Aaah, countertops – the most polarizing part of the kitchen. Some people swear by granite, others love quartz, and many are bemoaning the downward trend of ceramic tile. Here’s the thing about countertops, there is not one “best” counter.
Hear me out. I love white quartz countertops by Cesarstone. It’s one of my favorite surfaces to use in kitchens, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best surface to use in every kitchen. Today, we’re going to dig in to countertops and help you discover the best counter to meet your taste and functional needs.
Granite is one of the most sought-after types of countertops – how many HGTV shows have we seen where the house flippers are selecting the right type of granite to sell the house, or home searching shows where the prospective buyers have to have granite countertops in order to buy a home. While there is some discussion among designers that granite is on its way out, there are still plenty of pros that make granite a popular choice for kitchens.
Pros: Because it’s a natural stone, every piece of granite is unique, and it’s available in a vast array of colors, from warm earth tones to cool grays and white, making it easier to select a color to match your decor. From a functional standpoint, it’s fairly heat and scratch resistant, and with appropriate sealing, you don’t need to worry about stains!
Cons: If the edges chip, it can be expensive to fix, and if it does stain, it’s permanent. It needs to be periodically resealed to avoid staining and keeping germs and bacteria out. Also, take care to never clean granite with an abrasive cleanser.
For the past decade, engineered quartz has been stealing a lot of granite’s thunder, and with good reason. It’s got the beautiful look of solid slabs of granite without any of the downsides. Created from up to 94 percent crushed quartz and mixed with pigment, the quartz is pressed into a slab with an epoxy. Quartz countertops often offer the same depth and beauty as granite.
Pros: Quartz countertops look like natural stone, but they are completely non-porous, so you don’t need to worry about staining, scratching, or heat damage. They’re also growing in popularity with people with discerning tastes, putting your home in high demand if you’re planning on selling anytime soon.
Cons: Quartz countertops have a high price tag, ranging between $60 and $115 per square foot. However, their durability means you’ll get your money’s worth in the long run.
Most often known by their brand names, such as Corian or Avonite, solid surface counters are 100 percent man-made, created from acrylic, polyester, or a blend of the two. Many people like solid surfaces because it’s easy to have one material for the sink, backsplash, and counter, and it’s a highly durable, easy to maintain surface. Available in countless colors and designs, solid surface doesn’t have much variance in shade between sheets which makes it great if you plan to expand your kitchen in the future.
Pros: Easy to repair, renew, and maintain, solid-surface countertops are highly resistant to heat and staining.
Cons: It doesn’t have the beauty of granite, marble, or quartz. While scratches and damage is repairable, solid surface does scratch easily.
Pristine, luxurious, and beautifully detailed, marble is a gorgeous stone available in countless colors depending on where it’s quarried. Green marble is found in Swedish quarries while Nero Markina is a black marble found in Spain. Designers looking for a natural stone, especially for a minimal, white kitchen often gravitate toward Cararra marble.
Pros: Marble provides a luxurious, high-end feel to a kitchen, and scratches and stains are repairable without professional assistance.
Cons: Marble is very soft and porous and is vulnerable to scratches, staining, and heat damage. Some stains be go too deep into the stone to completely remove.
Perfect for a rustic farmhouse look or to warm up a kitchen, butcher block counters are making a comeback. Some people say no to wooden countertops, afraid that they will absorb bacteria, but wood is actually highly resistant to bacteria, especially after sealing. Most often made from hardwood, such as maple, frequent sealings with mineral oil or periodic treatments with a butcher block oil can keep the wood in excellent condition for years. Butcher block makes a good island surface to contrast natural stone countertops.
Pros: A warm look that works well in many settings, it’s easy to sand out scratches, and it’s often more affordable than stone.
Cons: Butcher block does require regular maintenance to prevent staining or damage. Also, it’s important to never rest a hot pan on butcher block or it can cause serious damage.
One of the newest trends in countertops is concrete, and it’s great for an urban, modern home. Concrete countertops are often poured, molded, and cured off-site, ensuring a smooth surface with a soft sheen. Concrete is easy to customize because pigments can be added during pouring, creating a wide variety of color options, and once the concrete cures, they’re sealed to prevent staining and damage.
Pros: Concrete can be poured into any counter shape and pigmented in different colors for a truly custom look, and when strengthened with fiberglass fibers, it has excellent durability.
Cons: Concrete has to cure for a few weeks before it can be sealed, which is not optimal for most homeowners. Also, it does stain easily, especially from acidic foods such as lemon, tomato, and vinegar.
Overall, my personal choice for countertops is quartz. It’s durability and beauty are virtually unmatched, and it works in nearly any design. However, it’s important to discover the best countertop surface for your needs, and you may find butcher block suits you better!
If you’re ready to redesign your kitchen and you’re not sure how to design it, contact Interior Design By Tiffany for a consultation. With over a decade of interior design experience, I’m happy to help you create the kitchen of your dreams! Or subscribe to our design newsletter where I share real life design experiences and tips with you!