How To Pick The Right Countertop For Your Kitchens

The kitchen is the hub of activity in your home, so the materials you select for this space require careful consideration.  Most families cook, eat, socialize, and entertain in the kitchen, so it is an ideal opportunity to showcase your home style.  Kitchens are also one of the more heavily trafficked areas in the home, and must be designed to withstand a lot of wear and tear.

Kitchen countertops are no exception!  The countertop covers a large surface area that typically includes areas for food preparation, dining, and more.  It must last many years, all while withstanding a constant onslaught of grease, liquids, food, sharp and heavy objects, and heat.

This may sound like a tall order but there are many countertop materials and styles in a wide range of budget options.  How do you select the perfect countertop for your kitchen remodeling project? 

Here is our handy guide to get you started.

What do I need?

Countertops significantly affect the style of your room, but do not select this product based on looks alone.  Assess your lifestyle and requirements over the anticipated lifespan of the kitchen renovation.  Remodeling after your kids left for college may lead to different options than if you have young children.  For example, some materials, while beautiful, are harder to maintain or more prone to stains. 

Do you cook or bake often?  Do you entertain frequently?  Everyone’s family and home is different.  Consider your requirements carefully and research the materials available.  Working with an experienced kitchen design expert will help you better understand the ideal product choices to meet your family’s specific needs.

What do I like?

With so many materials, patterns, textures, and colors available, the choices can be overwhelming.  You can also change the look by varying thickness and edge, or add waterfall ends like the design below left.  Select a material designed to blend in with the style and colors of your kitchen cabinets, or opt for a material that stands out in a contrasting color, like the design below right.  Consider your home style and color scheme and how the countertop can help you achieve the look you want.

How much can I spend?

The countertop is one of the more expensive kitchen product choices, depending on the surface area and material you select.  Understand your available budget when reviewing countertop options.  You may fall in love with the most expensive material, but discover it is too expensive.  Find a suitable alternative that meets most of your requirements, or fund the more expensive countertop but forego something else to stay within budget.  Thankfully there are many options available that offer durability and a range of styles, so you will find one that works for you!

Which material is best for me?

There are more countertop materials than ever before, each with their own pros and cons.  Some are more durable, easier to clean and maintain, more eco-friendly, or more heat-resistant.  Natural materials come with their own individual color and pattern variations, while others are man-made to give a particular color or appearance. 

Here are some of the options available:

Granite: one of the most popular choices, available in a range of shades, unique in appearance.

Other natural stone, such as marble or soapstone: offers a distinct look but requires more careful maintenance than granite.  Marble is ideal for pastry so if you are an avid baker consider including marble even in one section as a baking station.

Engineered stone: made primarily of quartz, in a wider range of colors, very durable and easy to maintain.

Solid surface: a seamless look but can be prone to scratches.

Concrete: increasingly popular and available in a range of finishes and colors.

Wood: easy to clean but prone to water damage. Ideal for a section of countertop for chopping food.

Laminate: more affordable and available in a range of colors and designs, but very sensitive to heat.

So much more: recycled materials, stainless steel, glass, tile, and more!

Whatever your requirements, style, and budget, there is a countertop material (or possibly more than one if you want to mix and match) to meet your needs.  Our kitchen design gallery offers some excellent examples, or contact us to discuss the best countertop option for your kitchen renovation.