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Countertops 101: The Different Types of Kitchen Countertops

The Different Types of Kitchen Countertops

Real estate experts estimate that homeowners will see a 54% to 74% return on investment when they update their kitchens. Surprisingly, minor midrange remodels garner the best profitability.

Modest remodels usually involve upgrading appliances, cabinets, and countertops while avoiding major structural work. Of these three options, kitchen countertops offer the biggest “Wow!” factor. Appliances are easy to sell and replace, and a simple coat of paint or new hardware can refresh cabinets.

Kitchen design experts can offer you a variety of kitchen countertop ideas. However, not every countertop for kitchen is perfect for your personality.

You may want a countertop that is perfect for plenty of cooking, fits your budget, or fits in with your design aesthetic. Knowing your priorities before committing to a style of countertop is the best way to proceed in freshening up your kitchen.

In the following article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of countertop materials and which one might be right for you.

Laminate Countertops

laminate countertop

If you are replacing your countertops, then there’s a good chance that you’re looking to update your laminate surfaces.

Laminate countertops are plastic sheets glued onto particle boards. They come in many colors and styles and are easy to install, easy to repair, and inexpensive. Unfortunately, laminate countertops don’t hold much luster and can be scratched by knifework. However, these countertops hold up to heat well, although if not adequately glued, the adhesive holding the thin sheets in place can come undone.

Laminate countertops are perfect for rental units where you may want to swap out the material every few years or leave them in place for an extended period of time. They need no special maintenance and are great for short-term tenants.

Granite Kitchen Countertops

Granite Countertops Wichita KS

You used to find that granite countertops were the most expensive option for updating your kitchen. However, in many quarters, quartz has overtaken granite in price.

Granite styles range from standard to rare, but overall an excellent choice for your kitchen remodel.

First, granite is a sustainable resource. A single granite quarry can employ thousands of people and last hundreds of years. Once these artisans secure the stone from the ground, little is done to the rock to process it for commercial use. This means they use fewer toxic chemicals and greenhouse gas emissions to produce the natural countertops.

Another great feature of granite is the material’s ability to resist heat. You can place a hot pot on a granite countertop without damaging the surface. There is no discoloration or melting when it comes to hot pans. However, you should consider a heat-absorbing mat for some appliances that emit sustained heat.

Unlike laminate countertops, granite is almost impervious. In addition, granite is so tough that you can cut on it in a pinch. However, experts don’t recommend this because it might dull your knives.

One of the biggest pros of granite is its amazing variety and natural designs. From clean white marble to more exotic options with hints of pink and gold, granite countertops are a unique natural substance.

If you damage your granite, it is nearly impossible to repair it yourself. Instead, you should allow a professional to address chips or cracks. Also, granite is a porous material, so liquids can `stain the surface if left to pool for long periods.

Quartz Countertops

Although quartz is the most abundant mineral on Earth, these countertops are not a natural product. Instead, the milled quartz dust is mixed with resins and polymers to give the material its form. Pigments and other materials, including crushed glass, provide the countertops with distinctive colors and appearance.

These engineered pieces have a few advantages over natural stone, but the biggest is that they can be engineered to almost any shape.

Granite countertops usually need two or three to fit the average kitchen. Unfortunately, these seem to be sometimes obscured by a matching epoxy.

Depending on the installer, this may be true with quartz, but in some cases, the quartz is ordered to your specific dimensions and manufactured per spec.

Quartz countertops are as hard as granite and can withstand the same amount of punishment. But, of course, this also means that quarts can chip and crack like granite if struck hard enough.

However, sealed quartz is not porous and difficult to stain even when a liquid pool is on it for an extended period.

One advantage of granite over quartz is that while the mineral quartz is heat resistant, the polymers that hold it together are usually not. As a result, you may damage or melt your quartz countertop by placing too hot a pan on it.

Lastly, while quartz can come in a multitude of designs, it often can’t match the natural patterns of granite. That said, if you are looking for a unique substance that needs little maintenance and will add a “wow” to your kitchen, quartz is often the right choice.

Other Choices

There are several other materials to try if you are looking for a unique design aesthetic. For example, you could try an inexpensive butcher block or acid-washed metal for another.

Butcher block does take regular maintenance but is excellent for working kitchen because the more you use it, the more rustic it looks.

Metal or concrete is a great modern choice, and the proper epoxy or acid wash will look eye-catching.

Lastly, these unconventional choices are usually less expensive than granite and quartz and more appealing than laminate.

The Right Choice for You

As we stated at the beginning of this piece, the best kitchen countertops are the ones that fit your needs. So, before you start this process, make an inventory of your needs and decide how you use your kitchen.

Is it a working kitchen with a lot of cooking going on? Or is it a kitchen where the “wow” is almost as important as the “yum?”

If you need help choosing your next kitchen countertops, consult the experts at Artistic Marble & Granite. Contact us today to start your counter remodel.

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