Today, we have so many options for counter surfaces. See general information on some of the available materials below, but discuss your budget and maintenance requirements with your designer, they will be a valuable resource as you make your decisions.
Pros: A traditional furniture and cabinet material, wood also makes an attractive countertop. Butcher block is a good surface for chopping since nicks, scratches and stains can be sanded out.
Cons: Wood is also prone to scratching, denting, stains, and standing water damage; it needs periodic application of mineral oil or other finish to maintain its good looks.
Pros: Laminates are easy to clean, grease and stain resistant, and are one of the most economical options available; a wide variety of colors, finishes, and edge treatments offer hundreds of options.
Cons: However, laminates are not heat proof and if chipped or scratched, the surface is difficult to repair, this surface should be used only with self-rimming sinks.
Pros: Granite countertops and other natural quarried stones can be used in the kitchen. Many types are heat and scratch resistant and a wide variety of colors and patterns are available. Under mounted sinks can be used. Finishes can be polished or textured.
Cons: Natural quarried products have widely varying durability and care requirements. Patterns and colors are not predictable. They will vary from slab to slab or even within the same slab. Fabrication and installation are labor intensive, and the seams may be conspicuous. Typically a mid to high price point.
Plastic resin solid surfaces:
Pros: Corian by DuPont is probably the best-known brand of man-made solid surface. This material is non-porous, easy to clean and repair, and consistent in color from piece to piece. It requires no sealing and seams are nearly invisible. Completely integrated sinks without caulk joints are available. Typically a mid-range price point.
Cons: This product is vulnerable to heat and UV fading. It is soft, so it cannot be polished to a high shine. Scratches will show white.
Pros: This material enjoys the best of both granite and plastic resin solid surface. It is scratch resistant, requires no sealing, and as a manufactured product is very consistent in color and pattern.
Cons: However, seams will be noticeable. As quartz has increased in popularity, many inexpensive and often inferior quartz products have entered the market. Typically a mid to high price point. Buyers should be careful when choosing quartz with a price that seems too good to be true. Inferior products may not have the stain resistance, durability, and beauty of better made products.
Pros: Tile stands up well to heat and water and has an unlimited combination of sizes, colors, and patterns.
Cons: Some tile may give a slightly uneven surface, and some grout is difficult to keep clean.
Pros: Whether cast in place or installed as slabs, concrete mixtures can be tinted or the surfaces can be dyed or have inlaid textures. It is heat resistant, and integrated sinks are possible with this material.
Cons: Concrete requires frequent sealing to resist staining and may develop small cracks with age. Quality and performance depend heavily on the experience of the fabricator.
Pros: Tempered and laminated glass can be used for light use countertops. Dramatic lighting effects can be achieved. Many textures are available. It is easy to clean and disinfect.
Cons: Glass tops will show fingerprints and even safety glass could break. Glass can also scratch. Special brackets and adhesives will be required and any cabinets will need a finished top underneath clear glass. Typically a higher end price point.
Pros: Sheet metal such as stainless or copper can be used for countertops. Many embossed or brushed textures are available. It is easy to clean and disinfect.
Cons: Metal tops will show fingerprints and may streak when cleaning, some like copper may require polishing to counteract natural patina. Typically a higher end price point.
Whatever configuration and material you choose, make sure it suits you and not just the current trends. We are here to help! A well-chosen surface will provide a gathering spot for your family for years to come.