The material that is used to construct the kitchen countertops has a huge impact on the overall look and feel of the space. With a wide range of materials available to today’s homeowner, it helps to understand the unique qualities that each popular kitchen countertop material possesses.
Laminates, or synthetics that are coated in plastics, have long been a common countertop material. Laminates are extremely easy to care for – they wipe clean easily. They’re also versatile due to the wide range of colors and styles available in laminates. Laminates are not considered hugely resilient, however, and because a laminate countertop is all one piece, unfortunately if one part of the countertop becomes damaged, the entire thing must be replaced.
Wood countertops are popular in traditionally designed kitchens because of their warm and classical appearance. Wood countertops add a rich look to the kitchen and can be rather timeless in their essence. However, wood does require a fair amount of upkeep between wax, oil, and staining.
On the opposite end of the design and maintenance spectrum is stainless steel. Stainless steel is known for its industrial appearance and is used in most professional kitchens. Stainless steel tends to be on the higher end of the pricing spectrum, however for the serious chef who desires a modern, industrial look, stainless steel is the most exciting option available for the kitchen.
Meanwhile, granite has long been a classic for all types of kitchen spaces due to its durability and its versatility. Granite comes in a wide range of colors and is extremely heat resistant – in fact, a hot pot or pan can be placed directly onto granite with no damage to the material. Granite does require some maintenance via sealing.
One alternative to granite that has a similar look and feel is engineered stone. Engineered stone is made of 93% quartz particles and it’s extremely resilient. Engineered stone is stain proof, making it ideal for kitchens, and it’s extremely easy to care for.
Another common choice for all types of high-quality kitchen is tiling. Most tiles are made of ceramic, which is a resilient and affordable material that comes in a wide range of colors, textures, and styles. Like granite, ceramic can withstand high temperatures and therefore it is considered very resilient, making it a good choice for the kitchen. Some homeowners do feel that ceramic is harder to keep clean than other countertop surfaces because of the grooves between the tiles (known as grouting), which can be difficult to keep clean.
Finally, soapstone is another popular kitchen countertop material that has versatility in the type of kitchen it can work in. Soapstone is smooth and is usually a dark color. Depending on the kitchen it’s placed in, soapstone can either feel modern or classical, which is what makes it a really versatile option for the kitchen. Soapstone does require some maintenance – mineral oil applied regularly to the surface of a soapstone countertop helps to prevent cracking on the surface.