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Types of Kitchen Countertops
Kitchen countertops are a must for kitchens since they are the central part of it and enable you to work in your kitchen efficiently. Because of this reason, there are so many different options for them as well. Some popular kitchen countertops are Marble, Quartz, Porcelain, Wood (Butcher Block,) Granite, and Solid Surface. Each is different in popularity, price, maintenance, and durability.
1. Granite Countertops
For several years, due to its well-balanced characteristics, granite countertops were the number one for homeowners. Not only is it natural, but it also has a very nice-looking texture. Furthermore, there are different ends to the granite countertops as well.
The granite is green. So, these kitchen countertops are %100 recyclable and can be used afterward. Even though mined, they are not as abundant as quartz or other artificial materials. They are resistant to heat, so you won’t encounter any black spots when you put something hot on top of the granite countertop.
They are one of the most durable countertops on the market. According to the Mohs Scale of Hardness, a test used for measuring the hardness of minerals, they score 7 out of 10. Thanks to this, they are also resistant to scratches as well. Granite kitchen countertops are one of the best choices for seams. If you order a big chunk of granite, the possibility that you encounter seams is very low. However, you can locate 2-3 seams in the granite for smaller ones.
Granite kitchen countertops vary substantially based on the price tags. The overall quality depends on your budget. However, if you don’t have the budget for a high-end granite countertop, you can also choose granite tile countertops.
They require low maintenance. If sealed professionally and adequately, granite doesn’t require further care. However, the sealing process must be done every 1 or 2 years. You can use a non-abrasive solution with cloth or water to clean it.
You’ll need to contact a professional firm to do the installation. The installation process is critical for the granite to attach correctly, and they are cumbersome.
2. Marble Countertops
Marble is one of the most versatile countertops in the market; it has so many different types and can differ substantially in terms of quality. But one thing is known, marble has been the symbol of elegance in history and still is.
A marble countertop adds resale value to your house thanks to being a natural stone. So, if you want to replace your old countertop with something that can add value to your home, it is a good choice. Depending on the quarry’s location, every marble slab is unique and varies in color. So, you won’t have any problem finding the best-looking marble countertop for your kitchen.
The marble itself is heat resistant, as well as granite and quartz. But, for stain protection, it should be sealed. If it is not sealed, marble is a porous material, making it susceptible to stains. One important thing is that honed and polished marble look different, so you should check the type you want.
Marble ages, and it creates a patina over time. If you don’t like patinas, marble can be a bad choice in the long term. However, if you like to want naturalism in your kitchen, a patina might also be the thing you have been looking for. The quality and price tag of every marble differ substantially. You can choose from different marbles, such as Carrara marble, which is less expensive than Calacatta marble. Even though both are from Italy, their characteristics differ noticeably.
3. Quartz Countertops
Quartz is a natural substance, and quartz countertops consist of %90-96 quartz and %6-10 polymer resins and certain pigments. They are as strong as granite countertops, scoring 7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, which means they are tough to crack. Furthermore, you can be confident in their ability to withstand heavy weights.
Quartz countertops are also as stain-resistant as granite countertops. They are non-porous, which means that the bacteria or pores won’t be able to damage your countertop. As a result, they will last longer than their counterparts. But, even though the quartz is resistant to heat, the polymers and the pigments inside it are not. So, they are susceptible to heat damage, and you can encounter white spotting.
Because of the pigments on their formations, the quartz countertops have various colors and models; therefore, you can easily encounter the perfect countertop for your kitchen. Moreover, another con of having quartz countertops is their price. Their cost is generally higher than the standard kitchen countertop types, but natural stones tend to cost higher than usual.
4. Laminate Countertops
Laminate, being a substance of a combination between plastic and paper, is a good choice for kitchen countertops. One of the most crucial characteristics of laminate countertops is their price.
Being an essential factor, they are also DIY friendly, unlike granite or quartz countertops. However, you can use a professional team for installation. But they are way easier to install on your own than the other kitchen countertops. Unlike quartz or granite, they do not require sealing. This means you won’t have to deal with the additional time and money to maintain them after the installation.
Thanks to being manufactured, you can choose many different styles for your laminate countertops. That’s one of the reasons why laminate countertop is still used in some high-end kitchens. Moreover, they are one of the cheapest options in the market. So, if you want to choose a budget-friendly countertop, laminate is a strong candidate. But, unlike quartz or granite countertops, they will not add any resale value to your home. So, if you are aiming to raise the value of your home, there are better choices than this one.
One of the downsides of having laminate countertops is that they are susceptible to burns, delamination, and even scratches. This is because of its core materials which are paper and plastic. And once seriously damaged, they are hard to repair because of the foundation. Furthermore, their lifespans are lower than their counterparts. So, if it is damaged, it might be a good idea to replace it than try to fix it. For cleaning, you need soap and water; if you use abrasive cleaners, laminate countertops can be scratched. So, it is advised to use low-abrasive substances for cleaning.
5. Porcelain Countertops
Even though they are natural stones like quartz or granite, porcelain countertops are not as famous. However, they are as durable as them thanks to being manufactured at around 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. However, cracks and chips can still appear if heavy things strike them.
However, there is one little detail about their appearances. Porcelain countertops do not have distinct patterns by nature; these patterns are manufactured only on the surface. So, if they get chipped (a low possibility,) the inside will not have the same patterns. This is also true for the edges; your chosen patterns will not be seen.
For color and design, choices are versatile and can be adjusted to your needs and wants. So you will be fine finding the right porcelain countertop.
They are non-porous, stain and scratch-resistant, UV-light-resistant (they won’t get affected by the sunlight and lose their color,) heat-resistant, and are %100 recyclable. However, while some porcelain countertops require sealing, others do not, so check that property before selecting your desired porcelain kitchen countertop.
Even though they are scratch resistant, if you have ceramic knives, do not use porcelain countertops as cutting boards, as ceramic knives can create scratches. So, using a cutting board is advised to avoid scratches.
They also have limited supply and availability due to the fact that they are less famous than other kitchen countertops. So, finding a good fabricator is hard, and the price range varies substantially. They can be cheaper than quartz and granite but also more expensive than them as well.
6. Butcher Block Countertops (Wood)
Butcher block countertops have unique appearances which cannot be mimicked. These countertops are made from oaks, maples, cherries, walnuts, and many other trees. So you won’t have a problem with the availability of options.
- If you want more exclusive or unique ones for your extraordinary kitchen, bamboo trees, tigerwood or zebrawood, and many other amazing trees are also used.
- In terms of price, butcher block countertops are in the middle section. They are cheaper than natural stones but are more expensive than laminate countertops.
- For longevity, they can last up to 20 years if maintained properly. This puts them at a similar level to granite countertops, which are more expensive than wood countertops.
- They are easy to clean with some details. To get rid of the stains, use a bit of salt and rub the area with a lemon. If you want to disinfect the countertop, you can use vinegar, as it is one of the best disinfectants you can find in your home.
- You can install them on your own with the required tools, like laminate countertops. However, precise cutting and gluing will be required to do the job correctly.
- For designs, these types of kitchen countertops have 4 different options. Edge grain, Face grain, End grain, and Blended grain. The difference is that each uses other wood parts, as shown side.
- Butcher Block countertops do not stain or scratch-resistant.
- The humidity can affect them, resulting in drying out. You will want to clean this countertop quickly to prevent any stains.
- Since they are not hot-resistant, ensure not to put anything hot on them.
7. Corian Countertops
Corian is relatively newer than its counterparts, quartz or granite. It combines several minerals: Quartz, granite, and plastics resins. So, it is a manufactured product which is an advantage compared to other types of countertops.
Corian is unique; therefore, your Corian countertops must be bought or installed by a firm that is certified by DuPont, the creator of Corian. There are more than 100 different colors you can choose for your Corian countertop. So you will easily find the best color for your kitchen. These types of countertops also can be shaped easily, unlike granite or quartz. So, your kitchen shape will not be a problem for choosing Corian for your kitchen countertop.
They are non-porous, so you can be confident that they won’t store any bacteria. For cleaning, they require a similar treatment as the quartz countertops. However, they are not heat-resistant. They can withstand precisely 212°F, not as much as granite or quartz.
They do not stain. Even if the most challenging dirt is used, it can be cleaned. For scratches they are durable, but they can be scratched. However, they also can be easily repaired, and this process is not tiresome.
8. Solid Surface Countertops
Solid surface countertops are for you if you don’t have the budget for natural stones. They are better than laminate at mimicking the stone look and have various types. They combine alumina trihydrate (ATH), resin polyester and acrylic, and pigments. But they are still homogenous. Solid surface countertops look the same from top to bottom. So, your selected color will be maintained in all parts of the countertop.
They are non-porous and used in hospitals’ sinks, showers, and walls. So, they are perfect for people whose immune systems are suppressed. Also, they don’t need to be sealed like natural stones, and their cleaning process is easy.
They are not scratch-resistant. However, the repair process is easy; you need fine sandpaper and can do it yourself. These kitchen countertops are not heat-resistant either. So, try to avoid putting too hot things onto your countertop. You’ll be able to install them yourself if you have the necessary skills and tools. However, even though the installation is more manageable than natural stones, such as quartz or granite, they are relatively hard. And finally, they stand in the middle group section for people who want a similar look to natural stones but at a lower cost.
FAQ About Kitchen Countertops
The best budget-friendly kitchen countertop is laminate, a mix of paper and plastic transformed into a solid surface.
Quartz is the toughest type, scoring 7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.
Laminate countertops are very easy to maintain after installation. They do not require further care and need only daily cleaning with soapy water.
Quartz and Granite come on top in terms of stain resistance because of being natural stones. However, quartz is more stain resistant than granite.
Using them as cutting boards is not advised because butcher block kitchen countertops are not scratch resistant. So, beware of scratches if you use them as cutting boards.
Granite has been the most popular choice for a long time. Also, in terms of quality and overall performance, it is one of the best countertop types.
Granite countertops are one of the most heat-resistant countertops you can find. Granite is a natural stone that requires extreme heat to form. So, you don’t need to worry about spots when you put hot pans onto your granite countertop.