Which of today’s best-selling countertop materials to choose for your new home? Here’s a short buyer’s guide.
Countertops have a lot to do with how pleasant your kitchen is to use and how easy it is to maintain. They also play a big part in the first impression the space makes on visitors. It’s worth taking the time to choose the countertop materials that work best for you. Homeowners have more choices today than ever, but let’s consider the four most popular materials: laminate, solid surfacing, granite and quartz. Each has strengths and weaknesses.
Laminate comes in several quality grades. Although most people may think first of the inexpensive grades common in rental units and entry-level homes, there are high-quality, preformed laminate counters with three times the durability and no edge seams. One can choose from a variety of colors and patterns, including some that mimic the look of stone. On the downside, even these better products can scratch and burn under some circumstances–damage that’s difficult or impossible to repair.
Solid surfacing has lost market share in kitchens but remains a top choice for bathroom vanities. Made from a blend of acrylic and polyester, solid surfacing can cost three times more than basic laminate, but it looks more stylish and doesn’t have any surface or edge seams. The material is also nonporous, so it’s less likely to stain than laminate.
Granite has been hugely popular in custom homes for years. That’s no surprise, given this natural material’s beautiful flowing patterns and mottling, as well as each slab’s unique look. Most homeowners enjoy visiting the granite supplier and choosing the specific slab they want their countertop made from. Costs for granite are slightly more than for solid surfacing.
Granite stands up well to heat and isn’t easily scratched, but its hardness means that ceramic dishes or cups can easily chip or break when dropped or bumped against the surface. Raw granite can also be stained by hot grease, so it needs to be sealed during fabrication and resealed at intervals recommended by the fabricator. Its heavy weight means it may not be the best choice for cabinets with particleboard frames.
Quartz has recently passed granite in popularity among custom homeowners, even though it costs 10 to 20 percent more. Made from a blend of crushed stone and resin, this material is harder than granite and impervious to stains, including those from cooking oil, wine and coffee. Quartz has a rich, attractive finish and a regular surface pattern.
These descriptions are just an introduction to today’s most popular countertop materials. Contact us today to discuss which countertop material is right for your dream home.