Kitchen Countertop Materials

With all the options available on the market it is important to know the difference between countertop options available. Although natural stone countertops usually cost more, it is important to consider its benefits. Before committing to a material, it is also important to know what each offers in terms of durability and ease of maintenance.
A countertop must be able to withstand constant use while maintaining its good looks. A material that looks good but is difficult to maintain might not worth the investment.
Choosing countertop material, consider the following:

  • durability
  • ease of cleaning
  • heat resistance
  • stain resistance
  • scratch resistance
  • visual appeal
  • ease of repair
  • cost
  • value added & depreciation

Of course each countertop material has its pros and cons so it is important to know which features are important to you.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of natural and engineered stone countertops including Granite, Marble and Quartz as well as some other popular choices such as Laminate and Wood.

Marble is a luxurious beautiful stone available in a variety of colours and patterns.
Advantages

  • water and heat resistant
  • naturally beautiful and elegant
  • adds value to your home
  • unique patterns

Disadvantages

  • expensive
  • soft, prone to scratching and staining
  • requires sealing

Granite is elegant natural stone available in a variety of colours.
Advantages

  • water and heat resistant
  • durable
  • cleans easily
  • aesthetically pleasing and functional
  • adds value to your home
  • unique patters

Disadvantages

  • expensive
  • requires sealing

Quartz also referred to as engineered stone, made from approximately 93% natural quartz and 7% resin pigments and binders
Advantages

  • mold, mildew, heat, crack and scratch resistant
  • very strong and durable
  • poreless, highly stain resistant
  • does not need to be sealed
  • extremely hygienic
  • wide variety of colours and patterns including natural granite and marble looking options
  • Eco-friendly options available

Disadvantages

  • cost might be high
  • can crack under extremely high temperatures (thermal shock)

Laminate Is very popular among all countertop materials. It is made of plywood, chipboard or medium-density fiberboard topped by thin plastic laminate.
Advantages

  • solid, durable material
  • doesn’t need to be sealed
  • wide range of colours, textures and patterns available
  • cleans easily with soap and water
  • water resistant
  • highly stain resistant
  • inexpensive

Disadvantages

  • seams are very visable
  • can chip or scratch
  • cannot be used as a chopping surface
  • non-resistant to heat
  • difficult or impossible to repair

Solid surface are made of cast plastics such as polyester, acrylic and mineral fillers.
Advantages

  • highly resistant to permanent damage
  • easy to repair
  • virtually seamless
  • wide variety of colours
  • cleans easily with soap and water
  • durable
  • non-porous
  • highly stain-, mold-, mildew- and bacteria-resistant

Disadvantages

  • expensive
  • have artificial look and feel
  • not heat resistant
  • easy to scratch

Wood or butcher block
Advantages

  • excellent chopping surface
  • easy on glassware and china
  • resistant to moderate heat
  • easily cleaned

Disadvantages

  • avoid using near sink, moisture will blacken surface
  • may contract in dry conditions
  • can scratch and scorch
  • wet metal kitchen equipment left on surface will leave rust stains

Stainless steel

Advantages

  • waterproof, heat resistant
  • durable
  • easy to clean
  • extremely hygienic

Disadvantages

  • noisy and cold
  • fabrication is expensive
  • difficult to maintain shine and keep free of marks

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