5 Kitchen Countertop Options for the Upscale Kitchen
An important component to your kitchen vision, the right countertop will tie your design together and serve as a focal point for the most utilized room in your home. Often times, homeowners select a countertop based on looks alone without considering durability, maintenance, and other factors. To make the best decision for the lifestyle of your household, consider these kitchen countertop options that are most frequently utilized in upscale kitchens.
Granite is a natural stone quarried from all over the world and each slab has an individual uniqueness offered by mother nature. This stone adds an elegant distinction to any kitchen, and after polishing, a smooth surface with rich luster. The variations in stone add character and beauty that will stand the test of time. Granite offers durability, eco-friendliness, and resistance to stains, scratches, and damage from heat. However, as a natural stone, the porous nature of granite requires sealing to prevent staining and bacteria growth. Homeowners may find the color options limited compared to other products, as they are limited to what mother nature offers.
Quartz, also known as engineered stone, is a manufactured material consisting of 93% quartz combined with 3% binder and color. Color, pattern, texture, and finish options are limitless, as the manufacturing process allows for variety and enhancements in the final product. One of the toughest materials on the market, quartz offers a non-porous surface that is easy to clean and difficult to scratch or chip with almost invisible seams. Some homeowners believe it does not look as natural as granite and find that the product does not offer enough heat resistance. While excellent for improving resale value on a home, the cost prohibitive nature of quartz lends itself to high-end kitchen and baths. Prices can vary greatly based on the grade of material and the complexity of the design.
Marble, Limestone, and Soapstone
These natural rock materials offer many variations based on the mineral content which provides the rich tones and veining of these beautiful countertop materials. With outstanding durability and excellent resistance to heat, it is no wonder these darlings of design are considered to be premium quality. Because of the porous nature of these surfaces, they require regular sealing. These natural stones scratch or chip easier than granite and etching is possible with acidic foods, coffee, and wine, so it is not ideal for families with young children. At the higher end of materials and installation, marble, limestone, and soapstone may be reserved for those homeowners wanting a museum-influenced design.
Butcher block, thick strips of hardwood glued together with a food-safe adhesive, typically comes in hard maple, teak, cherry, birch, or walnut. Warm and inviting, decorative and functional, this heat-resistant material is excellent for use in food preparation areas. Because this surface is porous, it is not recommended for use around sinks. As a result, it is often used in conjunction with quartz or granite countertops. Though easy-to-clean and forgiving with scratches and cuts, butcher block must be properly sealed frequently to prevent bacteria and improve water resistance. The surface can be sanded and resealed to extend the life of this reasonably priced product.
Dekton and Neolith
These relatively new products are sneaking onto the scene as a new trend in countertop materials. Both products are fabricated with a manufacturing process that results in an almost indestructible and easy-to-maintain product. Heat-proof, full-body color, and virtually maintenance free after installation, these countertops are highly attractive for indoor and outdoor use. Due to the fact that both are relatively new products, homeowners may find limited availability of products and qualified installers.
Jeni C. Powell is a freelance writer who specializes in blog posts, website content, summary and analysis, and editing. Her industry related strengths include Marketing, Education, Home Living, Construction, Legal, and Parenting. Please visit her website at www.jenifreelance.com.