How to Choose Countertops for a Renovated or Brand New Kitchen
Your choice of countertops can be what makes or breaks your custom kitchen design. Kitchen counters have a dual function: they are both the visual focal point of the whole kitchen, and its workhorse. They are expected to be scratch-resistant and heat-resistant, while still being attractive. They have to be able to withstand more abuse than any other surface in the kitchen, yet you still need to be happy with the visual impact they lend to the overall design, as well as the purchase price. So, it’s important to choose a countertop material that is durable and still fits within your budget and design idea.
Before you make a decision regarding the material of your countertops, there are some questions you need to ask yourself:
- What’s my budget?
- What level of maintenance is required?
- Do I need brand new kitchen countertops or can I renovate what I have?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you need to consider the available materials.
Here are a few of the most common materials for custom kitchen countertops:
- Laminates. Commonly referred to as Formica (a brand of laminate), this is a plastic-coated wood chipboard that comes in a wide variety of colours and patterns, including some that imitate wood or stone. This is one of the most cost-effective, durable countertop options.
- Marble. Marble counters are visually stunning, no doubt about it. Marble is comparable to granite in price range, with the lowest price being around $60 per square foot. The biggest benefit of using marble is that it is heat resistant and durable once it is properly sealed. That said, proper care must be taken when preparing food on your marble countertops, or cleaning them, as they may stain (especially if they are not yet sealed, or if you don’t use a potholder to rest hot dishes on). Marble can also etch under acidic liquids and can scar when knives are used directly on them. With due care, however, marble is durable and beautiful and will prove to be a solid investment choice.
- Granite. Granite has become extremely popular as an attractive and durable countertop material. This material choice comes in 3 different grades (builder, mid and high) as well as a multitude of colours, patterns and thicknesses. Granite tends to be among the more costly choices, with a price range that can run between $25 per square foot to over $1000 per square foot, depending on your choice of grade, colour, pattern and thickness, and whether it is modular or custom cut.
- Engineered Stone. Engineered stone is comprised of 93% quartz. It is available in a wider array of colours than granite, and the price is generally comparable. Since this material is non-porous, it is resistant to scratching and staining.
- Stainless Steel. This choice of material is commonly used in industrial or restaurant kitchens, but it lends a sleek style that can also work well with modern home kitchens. It is easy to clean and handles hot pots and pans well, but it is not scratch resistant.
- Concrete. Concrete counters can be made in any shape, and to suit any design. They can be cast directly on the lower cabinets or cast offsite and installed later. Concrete is incredibly durable and can be dyed to suit any colour scheme. These days, concrete countertops are treated so that they are crack-proof and sealed so that it is not so porous.
These materials are only a small selection of what has been used to make a countertop. More than any other part of your kitchen, when choosing the material that works best for your needs, you must consider not only how they function but also how they look and what they cost.
If you’re looking to upgrade to a new custom kitchen, get in touch with us here at LIDA Construction. As winners of the VIBE 2019 ‘Renovator of the Year’ gold award, you can rest assured that our team are kitchen renovation experts.