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Are you considering installing a new kitchen countertop? If you’re remodeling your kitchen and are looking for a countertop material comparison– look no further! After helping thousands of homeowners with their kitchen remodeling projects in Newton, MA, we’ve discovered which materials make the most durable countertops, the most cost-effective, and the most popular.
In this article we’ll answer some of the top FAQ when it comes to comparing countertops:
The most durable countertop materials for homeowners with a high-traffic kitchen are quartz and granite. Quartz and granite are both hard stones that are scratch resistant and depending on your preferences for heat and stains one of these stones will make a countertop that will last you a lifetime! Quartz is lighter, stain resistant, and doesn’t require regular maintenance, but you shouldn’t place hot items directly on the surface of the stone. Granite is heavy, a natural stone with natural beauty, highly desired by homebuyers, scratch resistant, heat resistant, but requires annual sealing to keep it in good condition.
Despite quartz’s higher upfront cost, it’s the most cost-effective material for your kitchen countertops because:
With all of these benefits, Quartz can get you a higher return on your investment than you will with other countertop materials making this the most cost-effective option for your next kitchen remodel.
The most popular countertop material in 2022 is granite. As a luxury countertop material granite is top-of-the-line quality and has beautiful natural designs that elevate any space it is installed in. Granite comes in a variety of different styles and colors that can fit any homeowner’s tastes. Granite will last you a lifetime, and despite annual maintenance, homeowners love their granite countertops, and so do homebuyers– granite countertops offer a higher return on your investment.
Granite vs. Quartz vs. Marble, we’ll compare 7 of the most popular countertop materials below, to help you decide which one will work best in your kitchen.
$$$ | (100+ years)
Quartz countertops deliver a high-class look without the stress of being high maintenance. Whether you’re going for simplistic and elegant, or dark and modern, you’ll definitely be able to find a color and design that fits your style. Quartz is an engineered stone, so it can be manufactured to look however you’d like it to, leaving you with limitless options when it comes to design. Interested in black stone, or a marble imitation? Quartz is a great option to consider.
Quartz countertops are considered nearly indestructible for regular kitchen use. Able to withstand knife cuts and spill stains with ease, quartz is great for high-traffic kitchens or for homes with young children! As an engineered stone, quartz countertops are made by grinding up the natural stone quartz and combining it with other synthetic materials like resin. The resin is used to bind the quartz together, making it harder and more durable, however– it’s heat sensitive and can melt if a hot pot or pan was placed directly on the countertop material.
$$$ | (100+ years)
Granite is a desired countertop material because of, not only its natural beauty and unique designs, but it’s one of the hardest natural stones available, making it a great option for durable countertops that can withstand the heat from a pan coming off of the stove, and scratches from the blade of a knife. However, despite being able to withstand heat and scratches– a bottle of wine hitting the corner of the countertop could chip the stone. There are many advantages and disadvantages to installing granite in your kitchen– as a high-end countertop material, having granite countertops can actually increase the value of your home, which offsets the annual maintenance expenses that go into caring for the natural stone. As a porous stone, granite needs to be sealed regularly to prevent oil from seeping into the counter and to protect your granite from stains. Overall, granite is a great choice for kitchen countertops!
$$$ | (50+ years)
If you’ve ever wanted your countertops to look like Michelangelo’s sculpture “David” then you’re in luck– marble is a timeless, high-end natural stone that gives any home a classic luxury look. However, marble is considerably softer and more porous than other materials which requires more maintenance than other options– like quartz (which is non-porous). Marble needs to be sealed 1-2 times a year to help prevent scratches and stains. Without proper sealant, the marble is vulnerable to staining agents like wine. Marble best serves lower traffic kitchens, or as an accent counter that can elevate your kitchen without risking damaging your expensive marble countertops.
$$-$$$ | (20 – 50 years)
Not as common as other naturally occurring stone countertop materials, soapstone is one of the most functional countertop materials that you could add to your home. Soapstone can range in shades running from a creamy white to dark gray with subtle or considerable veining so there are options that can suit any homeowner’s style. The rustic and dark appearance of soapstone can add a classic charm to your kitchen due to the antique “patina” that develops over time. A patina is a gloss or sheen that develops on the surface resulting from age or polishing, and it makes the soapstone appear darker. Soapstone has many benefits as a functional kitchen countertop material. It’s heat resistant, so if you find yourself constantly putting hot pans on your kitchen countertops then this would be an ideal material for you. It is also a non-porous stone and doesn’t need to be sealed regularly like marble or granite making it resistant to any spills– including wine and acidic liquids! However, soapstone is also considerably softer than granite, which has pros and cons. The downside is that it’s prone to scratches, but those scratches can easily be sanded out! As a softer stone, it’s also less likely to crack, which is great for anybody who may be accident-prone!
$$ | (20 years)
While concrete counters don’t sound particularly glamorous, they are extremely durable and considered a premium upgrade that can be a very stylish addition to any kitchen. Due to the customizability of concrete, it can be made to fit any style from rustic farmhouse to industrial to modern contemporary. With concrete counters, you have the ability to add color, change the shape, or even include inlaid materials like glass or metal to create a design or pattern on the surface. However, similar to marble and granite, concrete countertops are very porous and should be sealed regularly to help protect them from scratches, stains, and bacteria. Even after sealing, concrete is still at risk of staining from wine, coffee, oil, or other acidic foods because it is so porous. Another interesting characteristic of concrete is that over the years it will develop a patina, just like soapstone, so it will gradually develop a darker color. For homeowners who desire a low-maintenance countertop option, concrete would not be an ideal fit for your project; but homeowners who are willing to put in the time and effort to properly take care of them can fall in love with the limitless possibilities that concrete counters have to offer! If you’re seriously considering concrete countertops for your kitchen remodel it would be important to note that it can be difficult to find a reputable contractor to install the counters due to the specialized nature of concrete countertops.
BUTCHER’S BLOCK COUNTERTOPS
$$ | (10-30 years)
Real wood countertops, or butcher blocks, are a classic material that adds warmth and a natural atmosphere to your kitchen. While they may look beautiful, they do have significant drawbacks and aren’t for homeowners who want a low-maintenance countertop. As a soft material, wood can easily scratch, so knives shouldn’t be used on a wooden surface unless you prefer the ‘used’ look. Cracks are also possible if the wood dries out too much, luckily, since it’s wood these things can most likely be sanded out before they become too big of a problem. However, stains are much harder to sand out. Standing water will create discoloration and leave stains on your countertops which makes this a less than ideal material for around a kitchen sink. With all the maintenance that comes with wooden countertops, they aren’t worth the price unless you love and appreciate the look of wood in your kitchen. We’d recommend if you really want a wooden countertop it could serve your kitchen better on an island or somewhere there isn’t a lot of traffic or prep work being done.
$ | (20 – 30 years)
Perhaps the most budget-friendly option, laminate has changed a lot over the years since its rise to popularity in the 50s. Laminate is available in any color, style, or pattern that you could dream of– even in a faux-marble pattern. However, laminate is not considered a high-end material. If you’re looking for something that will add value to your home, laminate is not a good option– in fact, homebuyers have even declared that they are less likely to purchase a home with laminate countertops. There are benefits to laminate though– if you want a material that doesn’t require regular maintenance and is easy to clean then laminate is a great choice for those who aren’t looking to spend an arm and a leg on a countertop.
As you can see, there are a lot of options to choose from for your kitchen counters (even more than this list). If you’re exploring a kitchen remodel or thinking about changing out your countertops, contact our remodeling consultants to discuss which countertop material works best for you.