One of the most discussed and important choices in Kitchen Design is the choice of selecting the right Counter Top. From a Design Point we have many Products to choose from. In many cases it is also a Budget as well as a functionality Question. I will list here some of the most common Counter Top Choices with my own Pro/Cons issues.
Granite Counter Tops
Granite as a Counter Top is of course in most Kitchens the Material of Choice. It comes in a myriad of Colors from all over the World. Granite is composed of minerals such as quartz, feldspar and mica therefore making it durable and highly scratch resistant.
Pros: many colors to choose from, adds value to Kitchen, holds up great to heat, a natural product; Granite has a more custom and unique look;
Cons: it requires maintenance, which means periodic sealing; as with any natural product color range can vary greatly; depending on the stone it can get quite expensive;
Marble Counter Tops
Marble is not often seen in Kitchen as it is more porous than Granite and a softer material. In some Kitchens it is used in the Baking Area. Like wise as with Granite there is a large choice of colors out there.
Pros:Great colors available and to choose from, adds value to Kitchen, holds up great to heat, a natural product;
Cons: it requires regular maintenance like Granite which means sealing; it is a softer product and I personally would not recommend it in the Kitchen as a Counter Top, even though I love it for a Bathroom or Powder Room Counter Top; as with any natural product color range can vary greatly; depending on the Stone selected it can get quite expensive;
Engineered Stone Counter Tops
This is the new Kid on the Market and has been quite successful in the use as a Counter Top in the Kitchen. Available Brands are DuPont Zodiaq, Cambria Quartz and Silestone;
Pros:wide range of colors available and to choose from, gives the look of a natural Stone Counter Top, holds up to heat; easier to take care than Granite or Marble; stain resistant; holds up quite well to heat too; Color ranges do not vary that much than with Granite and Marble, therefore what you see on the sample material is what you get;
Cons:some colors or finishes are equal price like a Marble and Granite Surface;
Solid Surface Material can be cut, formed, inlayed, carved, routed and thermo formed to create unlimited designs and shapes. The vast color choices in combination with the flexibility of solid surfacing material make design options endless. Solid Surfacing material is also available for sinks of all different shapes and sizes are also available to create seamless-looking counter tops;
Pros:It is non-porous and resists staining because liquids can’t penetrate. Scratches, nicks and cuts can easily be removed with ordinary abrasive cleaners; easy to clean and does not require any sealers;
Cons:scratches easier than some of the previous mentioned Counter Top Materials; not heat resistant; can be moderately expensive too;
Ceramic Tile for a Counter Top is used, as it is mostly inexpensive, durable and easy to clean. Available in many Colors and Qualities. Even though a Counter Top Tile installation requires some basic knowledge it can be done by resourceful homeowners;
Pros:wide range of colors, textures and design possibilities; it can take hot pans;
Cons:depending on the tile the surface can be uneven; it can crack or chip easy; if not done professionally with the correct Materials, Grout lines can become stained after a while;
Laminated Counter Tops have been around already for a long Time; know for the many color variation and material imitations, the choices of materials never end. It is one of the cheapest ways of using it for a Counter Top.
Pros:a great choice for budget Projects; easy to maintain; lots of colors and textures;
Cons:seams to show; one will have a hard time to repair scratches or chips; when using a more sophisticated front edge or design it can get pricey too;
Concrete Counter Top
Concrete for the Kitchen, its not used only for the foundation of your house; It is new it is different. Concrete Counter Tops are made to order and the Fabricator adds the Pigments before it is poured into custom molds. Concrete is extremely durable and with proper care it can last a lifetime.
Pros:available in many colors and shapes; it looks unusual in Kitchens as with any new product;
Cons:hot pans may be set down for a short time, but don’t leave it there for a long time; Even though it is sealed, spills should be cleaned up soon; Cracks and Chips can be repaired by a combination of a Concrete Filler, Sealer and Sanding.
Wood or Butcher Block
Hard Maple, Red Oak, and Teak are the recommended hardwoods for counter tops. It does add a beautiful warm look and is also available in a wide range of colors and finishes. It is warm and inviting, a completely different material and appearance compared to a Stone Counter Top.
Pros:can be sanded and re-sealed;
Cons:it can be damaged by water and stains; scratches and cuts must be sealed; higher maintenance than other counter top products
Stainless Steel Counter Tops
Mostly used in the commercial Environment, it slowly finds its way into today’s residential Kitchens. It is a practical Counter Top as it is impervious to water, durable, easy to maintain, and can handle heat. One should always try to select a brushed stainless steel surface as it hides scratches and smudges (“wears”) better than a highly polished one.
Stainless Steel Counter Tops are a great complement to stainless steel Appliance Fronts and giving you a professional look.
Pros:easy to clean with non abrasive cleaners; takes hot pans; does not stain;
Cons:scratches and dents; on the expensive side;