One of the most important decisions you have to make in a kitchen remodel is the type of countertop to use. Whether you live in a contemporary condo in Downtown Atlanta or in a traditional home in the suburbs, your countertops will play a huge role in defining the look and feel of your kitchen.
In addition to appearance, there are other qualities and factors to consider when choosing a countertop. These include durability, ease of cleaning and maintenance, and resistance to germs and bacteria.
Take a look at three of the top options on the market today.
Contrary to what many think, quartz is not a natural stone countertop. It’s a composite made of 93% quartz crystals and a binder, usually resin or a similar material. Also known as engineered stone, quartz has gained huge popularity for its elegant, stone-like look, as well as its durability. Because pigments can be added to the resin, it also comes in a wide variety of colors, including customized ones.
Quartz is completely non-porous, leaving no place for bacteria and other microorganisms to settle and breed. This quality also makes quartz stain resistant, as liquids cannot seep through the surface. It is easy to clean and needs very little maintenance. Design-wise, quartz is highly versatile, so you can expect new variations to be introduced to the market more frequently.
For many years, granite was the top countertop choice, especially in high-end homes, until it was overtaken by quartz. Unlike quartz, granite is a completely natural material made from quarried stones, so this means no two slabs are ever alike. If you want uniformity in your countertop design, granite is probably not the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you’re partial to the natural variations of stone, then you will appreciate the unique patterns of granite slabs.
Granite is very durable and can last a long time. However, it’s a porous material so it’s finished with a sealant, which can wear off after some time. To protect your countertop from staining and from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria, you have to reseal it regularly, preferably once a year.
What gives granite the edge over quartz is heat resistance. Granite can withstand high heat, while quartz can melt in temperatures of more than 300 degrees, so you always need to use a hot pad.
This countertop is especially appealing to environmentally conscious homeowners. It’s made of recycled glass shards held together by a binder, such as resin or cement. This makes it non-porous and resistant to stain, scratches, and heat. The glass shards give off a whimsical look that can give a kitchen instant character. However, since the countertops come in panels, there’s bound to be seams where the panels are connected.
Recycled glass countertops are highly durable, but have to be resealed annually. They may also chip or break when hit with a heavy object.
There are many more countertops to choose from, including solid surface, butcher block, marble, and others. Ask your contractor about your options to find one that would work best in your kitchen.
Countertop Buying Guide, Lowes.com
Kitchen Countertop Styles and Trends, HGTV.com