Choosing the Best Countertop for You

Today, you’ll find kitchen countertops made of everything from laminate to stainless steel to concrete. While variety abounds, solid surface countertops have become a clear favorite among homeowners for their appearance, performance and value.

Solid surface countertops are resistant to heat, scratches, mold and mildew, making them ideal for the kitchen. Those made of engineered stone let you enjoy the look of natural granite or quartz, but at a more affordable price, and without the need for regular sealing.

Here is a great guide to choosing which countertop is best for you.

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The most typical natural stone used to make counter tops include granite, soapstone and slate. This is a brief evaluation of every material.

Granite, once found only in costly, high-finish kitchen areas,is a lot more commonplace today also it isprobably typically the most popular gemstone counter top material. Granite counters could be bought mainly through local manufacturers, but they are provided at many home centers and kitchen showrooms. The most recent player within this market, the maker of Corian, Dupont, sells granite counter tops through its network of manufacturers. Granite is available in several colors, varying from vibrant blues and variegated browns, to night time black, deep red-colored and mottled whitened. It’s reduce lengthy, thick foundations that need couple of–or no–seams. Most manufacturers routinely make one-piece granite counters as much as 10 foot lengthy. After cutting and sprucing up, the granite is given an impregnating sealer which makes the counter top stain resistant. Laser hair removal usually lasts ten to fifteen years, but make sure to make use of a stone cleaner–no abrasive facial cleanser–for everyday cleaning. The common recognition and accessibility to granite has stable prices somewhat, but it is not quite cheap. Count on paying between $75 to greater than $250 per sq foot, with respect to the granite color and complexity from the fabrication.

Soapstone and slate both are available in far less colors than granite. Soapstone is generally dark greenish-black, although lighter eco-friendly-grey foundations will also be common. Slate is definitely an very dense stone that is available in five subtle colors: eco-friendly, red-colored, grey, crimson and black. Slightly less frequent are variegated crimson and mottled crimson slates, that have visible veins and shades of contrasting colors. Both soapstone and slate could be fabricated into sinks to complement the counter top. Soapstone is porous, and should be sealed with mineral oil to lessen discoloration. Slate, however, is nonporous and virtually easy to maintain. Slate is comparatively soft, but scratches could be buffed by helping cover their steel made of woll. Slate includes a soft, matte sheen, but you may create a wet look by rubbing the slate with lemon oil. Slate counter tops cost roughly $100 to $200 per sq foot, with respect to the fabrication. Soapstone is listed equally with midrange granite: $100 to $150 per sq foot.


Solid-appearing materials–for example Corian, Wilsonart’s Gibraltar and Avonite–are constructed with 100% acrylic, 100% polyester, or a mix of acrylic and poly. They are highly resistant against stains and scratchs, and completely renewable and repairable. Scratches and burns could be sanded out deep gouges could be filled. Seams are fused together to produce undetected joints. And also the material is available in literally 100s of colours and designs, a few of which resemble gemstone. Solid-surface sinks can also be found.

Detractors dismiss solid-appearing materials to be simply imitation stone, that is a little unfair. Solid-surface counters have been in existence for pretty much 4 decades and also have carried out admirably in 1000’s of kitchen areas. A distinctive sign of solid-appearing material would be that the design options are virtually unlimited. From intricate inlays and custom backsplashes, to elegant edge remedies and colorful pinstriping, if you’re able to dream it there’s a high probability the fabricator can make it. Consider quarta movement composite, a more recent kind of solid appearing material. Also called designed stone, this excellent material consists of about 90% quarta movement and 10% acrylic or epoxy binder. DuPont’s Zodiaq, Silestone, Cambria and CaesarStone really are a couple of of the numerous quarta movement composites available these days. The primary variations between designed stone and traditional solid appearing materials are that designed stone is a lot harder and it has a depth, clearness and radiance not present in other solid surfaces. Quarta movement composites cost a little more than traditional solid surfaces, but both materials are similar to granite count on paying $150 to $200 per sq foot for any solid-surface counter.


Plastic laminate–that is frequently known to through the tradename Formica–is really a durable, hard-putting on material that may survive a long time within the most difficult kitchen areas. Thinking about that plastic laminate is created mainly of kraft paper heavy-laden with resins, it is a remarkably resilient choice. Plastic laminate will come in 100s of colours and a large number of designs, as well as in various textures. However, only individuals having a matte or fine matte finish ought to be employed for counter tops. Bear in mind, too, that you will find two fundamental kinds of laminated flooring: 1/16-in.-thick general-purpose, and 1/32-in. vertical grade. Only general-purpose laminate is appropriate for counter tops vertical grade is perfect for backsplashes, cabinet doorways and drawer faces.

Plastic laminate is available in sheets varying from 2 x 4 foot to 4 x 8 foot. Longer, wider sheets could be special purchased. Prices vary from about $2 to greater than $3 per sq foot, with respect to the laminate’s color and pattern. Lumberyards and residential centers sell ready-to-install publish-created laminate counters, which feature seamless construction. Again, prices vary broadly, however a solid-color, 8-foot-lengthy, publish-created counter top will definitely cost between $80 and $100. Should you employ a cabinetmaker to custom-develop a counter, prices will vary from $15 to greater than $25 per sq foot, based upon the laminate selected, complexity from the edge treatment and size the backsplash.


The popularity in kitchen design during the last decade approximately has moved toward low-maintenance, seamless counters. Consequently, you will find less counter tops engrossed in ceramic tile. However, that does not mean you need to totally discount tile for the kitchen. Tile is a superb option for backsplashes or secondary worktops, for example islands, eat-at counters, peninsulas, wet bars or butler’s pantries. Be sure that you use tiles ranked to be used on flooring or counter tops. “Never use wall tile on the counter. It’s too thin and can easily crack,” states tile contractor Jimmy Tiganella of Classic Tile in Oakville, Conn.

Porcelain tile is frequently put on a plywood substrate or directly over existing plastic laminate counter tops. However, to make sure a rock-solid, lengthy-lasting installation, Tiganella favors using 3/4-in.-thick plywood capped with 1/2-in.-thick cement backerboard. It’s tough to estimate the price of a tile counter top since much is dependent around the tile selected and complexity from the installation. Simple solid-color tiles cost less than $1 per sq foot, however the average price is more within the $3 to $5 per sq foot range. A professional installation will definitely cost between $30 and $50 per sq foot, plus the price of the tile.


Wood is an additional traditional counter material that has lost prominence over time due both for the common recognition of granite and solid surfaces, also to the mistaken perception that wood can harbor bacteria and bacteria. Actually, based on a 1993 College of Wisconsin study by which microbiologists deliberately contaminated wooden cutting boards throughout testing, 99.9 % from the bacteria introduced died within 3 minutes of contact with the wood’s surface. The research discovered that wood cutting boards are safer, bacteria-smart, than plastic ones. Wood maintenance could be another problem, though: While memory closes can safeguard a counter for any couple of years, many proprietors would rather remove natural beauty and heat of wood having a less glossy mineral oil finish. Maintaining an oiled surface, which requires reapplication every 4 to 6 days, is much more of the commitment than most busy home owners are prepared to make. But, just like porcelain tile, you will find secondary surfaces where using wood is sensible, like a baker’s prep area, a dining counter or perhaps a food cutting up block. Actually, wood may be the only counter top material suggested for cutting, slicing and cutting up.