It can be tough to choose the right countertop with so many materials available on the market. Here’s a guide to several popular materials to help you decide what’s best for your kitchen…

Granite Countertops

Pros

Granite has a rich beauty that few other countertop materials can match. It is a natural product with a timeless aura and appeal. With more than 20 shades of granite to work with, you’ll find one that blends perfectly with your kitchen cabinets, flooring, and walls. Granite is a very hard substance and is not susceptible to scratches. Granite resists heat, so it can be used near a range or cooktop. Granite can be very resistant to stains and won’t absorb liquids when it is properly sealed.

Cons

Granite is porous. It needs to be resealed and sometimes yearly. Poorly sealed counters can absorb wine, juice, or oil, producing a stain that might be impossible to remove. A poorly-sealed countertop can also harbor bacteria in its pores. A heavy object dropped on a corner might crack or chip the granite. Granite is an expensive material. Expect to pay more than $100 per square foot of countertop, and prices as high as $250 are not uncommon.

Marble Countertops

Pros

Marble is another natural stone used in Kitchen countertops. Marble is entirely unique because no two pieces of Marble are the same. Depending on the type of marble, it can be more affordable than granite, and certainly more so than quartz and stainless steel. If damages occur they can be sanded out.

Cons

Marble can scratch easily, especially when touched for a long period of time by something acidic. A slice of lemon laid down on a polished countertop overnight can leave a mark in the shape of the lemon slice.Marble can also stain; red wine and some fruits are infamous for leaving indelible stains on the marble.

Soapstone Countertops

Pros

Soapstone is another natural stone usually dark gray in color with a silky fee. Soapstone countertops are seen in many vintage homes because of it’s antique-like patina after a few years. Sandstone is quite hard and stain resistant. It will scratch over time but that can add to to the antique look of the stone.

Cons

Although the softness of soapstone makes it less brittle and resistant to cracking, the soft surface also makes the stone susceptible to damage from dropped glasses or cookware. Stone countertops that are not smooth can scratch your china and glassware if you’re not careful. You’ll also notice when selecting your soapstone that you will be given limited color choices. Soapstone comes in various shades of gray, with some hues having a blue tint and other looking more green.

Quartz Countertops

Pros

Quartz is a manufactured product and can be very attractive. The manufacturing process allows a much wider range of colors than you’ll find in natural stones such as marble or granite. The appearance of the finished engineered stone is rich, even luxurious. Quartz has a nonporous surface that resists both scratching and staining. Unlike natural stone, engineered quartz requires no annual sealing. Quartz can be custom-fabricated in any size and shape.

Cons

There aren’t many cons to this engineered stone. The biggest concern for some will be the price. When you get written estimates, expect quartz countertop prices to be $115-$200 per square foot. Keep in mind, however, that those prices are competitive with other high-end countertop materials such as granite, marble, concrete and slate. quartz is not as resistant to heat as granite so caution will have to be used with hot pots and pans in the kitchen .

Laminate Countertops

Pros

Budget friendly Laminate countertops are an easy choice if budget is your biggest concern. They are the least expensive option for countertops, and easily available to you. It is perfect for kitchen remodels on a tight budget, and for people who tend to change their decor often. Master of Disguise: Laminate countertops easily imitate their more expensive competitors! It can be made to look like granite, marble, and so on. Laminate is easily manufactured, and therefore easily designed.

Cons

Easy to Damage: Laminate counters scratch and cut easily, so don’t use a knife directly on them. It is best to avoid placing hot items directly onto laminate counters to avoid melting or heat damage. Check out the heat/stain resistant passage above. Not good for Resale: Though they can look expensive, laminate countertops are not good for resale and are not a good return on investment. If you’re looking to sell your house and get a good return on investment, these counters are not for you. However, if you need to add a kitchen for a sale, these counters are definitely better than nothing!

Formica Countertops

Pros

This a man made material consisting of a blend of acrylic particles and resins that are pressed into sheets. Formica have been around for nearly 50 years. Formica is sold under the brands of Aconite, Corian, and Swanstone. Solid Surface material is now considered a mid-tier, and is an excellent choice for mid range kitchens. It resists staining and damage can be easily sanded out. It is available in many colors and patterns and seems are virtual invisible.

Cons

Easy to damage: Because formica is made from layers glued together, it is easier to damage the surface of the countertop. Hot pans can melt the top, and even a cigarette left unattended can melt a small area. The top is also susceptible to scratches from sharp knives and other items on the counter.

Wood Countertops

Pros

The number one reason people choose wood countertops is their beauty. They give any kitchen a warmth that can’t be achieved by any other countertop material. There are many types of wood countertops from which to choose. Hardwood continues to be used extensively. Wood types include maple, cherry, oak, birch, and teak. Bamboo is a grass, but offers a wood-like appearance. Stains and finishes complete the look, giving each one a customized appearance. Wood countertops are easy to clean, very long-lasting, and can be sanded and resealed, as needed.

Cons

If a wood countertop is not sealed correctly, it offers a porous surface where germs may hide and multiply. If the surface isn’t consistently treated with mineral oil or other protectant, damage can occur is water sits on the countertop too long or seeps into seams. With time, a wood countertop will begin to show some wear and tear. The finish may need to be reapplied, or the entire surface sanded and refinished. Since wood is softer than tile, stone, and metal, it can be more easily damaged.

Stainless Steel Countertops

Pros

Stainless Steel gives a contemporary and industrial look for your kitchen. They are heat resistant, excellent for a modern-style kitchen, easiest of all countertops to clean, they cannot rust or stain.

Cons

Contact with your metal cookware and cutlery can get noisy—the clashing and clanging—that happens when cooking equipment makes contact with the metal surface. Stainless steel also scratches easily and will “age” over time as objects slide, rub, and drop on the surface.

On any given day, your kitchen countertop may wind up playing the roles of cutting board, hot pad, office desk, food prep surface, and snack bar. You need a surface that’s durable, attractive and easy to get along with. It’s worth weighing the options carefully when you’re remodeling. Top-notch tops are installed by pros only, but they have a look and feel no other material can match

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Style-Flooring-EmblemAbout Style Flooring, Cabinets, & Countertops

Style Flooring, Cabinets, and Countertops offers a level of attention and knowledge to our customers that big box stores just can’t! Our focus is to provide every client with outstanding service, high quality products, and competitive prices. We ask questions to get an accurate understanding of our clients wants and needs. Our extensive knowledge and product offerings allows us to help our clients find the best possible option for their lifestyle, look, and budget.
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