Countertops 101

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Trying to decide which of the hundreds of great surface materials to choose for your kitchen or bathroom Countertops? Find the look you want that fits your budget and lifestyle as we walk you through some countertop basics.

Choices, Choices

There are so many beautiful options for Countertops these days – including natural stone (like granite), engineered stone (like quartz), laminatesolid surfacing, stainless steel and tile – to name just a few!

Each material has its pros and cons. The decision usually comes down to three factors:

  1. Price. What’s your budget? Some experts say 10 to 15 percent of your kitchen remodel budget should be the price of countertops and installation. Also, keep in mind the overall value of your home, and spend in proportion.
  2. Maintenance. Kitchens are used for more than just cooking. How much wear and tear are your tops going to get? And how dedicated are you to upkeep?
  3. Appearance. What do you like? Clean lines? Custom options like unique edging or inlays? Integrated or undermount sink?

Comparing Countertop Options

Let’s break down four of today’s popular countertop materials by price, maintenance and appearance to help make your decision. Specifically, we’re going to take a closer look at granite (natural stone), quartz (engineered stone), laminate and solid surfacing.

 

Granite (Natural Stone)

Price* Maintenance Appearance Other
Most expensive, $40 to $120 per square foot installed. Extremely durable and has the highest heat resistance of all materials, but can be chipped if abused. If damaged, difficult to repair. Appearance is not uniform because the stone is designed by nature. No two pieces of granite are exactly the same. Requires professional installation. No DIY or handyman.
Requires annual re-sealing to maintain bacteria- and stain-resistance because natural stone is porous. Cooking oils can stain granite if not immediately wiped. Seams in countertop are visible. Has a prestigious reputation as a high-end product.
Requires specially formulated natural stone cleaner to protect sealer. Allows for unique edging options and undermount sink.

 

Quartz (Engineered Stone)

Price* Maintenance Appearance Other
Slightly more affordable than granite, cost begins at $60 per square foot installed. Extremely durable. Quartz is actually stronger than granite. However, it’s not indestructible – can chip at edges and not easy to repair if damaged. Uniform appearance because it’s man-made and not right out of the earth like granite. Requires professional installation. No DIY or handyman.
Non-porous so no sealing required. Bacteria- and stain-resistant. No special cleaning products required. Seams are visible but not as much as granite because of uniform colour.
Can discolour over time if exposed to direct sun. Allows for unique edging options and undermount sink.

Solid Surfacing

Price* Maintenance Appearance Other
More expensive than laminate, less expensive than high-quality granite or quartz,

$40 to $80 per square foot installed.

Very durable and easy to repair if scratched, burned or otherwise damaged. Wide variety of colour, pattern and texture options, including stone and wood look-alikes. Has a softer, warmer “feel” than granite or quartz. Requires professional installation. No DIY or handyman.
Non-porous so no sealing needed. Bacteria- and stain-resistant. Seamless – no gaps or grout for dirt to collect.
No special cleaning products required. The only material that allows for integrated sinks and backsplashes. Also allows unique edging options and inlays.

 

 

Laminate

Price* Maintenance Appearance Other
One of the most affordable surfacing options available, $36 to $45 per square foot installed. Very durable. Wide variety of colour, pattern and texture options, including stone and wood look-alikes. Easy to install and can be DIY for a knowledgeable handyman.
Non-porous so no sealing needed.  Bacteria- and stain-resistant. Seams are visible.
No special cleaning products required and easy to restore if stained. Allows for unique edging options with Formica IdealEdgeTM  and undermount sinks in some cases.

 

*Source: BobVila.com

 

Get Inspired!

Choosing the perfect countertop is not an easy decision, but it can be a fun one!

If you think solid surfacing or laminate may be right for your kitchen or bath, take a closer look at our gallery for ideas. Or see our entire line of laminates and solid surfacing products.

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Original Article