Kitchen countertops endure a lot of use, yet they’re also an opportunity to create a real wow factor in the kitchen. It’s important to strike a balance between style and function, which is why durability, visual appeal and maintenance ease are among the top three guiding factors for choosing the right countertop. There are many options, from granite to laminate to lavastone, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Read the pros and cons of kitchen countertop options to decide which one is right for your needs:
Laminate: More commonly known as Formica, laminate countertops are inexpensive, available in a range of options, and easy to maintain. The downside is that they are not heat tolerant, and edges and seams are generally visible. They also scratch and chip easily, which is not easily repaired.
Solid Surface: With no visible seams, lots of patterns and colors available and a renewable quality that allows cuts and scratches to be blended out, solid surfaces (which are basically a plastic) have several advantages. The downsides are that they’re not heat resistant, are pricier and require professional installation.
Natural Stone: Granite, slate, soapstone, quartz, marble and gemstone all fall under this category. Long-lasting natural stone has an organic beauty and is more heat tolerant than other surfaces. It also expensive, and its porous quality requires sealing maintenance to prevent stains.
Engineered Stone:Engineered stone mimics natural stone, yet combines the properties of real stone with other ingredients to eradicate its porosity and maintenance requirements. This option, however, can be expensive depending on color choice.
Wood: Great for a cutting surface, wood countertops give the kitchen a warmer aesthetic than stone. Wood surfaces are susceptible to water damage if not properly sealed, and can dent and scratch easily.
Metal: Metal countertops, including stainless steel, copper or pewter, are heat tolerant, non-porous and sanitary. Like wood, though, they also can scratch and dent easily.
Concrete/Cement: Countertops created from concrete or cement have the ability to incorporate inlaid decorative details or useful implements like trivets. However, they’re prone to hairline cracks and are extremely heavy.
Composite/Recycled: Eco-friendly and similar to natural stone, recycled countertops are warmer to the touch than other options. Because they’re naturally made, they may fade over time.
Lavastone: This unique application of volcanic lava hardened into a stone-like consistency is heat, scratch and stain resistant and nonporous. However, because it’s uncommon, it’s expensive and hard to come by.
Tile: Tile countertops come in an endless variety of styles and colors, are heat tolerant and durable, and can be very affordable depending on the chosen tile. Due to grout lines, they’re not very easy to clean.
Glass: This hygienic, non-porous surface is simple to maintain, heat tolerant, stain resistant and available in many styles, colors and textures. They can be expensive, show fingerprints and water spots, and can crack easily.