If you’re looking to install new countertops in your kitchen, you’re not alone – 95% of homeowners looking to renovate say that “kitchen countertops are their top priority”.
This consumer buying guide covers top 15 countertop options, along with each material’s pros and cons, and the average cost to install.
What it is: You probably already know! Granite is a natural stone countertop material which has been highly prized in the kitchen for many years. It is available in a wide variety of colors and blends well with many different flooring and wall designs.
Granite countertops are becoming more and more common thanks to their increased availability and affordability.
Pros: Because granite is highly sought after and considered beautiful, the countertops will add non-depreciating value to your home. It is non-porous and sanitary, heat-resistant, and easy to clean. It does not get scratched easily.
Cons: Granite is very difficult to remove, and should be considered a “forever” upgrade, because you may have to rip out the entire counter if you get sick of it. It is expensive when compared to other common countertop materials.
It is also labor-intensive because it is so heavy, which means that it may require additional structural support than what your counters already offer. It must be sealed roughly every 10 years or so to prevent staining, and it can crack if hit by a large, heavy object.
2. Quartzite countertops
What it is:
Not to be confused with countertops labeled “quartz” – which are a kind of manmade composite, consisting of about 90% quartz and 10% resin – quartzite is a relatively new solid-stone alternative to granite or engineered quartz countertops.
Quartzite is a naturally occurring rock that starts its life as a kind of sandstone and evolves into quartzite when subjected to heat and pressure. The resulting white or gray rock tends to have beautiful streaks of color, giving it the look of marble while maintaining the toughness of granite.
A word of caution, however – the term tends to be used somewhat loosely by manufacturers, so it is important to check with your supplier to find out if your quartzite is “hard” or “soft” quartzite, which will affect how durable the material is, and how often routine sealing must be done to care for it.
Pros: The neutral colors of quartzite look nice against almost any kitchen color scheme. Its natural swirl patterns lend a clean, modern, organic look. It is somewhat heat resistant (although protection should be used if you intend to leave a hot pot sitting for a while).
Did you know? Quartzite is also harder than granite, making it a little more durable.
3.Engineered stone (Quartz) countertops
What it is: Sometimes known as “engineered stone”, what’s called “quartz” on the materials show floor today is actually a composite, consisting of quartz crystals held together with some kind of binder, often resin. They look like natural stone countertops, but these engineered quartz countertops have some additional benefits you can’t get naturally. Those benefits have led to quartz being one of the most popular countertop materials in the past year.
Pros: Quartz has a wider variety of colors available than natural stone, since pigments can be added to the resin. It is hard and durable, and less prone to denting or chipping than quartzite. It also requires very little maintenance, if any.
Cons: Quartz can be scratched, and it melts under temperatures higher than 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which means a hot pad must be used
4. Marble countertops
What it is: Long considered a sign of luxury, marble is a natural stone created by sediment under pressure, which develops a crystalline structure that allows it to be polished. It is not as hard as its cousin granite, but not as soft as soapstone, either. It can be found in a variety of natural colors, including white, black, gray, yellow, pink, and green, and sometimes with prominent veins of mineral deposits that are considered attractive.
Pros: Unique and beautiful, marble is also heat-resistant.
Cons: Because it is very porous, marble must be sealed as often as once a year, and even then, it will likely still stain when in contact with very acidic substances. It is also very vulnerable to scratching.
What material are you planning to choose for your worktop this time?