Kitchen Design & Remodeling Blog

How to Choose Kitchen Countertops - Part 1

Posted by Dianne Aucello on Sun, May 20, 2012 @ 10:52 PM

I was recently called for a small project, a countertop replacement.  A new countertop is a quick way to improve the look of your tired kitchen.  With a new countertop, you will also need a new sink & faucet.

 
My client's 12 year old solid surface had shown some cracks, seams had opened and the sink failed around the drain.  This gave me the opportunity to review all the present countertop options.  There are pros and cons for each - cost, lead time, durability and maintenance.  This first part reviews some of the more standard counter top options.

 


Granite

Commonly, 1 1/4" thick, a natural stone that is cut from a large slab to exactly fit over your cabinetry.  I find it fun to go to the stone yard and look at the large slabs.  There are always color differences and pattern differences between every piece.  Lot to lot, the colors and direction changes; selecting the exact slab is special.  This surface requires the maintenance of sealing, not unlike waxing your car.  Based on the size of your kitchen, there may be seams.  The radon scare was proven to be false and there are no health issues caused from this stone.

Cost:  Starts at $45 per square foot, for eased edge

Lead time: Installs 1 - 2 weeks after template

Durability: Highly durable, although use a cutting board, as to not dull your knives

Maintenance:  Needs to be sealed 1x a year, or until the water no longer beads on the surface.  This is the most popular countertop choice.

How to choose kitchen countertops

Granite top with Dupont Edge

See Related Blog:

How to Granite Countertops are Installed

 

 

Quartz

A solid surface, resistant to staining and burning.  Color choices have increased over the years and it does not need to be sealed.  Templated and installed similar to granite.

Cost:  Starts at $60 per square foot, for eased edge

Lead time: Installs 1 - 2 weeks after template

Durability: Highly durable, although use a cutting board, as to not dull your knives. Most are stain resistant.  This is the most durable countertop choice.

Maintenance:  None required

How to Choose Kitchen Counterops

Use of Quartz countertops has been growing.

 


Marble, Onyx

While equally beautiful, the majority is ¾” thick, and it is too soft of a stone for the traffic and use of a kitchen.  This material will make a beautiful vanity countertop.

Cost:  Starts at $55 per square foot, for eased edge

Lead time: Installs 1 - 2 weeks after template

Durability: Soft material; can stain, chip and crack

Maintenance:  Needs to be sealed 1x a year, or until the water no longer beads on the surface.  Use with care.  Stains can be removed with a professional kit.

How to choose kitchen countertops

Regardless of what you have seen in the magazines, marble is great for a bath, but not durable enough for kitchen use.

 


Corian and other solid surfaces

Over the years, we have seen an increase of corian patterns.  The top and undermount sink are seamlessly molded together, better than any undermount stainless sink with stone.  It is warm to the touch, opposed to the cold feel of stone.

Cost:  Starts at $65 per square foot, for eased edge

Lead time: Installs 1 - 2 weeks after template

Durability: Can scratch, but repairable

Maintenance:  None needed

How to choose kitchen countertops

The joint between the corian sink and top is seamless; very easy to keep clean.


 

Laminate Countertops

This is the countertop that we all grew up with, but are too good for now.  Seriously, there is a huge selection of colors, and edges.  The black front edge can be avoided.  Must have an overmount sink.  Switching to a laminate top over a solid surface can help your budget on the larger ticket items.  Granite or quartz can always be switched at a later date.

Cost:  Starts at $15 per square foot, for eased edge; This is the most economical countertop choice.

Lead time:  Can be ordered with cabinetry, to get you back into your kitchen faster.

Durability: Can burn, scratch and stain

Maintenance:  None available.  Only option is to replace top once damaged.


hoe to choose kitchen countertops

 

 

Which countertop material have you been considering?  Which countertop material have you been living with?  Do you like it?  Need more information on all the types of countertops to choose from?  Download our Countertop white paper!

 

How to choose a kitchen countertop

 

 

See Related Blogs:

How to Choose Kitchen Countertops - Part 2

Undermount stainless steel single bowl sinks

Double bowl undermount sinks

 

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