How to Choose the Perfect Countertop for Your Home!
It is a common struggle for homeowners to select the best kitchen countertops for their homes and for a number of reasons. The two most common being:
1) They have no idea what is available to them other than what the big box stores offer.
2)They have not had the proper education on the products available to them.
I had more than a few clients tell me they were interested in quartz countertops only to find out that they were actually leaning towards solid surface. EVERY TIME, the client informed me they had been to a big box store and the “designer” had told them the product they had selected was quartz, because the COLOR they liked had the word ” quartz” in it!
So, I took it upon myself to bring to you a comprehensive but simplified list about the types of kitchen countertops available to you, along with their strengths and weaknesses. However, as I was doing my research and compiling my list, I stumbled across Consumer Reports Countertop Buying Guide! Wouldn’t you know it, they already had a list compiled and filled with FANTASTIC ( and truthful) information. So, instead of doing a bunch of extra work, I thought I would just share their findings with you, but first I will share my honest opinions on the countertops they reviewed.
The Perfect Countertops for your Home!
Now, the following three countertops are what I feel are the perfect countertops for the average home. I base my opinion on affordability, durabililty, and practicality. Quartz, granite, and laminate countertops make the cut for the perfect countertop for your home because each have affordable options, are extremely durable, and practical. Easily cleaned and maintained these countertops are my go to countertops when designing kitchens as well as baths.
Let’s just say this is my number one go to countertop when designing. I usually call this the superman of countertops, maintenance free (aside from regular cleaning) and arguably stronger than granite due to no natural fissures. It is also non-porous, therefore no “ickies” can get where you can’t clean and you DO NOT have to seal. Last but certianly not least, STAIN, HEAT AND SCRATCH RESISTANT!!! It is still recommended that you use hot pads and cutting boards, but if you have an “oops” you don’t need to sweat it! Also, the new colors available are phenomenal! Some of the fabricators such as Cambria are really able to CLOSELY mimic granite’s natural patterns and flow. In my humble opinion, the only true downfall would be this; you are putting a man made rock on your cabinets, hello broken dishes and glasses.
Couple of words that come to mind when thinking about granite. Stunning, amazing, miraculous, fantabulous, you get the point. Let’s face it, Earth does it best, while quartz is a good representation of granite, it really can’t compete if you are looking for your countertop to be the “wow” factor in your kitchen. Most of the exotic granite are so intricate, you won’t find a quartz that even closely replicates natural granite. It does require periodic sealing but it is a simple task. You simply wipe or spray the sealer on, let is sit for about 30 min, wipe off the excess and your done! It’s also very easy to tell if your countertop needs sealed. Simply drip a few drops of water on the granite, if it beads up, no sealing required, if it soaks in, you better seal that baby! It is heat and scratch resistant, but same precautions apply to granite as quartz. The fact that granite requires maintenance is where it fails drastically in my book. I am a busy mom, I don’t want to have to remember to seal it every year. But overall, granite is an excellent option for your kitchen countertops.
Despite the stigma, laminates are actually an excellent choice. Price point is right, and the new laminates such as WilsonArt HD can be five times more scratch and wear resistant than older laminates! To me that’s saying something, as I have seen 30 yr old laminates look almost brand new. Plus they have come a long way in color choices, patterns, and edge options. You can even get the sink undermounted… though make sure you check prices because I have seen laminates with undermount sinks the same or more than entry level granite. Just remember to use a cutting board and hot pads!
The Second Best Perfect Countertops for Your Home!
Tile countertops can be awesome if done right. Use Schluter kerdi board as the base instead of plywood, as this will help to minimize cracking. Also, use a grout such as Bostik’s TruColor. This type of grout it flexible and will move with countertop, minimizing the chances of grout cracking. Truc Color is also color fast and does not need sealed! Depending on the tile used, it will be heat and scratch resistant. My only complaint with tile countertops is that is not a completey smooth surface, though you can remedy this slightly by using larger scale tiles.
Butcher block Countertops:
I am a huge fan of butcher block and reclaimed wood countertops. I love the warmth and character it brings to a kitchen and the way it ages over time. However, though durable and affordable, it is high maintenance! It will need to be oiled regularly and be sure to always use a cutting board if you do not want to see cut marks on your countertop. But man do I love the aged look of a well used butcher block. I would be tempted to deal with the maintenance just to have that warm well loved look in my kitchen.
Recycled Glass Countertops:
Recycled glass countertops makes the cut for second best countertops because it heat, stain and scratch resistant. I also think the concept is great, I am all about recylcing. However, it can be quite expensive, so I rarely suggest this to my clients unless I feel the cost is justifable.
Not so Perfect Countertops for your Home!
Soap Stone Countertops:
Soapstone offers a unique look, but the upkeep is what deters me. It’s perfect if you want a countertop that will ” age” beautifully and you don’t mind remembering to regularly oil. Soapstone stands up well to heat but will scratch easily.
Solid Surface Countertops:
Best for the bathrooms or laundry rooms. Way too easily scratched, though lighter colors help to hide this. Best features are non visible seams and scratches can be repaired. Also, be aware that some of the higher end collections will run the same price (or more) as granite and quartz.
Concrete countertops look cool but that maintenance! You also need to be sure that the fabricator really knows what they are doing when installing your concrete countertop. So if you are leaning towards concrete please do your research on the company and ask for references. Also know, that most quartz companies offer quartz that looks exactly like concrete without the hassle!
Unless your kitchen is just for show, don’t. You will thank me later. Marble scratches and stains EASILY!
Save it for the restaurants. Or use as an accent piece.
Save it for your outdoor kitchens.
Don’t. Even. Think. About. IT
Use it on your floor instead.
So there you have it, the perfect to not so perfect countertop options for your home!
If you would like more info and to see what the Consumer Reports findings were, you can find that HERE!
Happy Countertop Shopping!
Want to know some awesome ways to save on your kitchen remodel? Read all about HERE!
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