Top off your kitchen with the perfect counter
If you're replacing your kitchen countertops, you have a lot of options to evaluate while worrying about the precarious balance between price and quality. A good working knowledge of the most popular materials used to make kitchen countertops is an essential starting point, whether you're renovating yourself or hiring a contractor.
An Overview of Kitchen Countertop Materials
The most important aspect of selecting a kitchen countertop is to choose a material that matches your home's existing décor and meets your practical needs; after all, there's no sense in getting marble countertops when you need stainless steel. Here is an overview of the characteristics of the most popular types of kitchen countertops:
- Granite countertops. Given its availability in a complete range of tones and colors, granite countertops are a top choice of North American homeowners. Granite withstands heat extremely well, and needs only an annual waxing to maintain its sheen and luster. As an alternative to granite slabs, you might also consider quartz slabs – quartz offers comparable functionality and has a unique, rugged look that works well in rustic kitchens.
- Laminate countertops. Just like laminate flooring, laminate countertops last for years with very little maintenance. They are very affordable and come in dozens of different textures and colors. For extra stain and moisture resistance, you might also consider patterned Formica, which is a specialized type of laminate.
- Stainless steel countertops. Contemporary kitchens make heavy use of stainless steel and metallic finishes, so this is a natural choice if you're going for a modern look. Stainless steel is also easy to clean and sterilize and will last for decades with proper care.
- Glass countertops. As an alternative to stainless steel countertops, glass also offers a sleek, modern look and is easy to clean and care for. While it doesn't offer the durability of some of the other, more common choices, a glass countertop adds a vibrant touch of uniqueness to any kitchen. It also reflects light like no other material, so you can create a very engaging effect if you have skylights or other prolific sources of natural lighting.
- Wooden countertops. No other material can match the classic appeal of wood. You can get wooden countertops with customized grains, stains and finishes that suit your tastes, and wood is always one of the most budget-friendly options available on the market.