Your kitchen countertops have a lot to do — they have to handle spills and crumbs, deal with an occasional rogue knife, handle heat and cold, and so much more. And they have to look beautiful through it all.
Countertops really make a kitchen; they determine both how functional and attractive the space will be, and they play a big role in your enjoyment in the kitchen. Make sure you consider carefully before selecting countertops for your kitchen.
Before you make any decisions about the material of your kitchen countertops, think about how you use your kitchen. Is it full of heavy traffic from the moment the rooster crows until heads hit pillows at night? Does it double as a homework or art project station in the afternoons? Do you frequently host company? Or do you rarely use your kitchen?
The answers to these questions will help you determine how important durability is to your decision. Laminate is not as durable a material as natural stones. And while granite is a popular choice, it does require sealing, which means it may not be as strong a contender as engineered stone countertops that require little maintenance. Solid surfacing is susceptible to scratches and burns, but it can be repaired. Marble is susceptible to stains, even when you seal it. Tile is durable, but unsealed grout is prone to staining.
There is no perfect countertop material when it comes to durability, which is why it’s important to determine how you use your kitchen. Are you a careful cook, and great at keeping up on maintenance? Some of the higher-maintenance countertops may not bother you, while someone who gives their kitchen a beating will immediately rule out some of the more sensitive materials.
Think About Maintenance
Some countertops, like granite, require regular sealing to resist stains and keep out bacteria. Other materials, like marble, are more delicate and scratch more easily so you have to be more careful in the kitchen. Engineered stone countertops, on the other hand, don’t require that extra maintenance and can withstand a beating. Before you make a decision, make sure you understand exactly what sort of maintenance will be required — and if you’re willing to do it.
What’s Your Budget?
Budget plays a huge factor in most countertop decisions. Laminate is often the most budget-friendly option, and there are several options that mimic the beautiful appearance of stone countertops. Marble, stainless steel, and concrete are pricey, while granite and quartz are somewhere in the middle.
What’s Your Style?
Do you want elegant or funky? Trendy or timeless? What color and style are your kitchen cabinets? What about your kitchen floor? All of these should be considered as you think about how your countertop choice will look in your kitchen. Materials like granite and butcher block look beautiful if you’re going for a natural look. Marble is stunning in an elegant kitchen. Solid surface countertops come in all styles and colors, and can suit just about any kitchen.
Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons of the materials you’re considering, make sure you visit a showroom that has full-scale kitchens on display. This is vital for you to determine if you’re happy with your choice. You need to feel and see the material, and imagine it in your kitchen before you can be confident in your choice.