Pot with green mint on kitchen countertop. Pot with green mint on kitchen countertop.

What is the best way to select kitchen counter tops? Not as easy as it sounds.

There are so many new options available and more that are on the way!  The best way is not always by the look but consider function and budget first. Nearly every type of material available can give you “the look” you are after, what important is expectation of the user, (you) and in all honestly, how much you want to pay to meet that expectation.

Honestly evaluate the following:

1. How long are you going to live with these? Is this your “forever house” or do you plan on selling in a few years and upgrading to a “better” home?

2. How do you use your kitchen, mostly? My idea of a dream kitchen is a toaster and a coffee pot. You on the other hand, may be a regular Rachel Ray. The everyday demands may or may not decide your ideal material.

3. Is your space getting new cabinets OR are you using existing ones? When considering new kitchen counter tops, this is a big one. If you are using new cabinets, what is the quality of the line you have chosen? You probably would not want to invest thousands into a product like porcelain or quartz and install it on  “less than” cabinets that will not look good after 5 years of use. ( Yes, I am speaking of “builder grade”)

If you are using your existing cabinets and just wanting to update or refresh your space, honestly evaluate the condition and quality of the cabinets you have. The above comments apply here as well. The cabinets may indeed be able to be rehabilitated, but are you going to invest BIG in counter tops the current cabinets may not be worthy of?

So, what are my options for counter tops?

counter tops granite counter tops granite

The most basic of all options would be laminates. Brands like Formica or Wilsonart. Laminates are easily the most affordable option and can be found in hundreds of patterns and colors. Don”t discount their attractiveness. They also look really cool in modern or more contemporary kitchens. $-very cost effective

Solid surface counter tops like Corian are another choice. There are many brands to choose from. Wilsonart, LG, Tempest, Staron to name a few. They are all over the place on pricing, depending on the color you choose. You can”t cut on it (like they used to say you could) or set hot pots directly on it but it is durable. If something really bad should happen, it is repairable most of the time.

Natural Stone, granite, marble, quartzite,soapstone, slate, the list goes on but these are the most commonly used.  Natural stone has been the gold standard in counter tops for some time. Cost can be moderate to CRAZY, again depending on your selection. Natural stone is exactly that, natural. It gets cut from the earth and will have that appearance. It will vary in pattern and color from slab to slab and should always be hand selected. You can cut on it, (although it will ruin your knives) and you can set hot things directly on it without worry. Garden variety granite’s can be found these days for a great price, but plan to spend a good amount on more exotic varieties. Yes, you do have to seal it, it is a natural material and has some porosity (even when polished) Which can hold bacteria at a microscopic level. If this creeps you out a little, probably not a good choice for you.  $$-$$$$  Depending on your selection

The mac-daddy of all counter tops….Engineered Stone (Quartz)

Engineered stone today is the most coveted of all countertops. It is found names like Cambria, Ceasarstone, Silestone, Hanstone, LG, Pompeii (I am certain I missed someone, sorry) They are all essentially made the same way. Natural stone, (granite, quartz) is crushed in huge machines and it is mixed with polymers and poured out into big beautiful slabs of all colors and patterns. It is an expensive process and carries a price tag to reflect that. Because of this process, it is totally non-porous. Once it’s down, that’s it. You never have to do anything to it again. You can cut on it, (I would not) and put hot pots directly on it. Germ-a-phobes love the fact no bacteria can get in the little crannies because there are none! It can be an expensive project but if your cabinets are worthy, a wise investment. $$$$ mostly expensive, but beautiful!

There are of course other options such as wood, concrete and recycled glass. These are considered somewhat alternative materials and can be costly. If you are still unsure of the right product for your project, email Design Line Works and we can assist with your choices!