When it comes time to replace your kitchen or bathroom countertops, it is important to understand the variety of countertop materials that are available on the market. Different countertop surfaces can serve different functions, needs, and tastes. And, when done correctly, it can add significant value to your home.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Countertops
With countertops, sometimes the best strategy is to stretch a bit. As your new countertop will be sure to add value to your home, this is a great place to spend your money. That said, your countertop will likely be the costliest portion of your remodel. When you take your budget into consideration and ensure that you can spend where appropriate and can get the right countertop for your home, your investment will be sure to pay off over time.
For sure, the function is important. Consider how you plan to use the space, and then compare materials that will align the best with your intended usage. If you are a baker or a want-to-be-chef, you may have very different needs than someone who will simply use their kitchen as a place to pass through.
As your countertop is indeed a big investment, you will want to ensure that it can stand the test of time. If you plan to chop vegetables frequently, then you likely want something that can withstand dents and scratches. With the right countertop material, your impacts will be better absorbed than with others.
Of course, you want your countertop to look great and to blend in well with the room. Even if your countertop is more about function than anything, you still want it to look nice. The right countertop will help to enhance the room, and as said before, the value as well.
Popular countertop materials
Picking the right countertop material for your kitchen or bathroom should take budget, function, durability, and aesthetics into consideration. Consider the following materials and their advantages and disadvantages when selecting the material for your new countertop.
This material has been popular for decades, and rightfully so. Homeowners love the stain and scratch resistance that comes with laminate, as well as the impressive range of colors that can be selected from. This means that your countertop will look the part and match the room for years to come. The downside of laminate is that it can chip easily, particularly in the corners. Further, laminate does not add nearly the same value to your home as other materials such as natural stone.
Wood countertops are far less costly than natural stone and create an earthy feel in your kitchen or bathroom. Further, they can create a warm look through the softness of the wood. However, wood countertops require a high degree of maintenance and need to be sealed regularly so that they are not damaged by the moisture that commonly builds up in kitchens, and especially in bathrooms.
Definitely a modern look, concrete countertops are also available in a variety of colors. They are naturally durable and heat-resistant but they can steal easily due to their porosity. Concrete requires a great deal of maintenance as well, and in most cases, will require a seal-coating at least every three years.
If you are going for that ultra-modern look, then stainless steel is an excellent choice. Particularly great for professional kitchens, stainless steel is very durable, easy to clean, and resistant to bacteria. However, despite its durability, stainless steel is very susceptible to scratches and dents, especially when used frequently or when placed in high-traffic areas.
This material provides many of the benefits of natural stone, but at a lower cost. And, the material is non-porous, which makes it less likely to experience scratches and dings. This said, engineered quartz doesn’t have the same heat resistance that natural stone does.
Granite has become increasingly popular as both a kitchen and as a bathroom countertop material over the recent two or three decades. Homeowners appreciate the immediate value that their home experiences after a granite countertop is installed. And, as granite is such a hard surface, it is highly resistant to scratches.
Further, when properly sealed, granite can also withstand stains as well as high temperatures. Natural stone countertops such as granite, however, do require sealing, though not nearly as often as with concrete and some other materials. A professional sealing every eight to ten years will help protect the granite and will keep it looking new for years to come.
Almost as popular as granite for a home countertop, marble provides an elegant option that many homeowners find appealing. Marble is naturally occurring and is available in a wide array of colors. Further, no two pieces of marble will ever look the same, which means each countertop is one-of-a-kind.
You will live with the choices of your countertop selection for years to come. By taking the time to admire the various styles and consider your needs, you will be sure to select the material that is right for you. This will save you money over time and will help you to enjoy your kitchen and bathroom for years to come.
Salman Zafar is an ecopreneur, consultant, advisor, speaker and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection, conservation and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Salman is the Founder of EcoMENA, a popular voluntary organization based in Qatar. He is also the Founder and CEO of BioEnergy Consult, a reputed consulting firm active in biomass, waste-to-energy and waste management segments.
Salman is a professional environmental writer with more than 350 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass environmental awareness in different parts of the world.
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