When choosing a new countertop for your kitchen, you’ll be presented with a seemingly endless number of options. Now days, countertops can be made of dozens of different materials, both natural and manmade, and each has its pros and cons. With so many choices, picking the material that will work best for your kitchen can feel a bit overwhelming. But there are four factors that can help you to make your decision.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Countertop
When choosing a countertop, it will come down to four things: price, durability, maintenance and style.
Your budget will help to determine the type of countertops your kitchen ends up with. Luckily, there are countertops available at just about every price range.
Durability is another important factor. Depending on how much of a beating you think your countertops will take, you want to choose a material that can withstand the punishment.
Another thing to consider is maintenance. Some countertop materials require you to do little more than wipe them down every once in a while. Others require regular maintenance to keep them in top shape and looking their best. So the type of countertop you choose will partially depend on how much time you want to spend taking care of it.
Finally, there’s style. You want to choose a countertop that you like, and that matches the style and color palette of your kitchen. Also, some materials allow for a little more creativity than others.
Popular Countertop Options
Every countertop material has its pros and cons. Here are some of the most popular countertop options, as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Laminate. Laminate countertops are one of the most inexpensive countertop options. Laminate countertops have other advantages, too. They are waterproof, a definite plus in a kitchen. Laminate won’t stain, and requires very little maintenance. Laminate is also available in a variety of colors to match any decor.
In the minus column, laminate isn’t heat resistant, so you’ll have to be careful where you sit that hot pot you just took off of the stove. Laminate countertops can also get scratched up pretty easily. And, once a laminate countertop is damaged, getting it repaired can be a challenge.
Granite. Granite is one of the most popular countertop materials around. In fact, granite countertops can be a major plus when trying to sell your home. Granite is also extremely durable. You don’t have to worry about it getting scratched up or stained. It’s also water proof and heat resistant if properly sealed.
While granite has many advantages, it is one of the most expensive countertop options. And while it requires little daily maintenance, there’s the yearly maintenance to think about. In order to remain waterproof and heat resistant, many granite countertops have to be resealed about once a year. You can do it yourself, although many find the process both time consuming and messy. You can also hire someone else to reseal your granite countertops, but doing so will probably cost you a few hundred dollars.
Concrete. Concrete is another trendy countertop option. On the durability scale, concrete lies between laminate and granite. Concrete countertops are both heat resistant and scratch resistant. However, a concrete countertop can be stained by something as simple as leaving a wet dish rag sitting on it for too long. In order to prevent this, you will have to seal the countertops every three months or so, which can be something of a hassle.
On the plus side, concrete is very customizable, meaning you can get concrete countertops in just about any color you can imagine. But, while not as expensive as granite, concrete can be pricey. Adding to the cost is the fact that concrete countertops must be custom cast. Also, many people don’t like the rough texture of some concrete countertops.
Ceramic Tile. Ceramic tile countertops aren’t as popular as they used to be, but they are still a viable and affordable countertop option. Style is one of the big advantages with this type of countertop. You can get really creative with colors and designs. Tile is also resistant to heat and moisture, and is pretty easy to maintain.
However, a ceramic tile countertop definitely has its cons. For one, you have to take special care to make sure the grout lines remain clean and unstained. Secondly, ceramic tiles can be scratched or chipped pretty easily. If you accidentally drop a heavy pot on the countertop, don’t be surprised to see cracks in some of the tiles. The good news is that ceramic tile countertops are pretty easy to repair. When countertops made of some other materials are damaged, the entire countertop has to be replaced. With a ceramic tile countertop, you only have to replace the damaged tiles, which is both more convenient and more affordable.
Choosing the right countertop can be tough. There are just so many options available. But considering each materials price, durability, maintenance requirements, and style potential will help you narrow down your options, and choose a countertop that will be perfect for your kitchen.