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All About Kitchen Countertops

Choosing your kitchen countertops is one of the most exciting moments in your home kitchen renovation. Countertops come in a wide variety and for the sake of helping you narrow down your search we will focus on 7 of the most common materials used for kitchen countertops. Before we dive in, let’s talk about where to start when making this important decision.

Not only is style a determining factor, it’s important to address the main function of your countertops. Do you need them to withstand the demands of daily busy family life? Are you a chef? Maybe you looking merely to add a sense of glamor to your home? Making a list of what you will use your countertops for the most will help you narrow down your search.


After you identify what you will be using your countertops for the most take some time to create a few different mood boards with different options. Visit some home improvement stores and ask for samples of the different materials so you can see, feel and imagine them them in your kitchen. In your mood board you will want to include all the major elements in your kitchen for example: appliances, cabinets, backsplash, the main color scheme on the walls, flooring ect. When you can see everything together including a few different options of countertop materials, it will be easier to make a decision.


Be sure to include your contractor in your decision. He is there to hold your hand during these decisions and can help guide you in the best direction. Also, keep in mind resale value and if you can afford it, choose a countertop that will increase the value of your home if you hope to sell it in a few years.


When it comes to cost, there is a vast range of the average cost of countertops in the Bay Area which is between $34 per square foot to $100 per square foot. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common countertop materials for you and will discuss the pros and cons of each.


Granite




This element is one of our favorites for the sake that it is classic and elegant. Granite can elevate a kitchen space making it appear luxe and timeless. Granite has been known to be costly however with more options on the market such as various custom engineered stones, the cost of granite has actually come down with time.


Pros

  • Timeless in look and feel

  • Many options in color choice

  • Durable and resilient

  • Increases resale value

  • Doesn’t require much maintenance

Cons

  • Requires professional detailed and precise installation due to risk of cracking

  • For stain resistance it requires proper sealing

  • Expensive


Soapstone




Soapstone is high in talc and derives its name from how it feels. A softer grade apparently feels like soap thus achieving its name. Soapstone looks natural and has been used in many cultures for various reasons, many relating to countertops in bathrooms or kitchens. This material is relatively easily to install. Soapstone adds a nice rustic look if that’s what you’re aiming for.


Pros

  • Easyily treated if damage occurs with simple sanding

  • Has an antiquated look making a kitchen look antique

  • Resists stains easily

  • Heat resistant

  • Looks expensive

Cons

  • Requires professional installation

  • Requires frequent upkeep with mineral oil

  • Can crack and dent over time, although some might view this as an added antiquated look


Quartz




Quartz is man made. It is known for its durability and is considered by many to be the best choice for countertops. Known for its versatility and low maintenance, it is made from some of the world’s toughest minerals. Typically quartz countertops are made from quartz chips or quartz dust bound together with resin. This surface is also known to be antimicrobial because it is nonporous therefore blocking mold, mildew and germs. Quartz gives a sleek and modern feel to a kitchen making it a good option for a timeless kitchen.


Pros

  • Easy upkeep and doesn't require sealing

  • Easily customizable

  • Heat resistant

  • Does not stain easily

  • Looks natural and expensive

  • May be installed without professional help

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Cannot take extreme heat

  • Heavy


Wood



Wood countertops deliver a cozy and quaint vibe if that’s what you’re looking for. There are many finishes and color options to select from. Offering a natural feel, this is a great option if you’re looking to go rustic-chic. Some of the wood options for countertop installation include: hard maple, teak, zebra wood, black walnut, wormy chestnut, wenge, beech, hickory, mahogany, and bamboo to name a few...

Pros

  • Natural beauty delivering a warm vibe

  • Pairs well with multiple style such as Mediterranean, eclectic, old-world & traditional

  • Nice working surface and easy on knives

  • May be easily sanded and resealed if needed

  • Adds a picturesque quality and charm

Cons

  • High maintenance- requires frequent upkeep such as frequent sealing

  • May be damaged easily by scratches

  • Bacteria may be an issue because it is porous

  • Expensive

  • Not as durable as other options out there

  • Water damage may be an issue


Laminate




Laminate is a useful material that is comprised of paper and resin layered and pressed together making a durable sheet that is then glued to a wood surface. It is a relatively low maintenance material. Laminate is known to offer a large variety of options to choose from and can be paired with multiple styles. If you’re looking for a retro or mid-century style this might be the right choice for you.


Pros

  • Easy Maintenance

  • Inexpensive

  • May be installed DIY

  • Lot of options to choose from

  • Doesn't require annual sealing

  • Stain resistant

Cons

  • Not the best choice for resale value

  • Visible seam lines

  • Damage to the surface is difficult to repair


Marble







There is a debate as to which is more durable marble vs granite. Both are durable if properly maintained and sealed every year, however, granite is the harder of the two. This classic stone offers an upscale look second to none. Its elegant mineral veins bring an element of luxe to a room and definitely adds resale value.

Pros

  • Durability

  • Unique veins

  • Heat resistant

  • Excellent resale value

  • Classically beautiful

  • Longevity

Cons

  • Must be installed by a pro

  • Porous and risk of stains unless sealed properly

  • Difficult to repair if scratched

  • Expensive


Solid Surface Material






Solid surface material is man-made and was first introduced by DuPont in 1967. It has an impermeable quality about it that appeals to a broad market.Due to its impermeability, it is a great option for countertops because it eliminates problem areas for bacteria and water to fester. This material is homogenous meaning what is visible on top continues all the way down.

Pros

  • Seamless seams

  • Prevents mold, mildew, and bacteria for being an issue

  • Stain resistant

  • Many versatile options to choose from

  • Excellent resale value

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Must be installed by a pro

  • Doesn’t do well with heat


Choosing countertops should be an exciting venture and we hope this helped you narrow down your search for what's right for you. And now to leave you with a design quote- in the words of one of the world's best designers;


“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs

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