popular choice for countertops. With a range of colors and variations available, such as creamy white, black, speckled gray, and even pink, granite countertops have a variety of different looks and cut-edge choices for personalization.
Granite countertops are easy to clean with just soap and water. They are heat-resistant, so hot pots and dishes can be put down without worry. Cutting directly on granite is not recommended as the countertops can actually dull your knives. Sealing protects from stains, but the porosity varies across different types of granite. You may need occasional re-sealing to prevent stains from spills.
Also known as Formica, laminate countertops imitate newer and more expensive materials like wood or stone. They are an option for a high-end look at a more budget-friendly price point.
Laminate is nonporous with no re-sealing required. It’s less durable than other countertop options and can be easily damaged by heat. Its shorter lifespan means that laminate won’t enhance the resale value of your home, but its easy installation makes it a good choice for a quick update.
Marble is a natural stone that imparts a clean, contemporary feel, making your kitchen look upscale and sophisticated. Available in a variety of colors, shades, and patterns, each marble countertop is unique.
Marble maintains a low temperature, making it great for baking. It can easily chip or scratch, especially if you are cutting directly on it. Its porous surface also means stains can easily become permanent, so regular sealing, cleaning, and maintenance is recommended.
If you’re looking for countertops that will last, quartz is an incredibly hard and durable. Engineered from natural quartz with a resin binder, quartz countertops look like natural stone and are available with various colors.
While they often have seams, these countertops are non-porous, so there’s no need for re-sealing. Cleaning quartz is easy and only requires soap and water. Note that quartz is not a heat tolerant surface, take care when working with hot pans or dishes to preserve your countertops.
Image credit: MSI Surfaces
For a hands-off countertop that needs minimal maintenance, consider soapstone. This non-porous surface has a soft, cool feeling to the touch. Its appearance tends to include gray shades with blue or green undertones, with varying veining across stones.
Soapstone’s durability makes it a desirable option for countertops. Soapstone counters will naturally darken over time, and while they are heat-resistant, they are prone to scratching or chipping under heavy wear. Any damage gives it a unique patina look, which can be enhanced with a monthly oil treatment.
A combination of acrylic and resin, solid surface countertops are stain-resistant and seamless. With various styles available, these low-porosity countertops are easy to clean and easy to repair – chips and scratches can be easily sanded out using sandpaper.
While solid surface countertops are not heat resistant, they are easy to keep clean thanks to their low porosity surface.
Stainless steel countertops create an industrial look sure to make an impact in your kitchen. These countertops are highly customizable with different edge profiles and various finish options such as stain, mirror, matte, and brushed metal.
The non-porous material is relatively easy to maintain if cleaned properly. Spills must be wiped up promptly, and the surface is prone to showing fingerprints, dents, scratches, and other spots easily.
Tile countertops are a great option when you’re looking for a unique look. Available in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns, tile counters can be created with materials like porcelain, ceramic, and natural stone.
The durability will depend on the material used, but tile countertops are generally challenging to clean due to the grout lines. While most tile counters are heat-resistant, they are prone to chips, especially if a heavy item is dropped on them.
Kitchen Countertops for Remodeling Your Home
As you can see, your personalization options for a kitchen countertop are endless with new designs, textures and even old classic materials are now available in all flavors. You can truly create a unique look for your kitchen that reflects your style and increases its functionality.