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Kitchen countertops have evolved along with our needs. They aren’t just supposed to be practical, but durable, easy to clean and maintain, and also attractive and elegant. Navigating the field of countertop materials may sound like a chore with the overwhelming number of options today. There is a vast number of natural and artificial materials used in kitchens that serve well and look great. However, the needs of the kitchen owners are the deciding factor. Choose the right kitchen countertop material with our assistance and enjoy spending time next to it with your loved ones.
Know your needs to find a countertop that fulfills them
It is as simple as that. With one small addition – the price. Which countertop material you will choose depends on how much time you will spend above it cooking, baking, or chopping. If you can’t imagine your life without preparing homemade delicacies, then investing in a sturdy material is worth it. What else should you take into account?
All countertop materials drop into one of the three categories:
- natural materials (granite, marble, wood)
- artificial materials (concrete, plastic, stainless steel)
- composites (engineered quartz, paper composites)
Their color, texture, sheen, stain and scratch resistance, and longevity depend on the material itself. However, the price depends on the quality and availability of the material, production and transport costs, and available producers. Take all these factors into account before you make the decision.
Note that resurfacing your kitchen cabinets is one of the most cost-effective jobs to perform in your home. The quality of work and longevity of the materials affect the final result, so make sure to hire specialists and choose the materials that suit your needs and lifestyle.
Natural countertop materials
Natural stone and wood are widely used as countertop materials for their unmatched beauty. However, they do come with a few downsides. Although they seem and feel sturdy enough, natural materials are often porous, allowing stains to ingrain. Moreover, most are not scratch or heat-resistant (wood), and they won’t tolerate cuts or hard scrubbing (marble).
If you plan to use your kitchen mostly for ready-to-heat meals and take-out food, then rustic-looking wood is for you. As long as you don’t spill your red wine, luxurious marble is your choice. For timeless luxury, opt for granite but beware, it is pricy for a reason.
It is vital to consider the amount of cooking your kitchen will see because kitchen remodeling can add value to your home if done right. It is one of the home improvement jobs that can bring the highest return on investment. To choose the right kitchen countertop material, look at the available options but also conduct your own research. Ideally, the material will be durable and low-maintenance. Sometimes, it can even be surprisingly affordable.
Artificial countertop materials
Solid surface countertop materials are gaining traction quickly. Made usually from polyester or acrylic or their mix, they are non-porous and durable. And even if scratched or damaged by heat, they’re easily repaired. They come in a vast range of colors that are consistent throughout the material and always come with a matte sheen.
Plastic laminate is among the most affordable countertop materials, but that shouldn’t worry you. Modern laminates meet environmental demands.
Just like plastic materials, stainless steel is long-lasting and non-permeable. It is also much easier to disinfect and clean. The only downside is that dents and smudges show too easily.
Modern-day concrete kitchen counters are precast, honed, and sealed, and strengthened to prevent cracking. The colors today range greatly thanks to the special pigments added during the production process.
Countertops made of composite materials
The most popular of all composite materials is quartz composite, made of natural quartz (around 90%) and binders (around 10% epoxy or acrylic resin). Only the quality quartz products are NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) rated, so keep your eyes open during purchase. The glossy, radiant, elegant but durable, non-permeable material, quartz composite is highly valued. Be ready to pay a price in the range of good quality granite or marble to enjoy all the benefits and virtually no downsides of this material.
You get paper composite when you mix wood-based fibers from sustainable forests with resin and natural pigment, compress them and bake them. The result is a slab of sturdy, non-porous, and dense material that is also environmentally friendly.
Don’t forget about the rest of your home during a kitchen remodeling
While you’re renovating your kitchen countertops, think about renewing other surfaces in your home at the same time. Why don’t you choose the right kitchen countertop material for your bathroom cabinet tops? What about your fireplace or windowsills? The same materials that you’d use for kitchen counters can be used in other rooms for other purposes, quite successfully. Moreover, adopting the same color or texture throughout your home will allow one of these materials to connect the rooms into one elegant whole.
Also, don’t underestimate the work to be done during your kitchen remodeling. Changing your kitchen counters can be a messy job that can spread dust all over your floors, carpets, and furniture, especially if your home features an open floor plan. Consider asking the storage and relocation experts from the area to store away your furniture for the duration of the remodeling. They are also trained to protect each piece and wrap it safely, even if you don’t need them to take away the items. Sometimes proper covering and packing will suffice.
Stay safe during the kitchen countertop renovation
Speaking about kitchen renovation nowadays and not considering the ongoing situation wouldn’t be responsible. If you plan to renovate your kitchen amid the pandemic, take all precautionary measures to stay safe. Consult with your chosen contractor about the health standards they intend to employ and then organize accordingly. Stay at a reasonable distance for the duration of the works or spend time with your family outside. Once you choose the right kitchen countertop material, let the surprise of a job done well sweep you off your feet when you return.