Selecting kitchen counter top materials can be a stressful part of a kitchen remake because they are a vital part of your kitchen as well as being expensive
Making the wrong choice could keep you from getting the look you want. But countertops aren’t just about looks, they need to be practical as well.
In order to decide which counter top materials are right for you, you need to know a little about each one. First off, however, you want to decide what kind of look you are going for. Do you want a shiny counter top, or more of a matt finish. Metal, wood or stone? Real stone or synthetic? Take a trip to your local Home Depot and look at what’s available or browse through magazines to narrow it down.
Before your final decision on which kitchen counter top material you want, you need to weigh durability, maintainability and cost. As in everything the less you spend the less durable the material.
Laminate - this is the least expensive but comes in a huge variety of colors and is actually quite easy to maintain. You have to be careful not to cut or put anything hot on the surface, but it is easy to clean. It is not as durable as stone or Corian and doesn’t look as nice either!
Tiles - Tiles can range in price from very inexpensive to very expensive depending on your choice. In my opinion they make terrible counter tops because food and such tends to get caught in the grout lines. Even worse, if you use light colored grout it gets dirty very quickly and must be scrubbed all the time. Tiles can crack and chip easily.
Corian - these seamless man made kitchen counter top materials are a granite look alike that is durable. It comes in a myriad of colors and can scratch, but these can be sanded and repaired. Unlike stone, it will melt so no hot pots on the counter top. It’s much more expensive than laminate but less than stone.
Granite - This material is a long time favorite and one of the most expensive. It is extremely durable and virtually scratch free and heat proof. It is porous, though so you will have to wipe up any spills quickly and be careful about what chemicals you put on it. Granite is mostly black and gray but there are some pieces which are lighter and some with colored grains. It is very easy to clean and care for.
Marble - Although beatiful, this is not recommended as kitchen counter top materials as it is very pourous. It will stain easily with normal food prep.
Slate - Slate can give you a great look in your kitchen. It is durable and easy to clean and unlike granite is nonporous. Scratches can be easily repaired. Slate is not as shiny as granite and can give a warmer look for around the same cost.
Butcher Block For about half the cost of granite, wood kitchen counter top materials can give hour kitchen a warm look. Butcher block is good for cutting as the marks can be sanded out but it is not very resistant to bacteria or stains. Would need periodic conditioning.
Concrete - Fast becoming a favorite in modern kitchens that want an industrial look, concrete is a mid priced material that can be mixed to form any color and even can be mixed with little pieces of anything you want it it! It is durable and easy to clean but is very porous and should be sealed to avoid staining.