Kitchen Countertop Materials: Comparison Shopping for your Renovation
Most people are familiar with laminate countertops. But what other
materials are out there for renovating a kitchen countertop?
kitchen renovation,remodeling,countertop materials,home
I was helping my daughter having her kitchen remodelled recently. She was
having problems trying to decide on a new countertop material. Walking
through the counters area in Home Depot gave her a few ideas, but she was
still undecided when the time came to choose a month later. I decided to
write out a quick comparison of all the materials and costs for her and
when I was done I thought other people might find it useful as well, so
Most people are familiar with laminate countertops. (Formica is one brand
name.) They’re a thin surface of high-pressure laminate applied to a
thicker base of plywood or particleboard. Pluses: The standby, available
in literally hundreds of patterns and colors, laminates are the least
expensive (next to tile) and durable, requiring less upkeep than tile.
Minuses: Easy to scorch with hot cookware, the use of layers in their
construction makes it tricky to repair chips, show scratches, especially
lighter colors, so not usable as a cutting surface. Less durable than
natural stone or solid surface; use with under mount sinks is not
recommended. Cost: $25 to $50 foot
Solid surfacing, (brand names Corian, Fountainhead, Avonite and Surrell)
a newer countertop material, is durable and mimics the appearance of
natural stone materials like marble or granite. Pluses: Gives seamless
surfaces, easy to care for. High impact resistance, easily repaired,
nonporous and seamless, so won't trap dirt, collect bacteria or stain;
easily. Minuses: May melt from hot pot; looks non-natural in some color
schemes, licensed contractor required for installation and repair work.
Cost: $60 to $110 per foot.
Natural woods. Used in butcher-block style arrangement. Maple, oak and
other hardwoods, make durable and elegant countertops. Pluses: Good
surface for cutting foods; scratches easily repaired by sanding; easy
match with wood cabinets and floors. Minuses: Requires a finish to
preserve appearance, may scorch with hot cookware, allows bacterial
growth, so needs regular cleaning. Not practical for entire countertop –
good for small sections. Cost: $50 to $75 per foot
Granite. Popular for their elegant and rich look, natural stone
countertops will last longer than most kitchens. Pluses: Adds to value of
home, hard durable surface, very heat resistant. Minuses: very expensive,
requires care since it is porous and must be sealed periodically, grease
will stain. Cost: 60 to $200 per foot for granite $60 to $130 per foot
for marble (stains easily and not recommended for food prep countertop)
Ceramic or Porcelain Tile: This is the countertop material my daughter
was replacing. While the counters were in pretty bad shape, refurbishing
was an option. Tile has a comforting, classic look and is inexpensive..
Pluses: Easy to clean up after a mess. More heat resistant than laminates
solid surfaces, inexpensive, unless you are thinking about custom or
hand-painted tiles. Minuses: Can chip and crack easily; needs regular
maintenance to keep bacteria out of grout. Scrubbing grout. Cost: $10 to
$25 per foot.
So, what countertop material did she choose in the end? For it’s
reasonable cost and reparability, Corian got the nod for the new kitchen.
We found a color that was very close to a granite look and we also liked
the ten year warranty.