From natural marble to laminate, each kitchen countertop material has its pros and cons. Some are strong but porous and difficult to care for. Others are stain-resistant but easily peel at the edges. Read through our post and consult Snohomish kitchen remodelers to ensure you pick the perfect material.
88% of Homeowners Update Countertops During Kitchen Remodels
Homeowners make dozens of choices when remodeling their kitchens. They pick out millwork for their cabinet doors, molding for the ceiling, flooring materials, paint colors, appliances, hardware and so much more. Among all these decisions, one of the most hotly debated kitchen remodeling choices is which material to choose for countertops.
After all, countertops are the most commonly updated feature during kitchen remodels. According to Jessica Bennett in a recent article for Better Homes & Gardens, "countertops were the most popular feature to upgrade [in 2021]." A shocking "88% of respondents incorporat[ed] the project into their kitchen remodel." Below are some of the kitchen countertop materials available to homeowners today.
Common Kitchen Countertop Materials
Natural Stone Countertops
Soapstone, marble, granite and quartzite are all used to make natural stone countertops. Natural stone is heat-resistant, making it ideal for the countertops that surround your oven and range. One can put hot pans on their countertop surface without worry. With beautiful surfaces and unique graining, natural stone is one of the most popular kitchen countertop materials in the US.
Though absolutely stunning, marble and granite countertops are higher maintenance than man-made materials. In most cases, natural stone countertops must be treated fairly regularly to prevent staining and water absorption. They can split or crumble if installed by the homeowner instead of a professional.
Elegant, sophisticated and luxurious, granite and marble countertops also come with a hefty price tag. While the upfront cost can be high, natural stone countertops are beloved by home buyers and could help sell your house in the future.
Engineered Stone Countertops
Engineered quartz and recycled glass are also popular amongst homeowners due to their lower cost, durability and visual similarity to natural stone. Unlike the organic veining of natural stone, quartz countertops can be customized to the homeowner's aesthetic. Even better, quartz and recycled glass countertops need not be sealed or treated like natural stone.
Cast Concrete Countertops
Some homeowners opt for cast concrete when picking out their kitchen countertops. The monochromatic look of concrete countertops works well in a number of different interiors. Plus, some homeowners are able to pour concrete into molds and install the product themselves.
In an article for Real Simple, Amanda Lauren further explains the appeal of concrete counters -- but also includes a warning. Lauren writes that concrete is "also almost entirely indestructible." However, concrete countertops are prone to cracking "as a home settles." Thankfully, one can easily repair cracks in concrete with a mix-at-home kit.
Butcher block countertops add warmth and depth to a space that can easily feel cold and clinical. As such, wood countertops have surged in popularity over the last decade. Butcher block countertops are also more heat-resistant than other materials and can be kept quite sanitary if sealed.
Perhaps the most budget-friendly option on this list is laminate. Coming onto the scene back in the 1950's shoppers have loved laminate countertops because they come in almost any style. Some resemble natural stones, wood grain and other high-end materials -- all without the sticker shock. Unfortunately, laminate countertops are not as durable or heat-resistant as their more expensive peers. Though laminate does not require professional installation, it is unlikely to last as long as a ceramic tile or granite countertop. Plus, they often have visible seams.
Ceramic or Porcelain Tile Countertops
Some homeowners opt for tile countertops made of ceramic or porcelain. Though somewhat heat-resistant and durable to a point, tile countertops also present a number of issues. Like natural stone, tile countertops can be high-maintenance.
As Nick Gerhardt and Samantha Allen write in an article for Forbes Home, "tile countertops can last a lifetime." However, the grout between each tile "requires routine maintenance like cleaning and annual sealing." Like bathroom countertops, the grout between tiles on a kitchen countertop can become discolored or even mildew.
Aluminum or Stainless Steel Countertops
You have probably seen a kitchen island or two with stainless steel countertops, but they are more common in commercial kitchens than at home. Still, the industrial look metal countertops impart is in line with certain design aesthetics. Though easy to clean and sanitize, metal countertops can dent easily.
Solid Surface Countertops
Another option is a man-made product called a solid surface countertop. Solid surface countertops are made from a mixture of natural and artificial materials.
Lee Wallender explains in an article for The Spruce. Wallender writes that "solid-surface countertops consist of mineral dust (mostly marble) mixed with a variety of plastic resins and pigments." Homeowners often prefer solid surface countertops to laminate because they do not have visible seams and will not peel.
FAQs About Choosing the Right Kitchen Countertop Material for Your Remodel
Now that you know the basic pros and cons of each material, let's answer a few frequently asked questions about kitchen countertops. We consulted our team of kitchen remodelers in Everett to best answer the questions below.
How do I choose a kitchen countertop?
Before choosing a kitchen countertop, consider your priorities. Do you want a kitchen countertop that is incredibly easy to clean and sanitize? Or do you want a classic, natural look that will stand the test of time? Would you prefer a cool industrial style or does a warm, organic look make more sense for you?
Once you consider your preferences, it's time to consult an expert. The easiest way to choose the right kitchen countertop is to consult kitchen remodelers in your area. For Washington State homeowners, we recommend reaching out to your local Snohomish kitchen remodelers.
Which kitchen countertop is best -- according to kitchen remodelers in Snohomish County?
Many will argue that natural stone countertops are best because of their heat resistance, durability and timeless appeal. Research conducted by Consumer Reports and published in this recent article found that a few materials are better than the rest.
According to Consumer Reports, seven materials "resisted stains, heat damage, cuts, abrasion, and impact" reliably. These include quartz, granite, laminate, solid surfacing, recycled glass and butcher block.
However, the best kitchen countertop for your home is one that meets your family's needs, aesthetic and budget. Weigh the pros and cons from your own perspective.
Which kitchen countertop is most durable?
While you might think natural stone would win, quartz is widely considered the most durable kitchen countertop material. According to this article from HouseLogic, "quartz is almost indestructible under normal kitchen prep conditions." As the article notes, "unless you take a sledgehammer to it, [quartz] won't chip or crack."
It resists impact, stains and mildew without the need for sealants or oiling. Natural stone and concrete are durable but porous without sealing. Other materials are prone to cracking and crumbling. As one might imagine, laminate ranks towards the bottom because it can be sliced through with a knife.
Which kitchen countertop is cheapest?
While laminate is the cheapest kitchen countertop material, typically ranging between $10 and $50 per square foot, not many professional remodelers install it here in the Pacific Northwest. Some laminate varieties can cost as little as $5 per square foot, though this is rare. Laminate can be installed by the homeowner. Professional installation is recommended, but does add to the overall cost. Consult our Remodeling Cost Guide for more information.
Working with Snohomish Kitchen Remodelers to Pick the Perfect Countertops
The key to picking kitchen countertops that you will love and use for years to come is to work closely with professional remodelers. From cost to lifespan and from durability to appearance, our designers know all there is to know about countertop materials. Vanderbeken Remodel has a talented team of professionals to help you survive and thrive during your renovation.
With 40+ years in the remodeling industry, we deeply value our client’s satisfaction. As such, our dedicated team of builders and designers at VanderBeken Remodel work tirelessly with you to bring your remodeled dream home into a reality.
As a Design-Build Remodeler, we provide full-service construction where both design and construction teams work together under the same umbrella, allowing for high levels of collaboration and unified recommendations. The value to you: priceless!
Another thing that sets VanderBeken Remodel apart from other remodelers is that we work within a fixed-investment model. This means you can sit back and relax, because what you agree to in the beginning is what it will cost in the end.
If you are interested in remodeling your Snohomish County home, schedule a call with us so we can begin the conversation.