KITCHEN

Material Choices For Kitchen Countertops - Pros and Cons

CARLI BROOKE ~ SEPTEMBER 2017

Choosing a countertop material may be a bit tricky if the parameters you consider for countertop are numerous. Do you consider solidity and durability? Or, do you need to adjust the countertop to the kitchen interior style? Or, do you have a limited budget but must be in accordance with kitchen style that you design? And there are still many considerations and questions when deciding to use certain materials for your countertop.

Here are some list of countertop materials that available in market, from natural materials to synthetic materials, from cheap to expensive price. Some materials offer a combination of durability, functionality, and low prices. And of course, has a stylish look that provide luxury impression.

MARBLE

Comes with a wide range of variations and styles, making it flexible to apply with a wide range of kitchen interior styles. With a smooth surface, scratch resistant and heat resistant, the marble has good durability. The marble price range is 50-110 USD per square foot. Relatively expensive, the use of marble is usually not for countertop in the whole kitchen. Marble also has pores, so be wary of coffee or alcohol spills as it may leave stains. Some of the latest output sealers can prevent stain from spillage. You need periodic resealing to prevent stains, as recommended by the manufacturer.

Pros: Color and style vary. Looks luxurious. Smooth surface. Strong, not easily scratched or bent. Heat resistant. Waterproof.

Cons: Porous. Can be scratched and stained caused by acids. Coat the surface with sealers periodically to prevent stains. Relatively Expensive.

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GRANITE

The most popular countertop material. Contribute to beauty even in a simple kitchen. This natural material will not be the same every kind, the natural process forms its own beauty. Granite is a material that is durable, unique, scratch resistant, heat resistant, resistant to staining. Color and style also varied, so it is flexible to rustic kitchen style to minimalist or contemporary style. Because of the natural material, every square foot is priced from 40-110 USD, sometimes for certain types of granite can reach 150-250 USD per foot. Caution: certain types of granite have more pores, so it needs coated sealer to prevent stones from absorbing stains. Granite may rupture due to undue excessive pressure during transport or during installation.

Pros: Variety of colors and patterns. Durable and strong. Heat resistant as well as resistant to water corrosion. Scratch resistant and resistant to staining. Easy to clean.

Cons: Expensive, certain types of granite cost twice as much. Maintenance costs are high, since granite needs regular rearrangements. May break due to excessive pressure during transport or installation. Certain types of granite need sealing due to more pores.

BUTCHER BLOCK

Wooden pattern suitable to complement the rustic kitchen style, industrial, minimalist or contemporary style. Hardwoods such as maple or oak are most commonly used for countertop, they also have artistic grain. The butcher block needs to be coated to be stain resistant, waterproof and water resistant. Although coated with water, wood countertops are not recommended to be installed in the sink area. High humidity and frequent exposure to water can lead to discoloration. Hardwoods may be very durable but are not resistant to damage due to poor maintenance. Caution: the block butcher used as a cutting or food preparation base should be separate from the others. Aim for easy replacement if needed, in addition, to localize the damage. Butcher block price range 50-100 USD per square foot.

Pros: Beautiful view. Flexible for all styles of kitchen interior. Durable and heat resistant. Relatively soft for glassware. Can be recycled.

Cons: Need care for waterproof, stain resistant. Maintenance with oiling on scratches or periodic re-sealing according to the manufacturer's instructions.

CONCRETE

Concrete is custom made, so the quality can be vary. Concrete is very strong, practically there are indestructible. However, the concrete has a pore, has a tendency to porous so it can cause stains. Then it needs sealing to anticipate it. Concrete is made of a mixture of mortar and sand. Sometimes added pigments for art and visual purposes. Concrete countertop has a bit expensive price tag, range from 70-130 USD per square foot. Not everyone likes concrete. But if you like character and patina, then concrete is a good choice.

Pros: Tough, strong, durable and heat resistant. Can be customized. Can be integrated with sink or backsplash. The latest treatment can reduce crack and porosity. The latest technology can be more decorative finishing.

Cons: Because porous it is easy to corrosion and stained. Heavy and difficult to install without professional help. Can absorb and hold humidity.

LAMINATE

Laminate countertop is a budget-friendly countertop option. It has a price range of 10-40 USD square foot, plus installation, then laminate countertop is the cheapest price range. With a variety of hues and colors it is enough to make your kitchen keep stylish. Laminate countertop is also waterproof, stain resistant, and easy to clean. You simply wipe it with a damp cloth then dried with a dry cloth. However, they can not stand to be used for years. If there is damage, it is very difficult or even irreparable. With a cheap price then replacing with a new one is more profitable than repairing.

Pros: The cheapest price. The choice of hues and colors varies. Good quality laminates are resistant to heat, stains and water. Treatment is cheap and easy to clean.

Cons: Compared to natural stone, laminate is not durable with decades of use or heavy duty. Not resistant to scratches and direct cuts. Scratches and chips can hardly be fixed.

ENGINEERED STONE (QUARTZ)

This is granite competitor. With durability and appearance resembling natural stone as well as a bit of care, the engineered stone is an option for frequent kitchen countertop. Engineered stone 90% consists of quartz particles. Other compositions are resins, polymers, and pigments for dyes. Quartz is a nonporous material, so no need to seal. However, engineered stone is no heat tolerant. You can not leave a hot pot over an engineered stone, because heat will react with a resin that will leave a burn mark. Engineered stone is priced at 50-100 USD per square foot.

Pros: Very durable. Patterns and colors are available with a variety options. More flexible and more tolerant to pressure than granite, resulting in crack resistance. Available in glossy and matte finish. Nonporous, which means resistant to stains due to corrosion and does not need sealing. Treatment is cheap and easy to clean.

Cons: Not heat resistant, because the resin content will react with heat. Have seams. Quartz countertop is quite heavy, it requires professional help.

GLASS

Glass countertop can make your kitchen look artistic and luxurious. Its transparent nature, you can create a glass buffer with the pattern or art of sand for example. They can be made with new materials or recycled, an attractive alternative to environmentally friendly activists. Glass countertop also has deficiencies such as other glass materials, easy to crack or break. Glass countertop damage is not possible to repair, replacing it is the only option. With a budget range of 60-120 USD per square foot, plus a unique island or cabinet design, then you will have a unique and exciting kitchen.

Pros: With a little creativity, it can be visually appealing. Easy to clean with low maintenance. Resistant to heat and scratches. And has no pores. Eco-friendly alternative materials.

Cons: Can crack or break. Shows fingerprints. No treatment and periodic cleaning can leave stains due to water marks.

STAINLESS STEEL

Do you consider the industrial style for your kitchen? Stainless steel countertop is the right choice. Widely used for commercial settings with heavy, durable, heat-resistant, and easy-to-clean tasks. At the same time, without pores surfaces makes stainless steel material resistant to stains and prevent storing bacteria. However, stainless steel is easily scratched and easily dents if exposed to hard impact or strong pressure. With a price of 80-150 USD per square foot and its advantages, stainless steel countertop can be a lucrative investment.

Pros: Friendly to the environment, because it can be recycled. Heavy duty, commonly used for commercial purposes. Durable and heat resistant. Stain resistant and easy to clean. Stainless and corrosion resistance makes maintenance relatively low.

Cons: Easy to stain due to fingerprints. Easily scratched. Easily dented due to impact and strong pressure.

SOAPSTONE

Soapstone is included in the natural rock that must be excavated to get it. With a natural color of gray (sometimes darker depending on age) and shades of matte, soapstone is also quite soft and smooth. They have no pores, so are resistant to stains and corrosion. They are also heat resistant and scratch resistant. If there are scratches, it will be easily removed with sandpaper. The price of soapstone is in the range of 80-150 USD per square foot.

Pros: It has no pores, so it is resistant to acids, stains, and water. Durable and heat resistant. Treatment is relatively easy and cheap.

Cons: Easily scratched, but easily rubbed with sandpaper. Limited color variations (only gray). Need regular maintenance with mineral oil applications.

SYNTHETIC SOLID SURFACES

Synthetic solid surfaces are made from man-made materials, so they have a high environmental impact. Synthetic solid surfaces usually consist of acrylic materials, polyester resins, and pigments for color. They call it solid surfaces, meaning having a hard surface, not porous, smooth, and relatively resistant to stains. With a choice of customizable colors and styles, it is easily adjusted to the theme and style of the kitchen interior. However, the synthetic solid surface is not resistant to heat, easily dented, and can be scratched. They are easy to repair and easy to clean. With a price range of 50-150 USD per square foot, this customizable and easily customizable material is relatively affordable.

Pros: The choice of colors and patterns varies, and can be customized. Not porous and relatively resistant to corrosion and stains. Easy to clean and repairable. Powerful, so easy to integrate with sinks and backsplash.

Cons: Vulnerable to heat and can cause scars. Can be scratched and dented. Not environmentally friendly because it is not from natural material.

CERAMIC TILES

Add ceramic tiles as material countertop at affordable prices. Price range starts from 4 USD per square foot, and is more expensive for special tiles. Ceramic tiles have a hard surface, they are also durable, easy to clean and stain resistant. They are also easily adjusted to a certain shape and size, as well as easily integrated with the backsplash. In general, tiles make the surface of the table uneven. Over time, grout can be tarnished and loose. If desired, you can re-grout and replace broken tiles.

Pros: Variety and color vary. Durable, heat resistant, and resistant to moisture. Handy to install and easy to clean.

Cons: Uneven surface. Tiles can be broken and scratched, and grout can be cracked, broken and detached. However, broken tiles and broken grouts can be repaired.

LAVA STONE

With a price range of 230+ USD per square foot, the material derived from volcanic lava rock is expensive. With beautiful finishing and many color choices, the lava stone has a high aesthetic value for your kitchen. There are two finishing options, glossy finish and matte finish. This material is non-porous, resistant to heat or cold, also resistant to scratches and stains. Since lava stone is a relatively new material, sometimes there is a waiting list. And also, in terms of age has not been tested.

Pros: Durable, scratch resistant, heat and cold resistant. Smooth surface, not porous, and stain resistant.

Cons: New material, age not yet tested. Very expensive and there is a waiting list due to limited production.

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PAPER-BASED COMPOSITE

Made from recycled paper and other fibers incorporated by plastic resins. Viewed from environmental impact, this product can not be recycled, but can be reprogrammed for the same usage. Price range 45-80 USD per square foot.

Pros: Durable and heat resistant. Has a higher hardness rate than wood. Easy to install and lighter than natural stone.

Cons: Requires sealant and does not match abrasive cleaners. Somewhat stained and can be scratched, and can darken over time.

BAMBOO

Bamboo countertop made of bamboo pieces that are put together and designed to form a certain pattern. To get a certain thickness then bamboo arranged in layers, but can be overcome with a unique edge design. This material is environmentally friendly, which has a wood-like color. Not recommended for use in the sink area, as moisture may cause a curve. The price is around 40-90 USD per square foot.

Pros: Environmentally friendly. Stain resistant and does not change color from time to time.

Cons: Requires regular maintenance. Some need mineral oil for treatment. Limited style and shades.

Labeled in: Kitchen CountertopCountertop

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