There’s no doubt about it. Kitchen countertops must withstand a lot of use and some occasional abuse. There aren’t a lot of materials that can do that day after day and year after year without showing it.
The good news is that kitchen counters are more durable — and more beautiful — than they have ever been before. Even cost-effective textured laminate now gives modern homeowners years and years of hard use. It’s not your “grandma’s counter,” and is now available in trendy colors and patterns that can be custom fabricated with distinctive edge treatments. It’s a good choice!
But if you’re planning a kitchen renovation, why not consider all your choices?
Between the extremes of “big bucks” and low-budget, there are numerous options. Here’s an overview of what’s out there:
Long a go-to choice for kitchens especially out west, ceramic and porcelain tiles are still used in kitchens, although their popularity has diminished somewhat due to upkeep concerns, particularly grout lines. New stain and mold resistant grouts like Tec Power Grout add to tile’s functionality. If you choose tile of any kind, consider large squares, or even durable floor tiles. Don’t forget to consider attractive tile in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and materials asa for your countertop backsplashes. Options range from tiny mosaics to oversized embossed ceiling panels. Sleek modern to hand painted traditional designs offer distinctive touches to add to the beauty of your new counters.
From butcher block to marine grade teak strips, wood has made a resurgence in modern or traditional kitchens. Less often used as just a cutting surface , wood lends a sense of warmth and tradition, and can be an elegant choice even in a hardworking space.
Stainless counters are hygienic and serviceable, even if they might seem a bit industrial for a residential kitchen. With use, they take on a nice patina, and are a good choice for pro-style kitchens. Another “old” metal enjoying new popularity is copper, prized not only for its color patina, but also for it proven anti-bacterial properties. It can be an inspired choice on an island, perhaps with the addition of a copper bar sink.
Not for the timid, and usually not appropriate for a family kitchen, stained or colored concrete counters might be just the thing for a city loft or a vacation home. Even though eavy use will show some staining and even cracking, concrete is still a unique countertop material.
Granite has represented the kitchen “gold standard” for a couple of decades, and it is still a good choice. Available today at moderate price points as well as expensive custom styles, granite appeals to homeowners for its classic good looks, its seamless upscale appearance and its lasting durability. Quartzite, another type of natural stone is more durable than granite and offers some amazing colors and textures. Marble, bluestone and slate are also used; sandstone, while not usually recommended for kitchen use, can be effective in low-impact areas. New long lasting sealers minimize the worry and maintenance of natural stone counters.
Modern engineered stone countertops combine bits of natural stone with a binding agent to produce a strong, beautiful, non-absorptive counter that will last almost forever. Although most engineered quartz stone is comparable in price to natural stone, its long-term performance can’t be beat. You are almost assured an appropriate option, from bright solid colors to patterns that mimic natural materials. Engineered stone counters are also extremely eco-friendly.
Recycled Materials & New Synthetics
With green concerns assuming an ever-more-important role in kitchen remodeling and homebuilding, be aware of new counter options made from recycled materials. Look for recycled glass, cardboard and even polymer-encased personal mementos (such as a shell collection or old keys) if you want a truly one-of-a-kind kitchen counter.
For additional ideas and advice, why not contact the professional designers at The Kitchen Master. We’ll help your decide on a design direction, and then take you from planning stage to completion with no hassle. Submit a request for free consultation.