Countertop Materials 101
Working with clients in new construction and remodel projects, we're often asked what the difference is in countertop materials or what I would recommend. There's much that goes into the countertop decision so we're breaking it down for you. Here's what you need to know when choosing your countertop material.
Quite possibly the most popular choice in countertop material, granite is both unique and beautiful, and comes in a variety of price points.
Granite’s beauty and uniqueness comes straight from Mother Nature! Each slab is uniquely different and offers a “one of a kind” look. It stands up extremely well to normal wear and tear, heat and spills.
Because granite is a natural stone, it’s porous, which means is must be sealed often to avoid stains. It’s extremely heavy, so you’ll need to make sure your cabinet box is sturdy enough to bear the weight.
Solid surface is made primarily of acrylic and polyester and often comes under the trade names of Corian, Formica and Wilsonart. Solid Surface countertop material has continued to maintain popularity over the years.
Solid Surface is nonporous and virtually maintenance free, meaning it requires no sealing. Although it can be scratched and burned, these can easily be sanded out. It comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns and installation is seamless, which means there are no cracks to trap dirt and debris.
Solid surfacing offers an artificial look and feel, yet can be as costly as a natural stone material. It is not friendly with heat (think hot pots and pans) or sharp objects that can scratch.
Quartz is created using a mix of resin, natural quartz chips and tinted with color. This is a nice combination of the beauty of natural stone and the easy care of solid surface material.
Because quartz is an engineered product it’s offered in a much larger variety or patterns and range of colors than granite or natural stone.
Because this is an engineered product, you won’t get the natural variegation of granite, so it will tend to look more manufactured than natural stone. It’s extremely durable, but carries a nice price tag, which for some, may be worth the investment.
It doesn’t get more glamorous than marble! Marble has beautiful luminescence and very distinctive veining, which makes it a wonderful choice.
Marble is exceptionally elegant and stands up to heat well, and because it's perpetually cool it’s a favorite for pastry stations!
Marble is extremely susceptible to staining, even with a sealer, scratching and chipping. It may be a great choice to use as an accent area rather than the main surface or entire kitchen.
Soapstone has gained popularity as of recent offering distinct beauty with a more approachable vibe than granite or marble.
Soapstone works very well with cottage or farmhouse-style homes because of the natural softness and depth of color it offers. Over time the medium gray color will darken, which for some can be more of a con than a pro.
Soapstone scratches and cracks over time. It requires polishing with oil to keep it at its best. It can also scuff china and glassware due to its natural roughness.
Concrete countertops offer an edgy vibe and work extremely well with industrial modern and farmhouse design.
Concrete is extremely durable, heat resistant and versatile. It can be formed to any shape and in-layed with accent materials to create a unique work of art.
Concrete must be sealed frequently, as it is porous. Small cracks will appear due to time and settling. It is extremely heavy and requires strong support. Can be pricey, due to customization.