There are so many types of materials available now to choose from for your kitchen countertops that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The Cabinet Market comes to the rescue with this quick and handy guide to the main materials to choose from.
Marble – Marble was once the main high-end choice for its luxurious look and feel. However, a very porous and soft type of stone, marble doesn’t hold up well to wear and tear. Marble requires a lot of care and is easily stained, etched and damaged by heat or acids. If you absolutely love marble, it’s best to use as an accent say for a baking prep area that isn’t going to see a lot of everyday traffic as it will show the wear and tear quickly.
Granite – Like marble, granite was once a high-end expensive option. With different grades (quality levels) and more of it on the market, granite is now quite affordable and is the most popular natural stone option. Granite options vary from very uniform and common to unique slabs with unusual streaks and swirls of color. Granite is a timeless high-end choice. However, granite is porous and needs to be properly sealed at least once per year to keep it from absorbing stains or showing damage.
Ceramic Tile – Ceramic resists heat and moisture and when glazed tiles are used, they resist staining as well. When the grout is properly sealed, it will also resist moisture, heat and stains. Large ceramic tiles are a more modern take on the old ceramic tile look and minimizes grout lines for a more seamless countertop. Ceramic tiles are a good option if you’re looking for a classic look with a budget-friendly price tag.
Engineered Stone/ Composites – Engineered stone or composite surfaces are usually made from a quartz base and available in a wide array of colors and styles. As a bonus, they are often antimicrobial and never have to be resealed. They resist staining, acids, etching and damage from heat. Engineered stone or composites are one of the most durable options available and still have choices that work with many different budgets.
Concrete – Concrete is a hot trend in countertops right now. Known for its craftsmanship and being totally custom. Every element of a concrete countertop is customized for your kitchen from the casting to the color, shape, finish and more. It’s a smooth and strong surface that can hold up to wear and tear for the long haul.
Stainless Steel – Popular in commercial kitchens, stainless steel has been showing up on more and more countertops in residential kitchens as well. Stainless steel resists stains, etching, acids, heat and is easy to disinfect. It does give the kitchen a more industrial look so designers recommend mixing it up with a stainless steel island and another material for the rest of the countertops or vice versa.
Wood – A warm alternative available in a number of types of wood including cherry, oak, maple, walnut or even bamboo as a butcher block style surface. Wood is the best surface for slicing foods and also makes a great bakery prep area. Like stainless steel, designers recommend keeping wood counters as a secondary space instead of a high-traffic option as the porous nature of the wood is best suited to limited use.
Laminate – Laminate used to get a pretty bad reputation but today’s laminate is nothing like the ultra-cheap, easily damaged versions of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Current laminate options look just like more expensive materials but for far less cost. It stands up well to stains and scratches but is still easily damaged by heat. Laminate options come in an almost infinite number of colors, styles and finishes to provide a custom look for your kitchen.
The different types of materials available for kitchen countertops can be overwhelming. We hope our handy guide to these different materials helps you narrow down your options and find the type of countertop that is best for your kitchen.