If you are looking for the right kitchen countertop material, you have plenty available to choose. From granite to marble to quartz and more, the choices available are only limited by the budget, availability of the materials, and the weight. Whether you get sintered stone, laminate, or other materials is up to you.
What follows are examples of commonly used materials for kitchen countertops. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you can make the best-informed decision about what works for you.
Granite is one of the hardest, most resilient natural materials on the market. For the past several years, Granite was arguably the most sought-after material for countertops, even though it is quite expensive. As granite has become more available, the price has come down.
Pros: The most important advantage is that granite is nearly impervious to anything you or your kitchen can throw at it. Granite is not only solid, but quite durable, and highly heat resistant.
- Over 3,000 different colors
- Adds value to your home
Cons: Even though the price has come down, granite is still quite expensive. This puts it out of reach for many homeowners looking to remodel. Other issues with granite include the following.
- Very heavy, not suitable for installation without professional assistance
- May crack if not installed properly
- Imperfections may exist in the slabs
Overall, granite is quite good if you can afford it. Just be aware that the supports of your countertops will need to be reinforced.
You may know laminate materials better by other names, Wilsonart, Nevamar, and Formica. Laminate materials were highly popular after World War II for many reasons but fell out of favor when stone materials became more available. However, laminate has made a comeback and is now highly desired for several reasons.
Pros: The most impressive advantage is how easy laminate materials are to maintain. This is because the surface has been treated, so that it is not porous and will resist staining. Other advantages include the following.
- Easy to install, even on your own.
- Many thousands of color and design options
- One of the least expensive countertop materials
Cons: With all the advantages, arguably the biggest disadvantage of laminate is that you can see the seams. This can be disconcerting for those who want a solid countertop. But that is one of the downsides to choosing laminate. Other concerns include the following.
- Quite average and common material
- Can be scratched or chipped
- Adding backsplash and edging raises the price
Overall, for those on a budget laminate may be the best choice. It is relatively easy to maintain and the least expensive of all major countertop materials on the market.
When many people think of marble, they probably imagine Ancient Greece with its remarkable buildings made from that rock. However, marble is still quite popular today and is used commonly for countertops.
Pros: Probably the most important advantage is the inherent beauty of the stone itself. Because no two pieces of marble are quite alike, you will get a unique, stunning countertop for your kitchen.
- Adds value to your home
Cons: However, marble is quite expensive which may put it out of reach for many homeowners. Plus, there are other issues with marble as well.
- Need professional assistance to install
- Can be scratched and repairs are expensive
- Stains easily
If you do a lot of work in the kitchen, you may want to consider a material other than marble. However, despite its higher maintenance, it is quite beautiful and stunning.
It should be noted that quartz is really a combination of materials and not a single stone. Because it is engineered, quartz has been made into a material that is well-suited for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Its advantages are considerable.
Pros: Probably its biggest advantage is the simple maintenance. Because quartz is highly resistant to staining, all you need is to wipe the countertop and it will maintain its like-new appearance.
- Solid slabs with no cracks
- Can be easily shaped to correct size
- Natural, beautiful appearance
Cons: The downsides of quartz are few and far between. It is a rather expensive material, although not as expensive as compared to granite. The other major downside is that the material itself is quite heavy. Although again, not nearly as heavy as granite. Overall, quartz may be the perfect compromise for those who want an easy to maintain stone material, but do not quite have the budget for granite or marble.
Sintered stone is often compared to quartz as they are composite materials made from natural stone. However, there are some important differences that you should know. Arguably the biggest difference is that while quartz contain resin binders and pigments which are added to the material, sintered stone is all-natural and has no additional materials.
Pros: Probably the biggest advantage is the heat resistance of sintered stone. It can stand up to hot materials without scorching or discoloration. This means if you accidentally set a hot pan or pot on the countertop, it will probably not harm the sintered stone.
- Solid, easy to maintain
- Available in different colors and patterns
- A less expensive alternative to granite or marble
- Sintered stone is still expensive
- Repairs are difficult if cracked
- Only suitable for professional installation
It is true that sintered stone is also considerably lighter compared to granite. Plus, it is quite stain resistant. If you are looking for a good stone material, but do not have the money for granite or marble, then sintered stone may be a good choice.
Summary of the countertop
In the end, whether you choose quartz, granite, laminate, sintered stone, or other material, the choice you make should fit your budget and your sense of décor. This means whether you go with marble or some other material, you should go over all the available selection before making your final decision.