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Countertop Material Options

Kitchen Counters can come in a variety of materials. Some popular counter materials are natural and some are synthetic or a blend of both. A solid slab is most popular but tiles are also an option for kitchen counters. We have compiled some of the more popular options and have included some more obscure choices. We will go over some of the pros and cons of the various options in this guide to kitchen countertops.

Quartz

Quartz countertops are very popular. Quartz is a highly abundant mineral. Though mostly made of this natural material, quartz countertops are an engineered product. To make quartz countertops, the quartz is crushed and mixed with a resin. Other materials and pigments are added in order to make different looks.

Quartz is known for its durability. It is harder than other popular natural stone materials like granite. Scratching are breaking are not a high concern with quartz. Heat is probably the greatest weakness when it comes to the durability of engineered quartz. A hot pan can damage a quartz countertop. This is not due to the quartz but the resin and other materials that are used to make the slab.

Quartz is highly stain resistant. It is not a porous material like natural stone. Therefore water and other liquids are not able to penetrate the surface and cause staining. Since engineered quartz is non-porous, there is no need to seal this material like you would with natural stone surfaces. Cleaning is also easy because of this.

You are able to achieve a wide variety of looks and colors with quartz. Pigments and other materials are added to quartz to achieve these different looks. Although a wide variety is possible, it is hard to achieve the beauty of natural stone.

Be prepared to pay a higher price than most common countertop materials if you decide on using quartz. It is often the most expensive of the material choices. You get all of the benefits of choosing quartz for that price so it can be well worth it.

Granite

When real stone countertops are a must, granite is a great choice. Granite is the material that graces the Yosemite valley with impressive stone monuments. Granite has a great balance of real stone look and durability. It is a very hard stone and heat resistant.

Since granite is real stone, your design options will be limited to what mother nature provides. That isn’t a bad thing because granite highly prized for its beauty. Choosing real granite can add to the value of your home.

Granite can stain if not maintained correctly. Since it is a porous real stone, it can absorb water and other liquids. With proper sealing this isn’t much of a concern. Sealing your granite properly also prevents the granite from harboring bacteria and germs.

Granite is generally priced slightly less than high end quartz. It’s definitely not cheap but it also increases the value of your home. With all it benefits, granite is a great choice if you want a combination of natural stone and durability.

Marble

Marble is an elegant and delicate stone choice for kitchen counters. Beauty is the number one reason homeowners choose marble. This may be the only reason needed.

Marble is a soft stone as far as kitchen counters are concerned. You have to be very aware of the potential of chipping or scratching the stone. You will want to make never to cut anything directly on the counter.

Marble is very susceptible to staining as it is highly porous. Since marble is generally chosen for beauty, you will want to maintain it properly to keep that beauty. Maintenance requires periodic sealing to keep the pores from absorbing any spills.

Marble has more than one variety. Depending on the variety of marble desired, the price range is wide. It can be one of the cheapest to the most expensive materials you can get.

Travertine

Travertine is a type of limestone that is formed at hot springs. It is around the same hardness of marble. Travertine does not do well with spills from acidic liquids such as coffee and alcohol. Seal travertine periodically to prevent staining.

Slate

Slate is not for those looking for an elegant stone. It has a rough, natural look. Slate is not as highly porous as many stones. The hardness of slate falls between marble and granite.

Quartzite

Quartzite is another popular natural stone. Quartzite has a durability similar to granite.  Quartzite has veins like marble though the veins aren’t as delicate. It is found in a fairly wide variety of looks. Like all natural stone, quartzite has to be sealed to prevent staining. Quartzite is generally priced higher than granite. Quartzite is a great choice for a beautiful, durable stone.

Wood

If you want a natural look other than stone, wood is an option. There are a number of wood varieties you can choose from. Wood varieties are of different strength but as a rule, wood is susceptible to dents and scratches. Wood countertops can be revived with refinishing. Just as with stone, sealing prevents liquid damage and the harboring of germs and bacteria. Bamboo is also worth mentioning here. Bamboo is a woody grass that has seen a rise in popularity for its look, strength and eco-friendliness.

Concrete

Concrete is a trending choice of kitchen counter material. Like quartz, concrete can achieve many looks because it is an engineered product. Concrete is long lasting but of course, has to be maintained. One thing to be aware of is that concrete is heavy so the cabinets or island they are placed upon should be ready to bear the weight.

Porcelain

Porcelain is another choice of manufactured countertop. You can also achieve many looks with porcelain that can imitate other materials such as marble. Porcelain is very durable. It is even rated as more durable than granite. In addition to strength, porcelain is lighter than concrete.

Other Materials

There are other materials for kitchen counters. Some are not as commonly used such as recycled glass. Unique materials can give you conversation pieces if you don’t want to choose what is trending. There are also lower cost materials that are not recommended such as laminate which is basically a sticker on top of another surface.

Other Materials

All of the materials above are viable options for kitchen countertops. You ultimately have to know your priorities. Is real stone a must? Do you want low maintenance? Does your choice have to be eco-friendly? Find what material makes you happiest overall. We hope this helps you select the right kitchen countertop material for you!
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