When it comes to updating or renovating your kitchen, there are a number of important factors to consider. Above all, style, durability and cost top the list of concerns for most homeowners. There are a lot of decisions to be made, from the type of appliances you’ll need, to cabinet finishes and hardware, flooring and the overall décor.
One of the biggest and most important decisions you’ll have to make when you’re remodeling your kitchen is what type of countertops to install. There are more options than ever when it comes to style, and many different types of materials all with different properties, finishes and price points. So with all these variables, it may be hard to figure out the best countertop for your kitchen remodel. Read on, and we’ll help explain some of the key properties of the most popular countertop surfaces available so you can make an informed decision.
Countertops tend to make a big impact when it comes to the overall style of your kitchen. Picking the wrong countertop material to compliment your décor can make your kitchen look odd, or stylistically set apart from the rest of your home. If you already have an idea of the type of style you want to infuse into your home, you’ll be able to easily find a material to top off your counters in an aesthetically pleasing way. Check out these popular interior design options, and see which ones will fit into your kitchen renovation plan:
Farmhouse: This style is one-part rustic, and one part elegant. It’s all about contrasting light, bright modern elements with vintage pieces and natural elements. If you’ve got your eye set on a white farmhouse-style apron kitchen sink, a butcher block countertop would be the perfect option to compliment this look. However, if you’d rather have stainless appliances and wood grain cabinets, white marble countertops would work best for this look.
Modern/Contemporary: Clean lines and unfussy finishes are the mark of this current trend in home décor. Clean granite or quartz countertop surfaces against solid wood cabinets work together beautifully to create an updated and universally appealing look.
Minimalist: With this home décor style, less is always more. Poured concrete countertops against white cabinetry and minimal colors and patterns help to create this trending style.
Traditional: Ornate finishes, dark woods and classic themes are the basis of this sophisticated home style. Dark marble or slate countertops help to add to the timeless vibe of this décor theme.
Now that you know what kind of home décor style your personal tastes lean to, it’s best to dive in and learn about the properties of the kitchen countertop material you wish to use. You may find that the type of countertop material you like is too high maintenance or won’t work well with your lifestyle, and other options should be considered. Check out these durability and maintenance points to see if the type of material you like would still work with your kitchen remodel project.
Scratch Resistance: Of all the materials you can choose, nanoglass is the most resistant to scratches. Quartz is by far the second resistant to scratches and dents. It is composite material made of 90% real stone quartz and 10% resin, so it will give you the look of real stone, but with much better performance. Marble and butcher block are among the more scratch prone materials you can use, so be sure to have protected areas on the surface of your counter whenever you’re using a knife.
Water and Stain Resistance: Nanoglass is waterproof and stain resistant. Non-porous materials like Quartz are your best bet if you’re looking for a waterproof or stain resistant surface. Even when sealed, stone slabs like white marble are still susceptible to staining, and an errant glass of red wine or coffee can ruin your finish forever. However, if you’re still set on using natural stone to finish your countertop, darker colored materials, dark granite, help to mask any staining that may occur. With most natural stone slab countertops, you’ll also need to have them sealed for protection.
Heat Resistance: Nanoglass and stone countertop materials are naturally heat-resistant and can retain their beauty even in direct contact with hot pots and pans. Quartz countertops are not a good choice for absent-minded cooks, as their resin contents won’t be able to stand up to high heat. If you choose Quartz countertops, be sure to keep multiple pot holders and trivets nearby to help retain the beauty of your countertop surface.
The final consideration you’ll want to tackle when updating your kitchen countertops is cost. You can update your kitchen with minimal cost by using inexpensive materials like laminate or tile, however it won’t be an upgrade. Inexpensive materials are also traditionally less durable and less desirable by home buyers, so using something inferior isn’t the best move for finishing your kitchen counters. Butcher block countertops are also relatively inexpensive, at about $1,200 for a finished product with lower grade materials, though high quality butcher block can run you as much as three times higher.
On the high end of countertop material cost is granite. It is more a pricey material to install, with ranges from as little as $35/sf all the way to $100/sf for exotic granite slabs.
Marble, with an average of about $60 per square foot. This is all dependent on the type of marble you choose, and the true range can be anywhere from $40/sf to as much as $100/sf for premium marble slabs.
Nanoglass price range from $40/sf to 80/sf and it was voted as best material for countertops by interior designers. This mid-cost product has been hailed as the best bet for your money due to durability and resistance to stains and heat.
Quartz countertops typically range from $40-$100/sq. installed. This mid-cost product has been hailed as the best bet for your money by many homeowners due to the beautiful marble look patterns.
Another surprising high-end countertop material is poured concrete. This seemingly humble countertop material ranges from $65-$135/sf to install, and is based not on the value of the material, but the skill it takes to install and design.
If you’re still looking for that high end feel, but at a more affordable price point, then look for stone slabs on sale offered by many stone fabricators.