We talk a lot about kitchen cabinet design solutions, but what about the kitchen countertop? Arguably the most used space in your kitchen, your countertop choice should go far beyond style, but should consider other factors such as durability and functionality. Some important questions to ask yourself before choosing a design direction include:
- Am I looking to build an eco-friendly kitchen?
- How easy is each option to clean?
- Will it stain easily?
- How durable is it? Will it crack or chip? Can I replace sections easily?
- If I want to replace my countertops eventually, how expensive will that be?
- What are your kitchen requirements?
- What is your budget?
Once you understand your options, now it’s time to choose a kitchen countertop material that is right for you and your lifestyle. Here are a few pros and cons of several of today’s most popular options.
Butcher’s Block/Wood Countertops
Back in 2017, butcher block was one of the top up and coming trends in kitchen countertops. Its staying power has a lot to do with versatility…it works well with many kitchen cabinet styles, including some of the biggest kitchen cabinet trends we are seeing in 2019––black matte finishes. One thing that we love about butcher block countertops is the tone. The warm tone creates a sort of “comfiness” in the kitchen. And in a time where modern, aesthetically pleasing design can come off as a bit cold, butcher block is an easy way to make the space feel a bit more like home. Plus, butcher block countertops are fairly versatile. They blend well with just about anything from traditional cabinetry to modern cabinets, and pair especially well with grey kitchen cabinets.
Wood countertops work especially well in traditional or transitional kitchens, and they also add a certain warmth to the room. If you’re worried about durability, there are now many products on the market for sealing and protecting. Just be careful with anything hot (it can burn), or too much water (it can warp and crack).
While not 100 percent natural, Quartz comes close to a sustainable countertop solution. Quartz countertops are man-made engineered stone formed by combining 90% ground quartz (a natural hard mineral) with 8-10% resins, polymers, and pigments. This forms a very hard granite-like surface, which is still extremely durable and non-porous. Some other quartz positives include it is stain and crack resistant, doesn’t require sealing or resealing, offers a wide range of colors, and is easy to clean with mild soap, water, and a soft cloth. The selection process is also fairly simple with quartz, and it offers the look of stone while providing the ability to customize the design.
Marble is everywhere in 2019, mostly due to one of the biggest kitchen design trends––seamless countertops, backsplashes and shelves––all made of marble. Probably the most elegant of the options, marble offers many unique and beautiful patterns and colors. It is softer than granite and some other countertop choices, which makes it easier to produce a greater variety of edges and shapes including the very popular waterfall edge. Beauty and versatility aside, marble can be a bit challenging to care for, as its porous material will stain over time, especially if exposed to wine, fruits, and sauces.
An added benefit to marble? If you love baking, marble is the only way to go. Marble countertops stay cool and are always below room temperature which creates the ideal working surface for those who bake. A marble countertop will not burn, melt, or catch fire, although it’s still a good idea to avoid placing anything too hot on the surface to prevent damage to the finish.
Tried and true, granite has been a top pick for kitchen countertops for years. Granite is a very hard stone and is 100 percent natural––it’s actually one of the hardest substances in the world, second only to diamonds. Mined from quarries all around the world, it is cut down to a manageable size and then polished to a fine finish. Granite grew in popularity for many homeowners when remodeling mainly because it is very durable, provides a lot of options, and stands the test of time.
When it comes to appearance, granite gives you a lot of options, and comes in many different colors and patterns. So whether you are looking for a simple upgrade, or a stand out piece with unique mineral inclusions, the options are endless. And did we mention granite brings a level of originality to your home since no two granite slabs are the same?