You want to make the right choice when it comes to countertops for your home. There are many surfaces to choose from, so factors like who is going to be using the room the most, durability, maintenance and cost should be taken into consideration. Besides the kitchen and bathroom, the laundry room and garage may have counter space, and outdoor dining/kitchen areas need to be considered as well.
GRANITE As the homeowner, you might have your heart set on a certain look. Granite typically has proven to be the most-used material, says HGTV. No two pieces are the same, and it comes in a plethora of shades such as greys, whites, beige and corals. With granite, you also get to choose your finish. Simmons Custom Granite points out that while certain finishes reduce the visibility of stains, all finishes can make your stone more durable, bring out the stone’s vibrant colors as well as reduce the porosity of the granite slab. Polished, honed and brushed are the most popular finishes. Polished ranks as number one, as it will enhance the rich colors of your granite stone with its high gloss shine. They are also the easiest to maintain. As the least porous finish, polished counters don’t need to be sealed as often as the other types. Honed granite countertops, while looking as smooth as polished countertops, don’t give off granite’s shine. However, it doesn’t show scratches as easily, either. If you’re looking for a casual feel in your kitchen, a honed granite countertop is a great option. Brushed granite goes the opposite way, giving off a rough look and bringing out the natural characteristics of the stone. With no shine whatsoever, brushed granite hides smudges and fingerprints better than the others. Homeowners should plan to clean daily to avoid staining and adding a polish to help reduce absorbency and staining. Brushed granite has always been a good option for outdoor entertaining; only more recently has it been a choice for indoors.
Beyond granite, other natural stone materials, like marble, limestone and soapstone, require delicate use and greater care. Don’t forget that all stone countertops must be sealed periodically.
WOOD Plank-style wood countertops are gaining popularity, as more and more designers are turning to it for the striking effect it has in the kitchen. A wood counter invites a warm, homey feel into a kitchen, and is always a conversation-starter. Today’s products make them easy to clean and maintain, as any scratches can be easily sanded out. Whether you choose the mild grain pattern of Hard Maple or prefer the more rustic flow of Ash for your wood countertop, wood offers a magnificent look every time. Make sure to oil seal the surface regularly to prevent water damage.
OTHER STONE OPTIONS HGTV lists quartz as a favorite countertop material. Quartz countertops are virtually maintenance-free, as well as resistant to scratching, heat, acid, stains and impact bruising. They also point to marble, which helps to disguise wear and hides light stains. Marble is pricier, but looks worth every penny paid for it, but will require regular sealing with something acidic to prevent etching.
STAINLESS STEEL Stainless steel adds a modern, industrial look to your kitchen. The metal surface goes well with any color and all spills don’t stain, just wipe ‘em up with a cloth and mild soap. It’s also the most hygienic countertop out there as the metal inhibits bacterial buildup.
GLASS Glass counters offer a sleek look, as well as many other benefits. Its nonporous surface makes it stain resistant and hygienic, just like stainless steel. Tempered glass that is at least an inch thick will offer the greatest durability.
CONCRETE Concrete countertops, which can be completely customized with pigments, are gaining popularity. Concrete is available in three different finishes, says HGTV: trowel (smooth), ground (sanded to expose the sand aggregate) and pressed (a tool is used to reveal marblelike veining). It mixes well with other materials like glass, tile and marble to create a singular, eye-pleasing look. Concrete is also energy-efficient; as the temperature in your home rises, the concrete will capture the heat and release it when the temperature goes down. However, keep in mind that sudden changes in temperature may cause concrete to warp or curl. Damp sponges left on the counter can cause discoloration and acidic spills may etch the surface. Its best to seal them up to four times per year and wax with a paste every two to three months.
While deciding on your countertop material, keep in mind all color options as well. The Spruce offers great tips on this decision.
J. Sweet Construction has more than 20 years’ experience working with luxury countertops for the most discriminating customers. We can help you make the selection that is right for your new luxury home or remodel.