Kicking off your kitchen remodel? You have a lot of decisions ahead of you. After all, even if you already have a vision for what you want your new kitchen to look like, you’ll need to do the actual legwork of finding available materials that fit within your budget. It’s not as easy as it may seem at first glance!
Let’s help you out. In this article, we’ll review one of the most crucial decisions in any kitchen remodel: choosing the right countertop. We’ll discuss the similarities and differences between the most popular countertop styles and how to go about making an informed final decision.
Granite is incredibly popular, and it’s not hard to see why. Durable, beautiful, and value-adding, granite countertops work in a wide variety of homes and kitchens. This natural stone can feature gorgeous, natural veins running through the countertop. It’s more than a great aesthetic choice: granite countertops are incredibly heat-resistant and can stand up to everyday food prep, including knife cuts and scratches.
If you’re considering granite for your kitchen remodel, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. First, it’s incredibly heavy. You are, after all, installing a solid slab of stone. If you’re refurbishing older cabinets as part of your project, you’ll want to talk with your remodeler about whether or not they can support the weight of a granite slab. Also, make sure you account for granite in your budget: depending on where you buy and what you’re looking for, granite can be one of the more expensive countertops.
In recent years, quartz countertops have become just as popular as granite. They have many of the same benefits, including being both beautiful and durable. There are some key differences, however. While made from natural stone, quartz isn’t a slab of stone: instead, these countertops are typically crushed stone in a protective encasing resin. This means quartz countertops are available in far more styles and colors than granite. If you want the durability of stone countertops, but you don’t love the natural stone veins found in granite, quartz might be a great choice.
While quartz countertops stand up to knives and scratches just as well as granite does, they’re not as heat-resistant. You’ll want to avoid putting hot pans right on the surface. However, because of that protective layer, quartz is generally better at handling moisture and rejecting potential stains. This can help prevent a spilled wine glass from turning into a disaster.
Wood butcher block feels like a nostalgic throwback to the vintage kitchens of yesteryear. Appropriately, they look amazing in farmhouse-style kitchens aiming for a rustic feel. There’s a warm, homey feeling that comes with wood countertops. As an added bonus, butcher block is relatively inexpensive: you’ll pay about half as much, per-square-foot, as you would for quartz or granite.
Unfortunately, butcher block does have its limitations. It is, after all, wood. It absorbs moisture and stains easily, can be damaged by knives and easily scratched, and is not heat-resistant.
If you’re considering adding the look of butcher block to your kitchen, you might want to consider using it as an accent piece. You might feature it on your kitchen island, or in part of the kitchen that won’t commonly be used for food prep.
Stainless steel is durable and, true to its name, impossible to stain. It’s generally a good fit in contemporary or modern-style kitchens, where it can add a chic and professional look.
Think carefully before adding stainless steel countertops, however. Typically reserved for commercial kitchens, stainless steel might make your home feel cold, lifeless, and sterile. As any professional chef can also tell you, it scratches very easily. Unless you can come to appreciate the charm that scratched-up steel countertops add to the home, you’re better off going in a different direction.
Marble is the stone of luxury and art. Nothing matches its beauty and timelessness. While some homeowners do put marble countertops in their kitchen, you should know that it has several limiting factors. First, it’s expensive: marble will cost you more than other stone countertop options. It’s also relatively fragile and can be easily stained. If you’re the type of homeowner who plans to make active use of their kitchen, marble might not match the day-to-day durability you need out of your kitchen countertop.
Still want to feature marble in your home? Talk to a remodeling professional in your area about how to potentially incorporate a marble countertop into your bathroom vanity.
Get insight from a remodeling professional
It’s not always easy to find the countertop that matches your vision for your kitchen. As you no doubt now know, there’s a lot to consider. Even if you decide on a countertop material, you’ll still have to pick a color and match it to your cabinets. This is where working with a professional remodeler can really help. An experienced remodeling contractor has worked with hundreds of kitchens before. They’ll know exactly how to move your project forward and find the right materials for your space and budget.
Want to learn even more about the types of countertops reviewed above? Check out this helpful infographic. It has a full breakdown of the pros and cons of each style.