Countertops are essential to the look of any kitchen and they can really impact the feel and style. Below are some possible options for kitchen countertops:
Butcher Block – countertops comprised of a wooden block that has a warm, natural appearance. It is easy to sand down any scratches but requires frequent disinfecting as wood can harbor bacteria easily. Butcher Block’s also require oiling to fill in scratches and protect the surface.
Concrete – just as it sounds, concrete is being used as a countertop material to bring a touch of industrialism/ modernism to a kitchen. Concrete can be cast in any shape imaginable and stands up well to heavy use. Unfortunately, since concrete is very porous, it can stain easily unless sealed frequently. It also requires a very sturdy cabinet for support and is susceptible to small cracks due to settling.
Granite – a natural stone that comes in a variety of colors, most commonly seen in darker and shades of beige. Granite can also come in a polished or honed/ leather finish. Very durable against heat, knife nicks, and water but must be sealed every so often to avoid staining. It is also very heavy and requires a sturdy cabinet frame for support.
Marble – a natural stone commonly in the white and gray-tones with veining. Marble stands up well to heat which is why it is a common choice for baking/ pantry stations and even in ice cream shops. It is very susceptible to staining, even after sealing.
Quartz – a man-made material that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. New designs are also coming out that mimic the look of veining seen in natural stones. Quartz requires virtually no maintenance but can be more expensive than other options.
Soapstone – a natural stone that generally starts out light to medium gray and darkens with time. Soapstone requires polishing to keep it from cracking over time. It is also not as durable as other types of stones to knife scratches and nicks. It may also be more difficult to find slabs as it is not carried in many granite yards.
Stainless Steel – counter tops made form stainless steel are generally custom made to fit a kitchen. The steel is extremely durable, resistant to heat and bacteria and brings a industrial and modern feel to the kitchen. Some of the downsides include denting the steel, noise (especially if pots and pans hit the steel surface), and it can be affected by some chemicals. The price point for steel counter tops is also a large number to swallow.
Tile – ceramic and porcelain tile has been used for counter tops for years because of its durability and also ease of replacement if there is a chip in a tile. While tile isn’t common these days in a typical kitchen, it is still seen in outdoor or summer kitchens.