When you decide to take on a kitchen project, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is which material you should choose for your countertops based on your lifestyle and aesthetic. Your countertops are not just a design feature but a place for your family to gather, area to meal prep, and focal point of your kitchen. When making this decision, it is important to determine how much maintenance (and cost) will be required on a long-term basis.
In this blog, we will walk you through 5 of the most common types of countertops and what you need to know about each one when you’re considering your options.
In high-end kitchens, some of the most common and sought after countertops are those made out of stone, such as granite, quartz, or marble. The main advantage of choosing a stone countertop is durability. Stone can last a lifetime and is very rarely damaged by materials used in common kitchen tasks such as knives or water. They can also be custom cut to fit any shape in your kitchen and require minimal maintenance, often all while adding tremendous value to your home.
However, this level of durability also comes more of an investment and you can expect to spend $75 to $125 per square foot.
Butcher Block Countertops
Another common material used in countertops is the butcher block. Though this option comes at a lower investment at $20 to $60 per square foot, they are much more sensitive to liquids, scratches, and stains. Wood naturally expands and contracts with temperature, but the bigger issue is that it can grow mold and gather germs when exposed to moisture if not maintained correctly.
However, the nice thing about butcher block countertops is how easy they are to restore. All you need to do is sand the surface with sandpaper in the direction of the grain and then re-oil it. As long as you maintain them properly, butcher block countertops can last for more than 20 years.
Laminate is also a budget-saving option, coming in on average at around $29 per square foot. However, the price does vary depending on the color and finish you choose, so some can cost $40+ per square foot.
The plastic resins used in laminate countertops are easy to clean and resistant to stains, although you’ll have to be careful not to scratch them by using abrasive cleaning materials. They are also susceptible to burns and delamination, which can lead to shorter shelf life. However, laminate is not porous and won’t absorb spills and bacteria as other materials do.
Poured Concrete Countertops
One of the most common misconceptions is that poured concrete is a cheap DIY option. To ensure it’s poured properly, you’ll need to hire a professional and the average cost of the material is $65 – $135 per square foot, not including installation. Although extremely durable, concrete can crack and needs to be resealed every year. The other point to consider is that they are extremely heavy, with installers often having to reinforce cabinets and flooring to withstand the weight.
However, the great thing about poured concrete is that it is a flexible material in that it can be custom poured into any shape and has a fun contemporary finish.
The final type of material we’re going to discuss is tile. Unlike other materials, tile offers many more aesthetic options, allowing clients to customize their pattern from a range of colors, shapes, and sizes and install anything from simple squares to complicated mosaics. This means that the cost can vary significantly. They are also resistant to heat, something not mirrored in alternative materials.
However, the grout needed to bring the design to life is a porous material, making your lines susceptible to bacteria absorption. You will need to seal the grout annually to stop this from happening. Tile also isn’t the most durable material, as ceramic is much softer than stone and can chip easily. However, given the nature of the material, small damaged sections can be replaced much more easily than with other materials such as laminate or stone, which would need to be replaced completely.
Now that you know a little more about your options, feel free to reach out to our team to dive deeper into what specific countertops would be best for you, your home, and your lifestyle. Our team of experts will walk you through the entire process from start to finish, or answer any other questions you may have about your renovation project.