Choosing a new kitchen counter top and the material can be an overwhelming task in the midst of a huge kitchen makeover. Before you select a material, try to decide what look you are going for. Scour magazines and take a trip to your local home improvement center to get an idea how each type of material will effect the overall style of the kitchen. Talk to a good General Contractor about pricing and more.
Some materials for kitchen counter tops include:
Laminate – The least expensive and comes in a huge range of colors. 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 – A very durable counter that is seamless and has the look of granite. 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. More expensive than laminate but a bit 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. These days, granite comes in a range shades in the gray – black – green and even dark blue colors. Granite must be sealed every year, but otherwise is quite easy to clean and care for.
Marble – Beautiful but very porous and is not really practical for a counter top. It will stain easily with normal food prep.
Slate – Slate has a nice warm earthy look without the shininess of granite. It is durable and easy to clean and unlike granite is nonporous. Scratches can be easily repaired.
Butcher Block – 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.