Countertops are an essential part of every kitchen. Although they are often perceived as a rather large investment for a home, they do make a profound improvement in the kitchen space both aesthetically and functionally.
Thankfully, there are multiple countertop options to choose from each with its unique style, design, and special qualities.
Types of Kitchen Countertops
With the many countertop materials out there, it can be a bit difficult to decide on a particular one to use for your kitchen update. This is why we’ve put together a list of the various types of countertops and some vital information concerning them to assist you as you decide.
1. Ceramic Tile Countertops
These are one of the affordable and most popular countertop materials in recent times, they are quite durable and very easy to clean. In addition to this, you’ll also have the opportunity to choose from countless designs, styles, and colors.
Ceramic counters are somewhat similar to Porcelain tile countertops since they are both available in numerous decorative styles and can therefore be custom-made into a showpiece. Ceramic tiles are available in a wide array of designs, colors, textures, and in different price ranges.
Some notable qualities of ceramic tile countertops include heat and stain resistance, plus they’re easy to clean. However, these tiles tend to chip and crack rather easily and require constant maintenance to expel bacteria from the grout lines.
Opting for tile counters affords you the chance to choose from many tile options, shapes, styles, and colors. It’s even possible to tint grout color to produce a unique and interesting look.
Although, you have to be careful when choosing tile countertops because if you happen to pick one with porous tiles, it can result in bacteria buildup which can cause problems later on. To prevent this from happening a lot of people prefer to stick with glass or ceramic tiles instead.
2. Solid Wood Countertop
Solid wood countertops usually come with a reliable coating which means that scratches can be sanded out. In addition to this, solid wood countertops are stain-resistant, however, unlike solid stone countertops, they lack heat resistance which means that they can be damaged by harsh cleaning chemicals and intense heat from cooking items.
Solid wood counters can be custom designed and at times there are also faceted sink bowls fashioned with similar material as the countertop, although they often come in different colors.
3. Standard Laminate Countertops
Plastic laminate is one of the most popular laminate materials used for producing countertops. They come in a wide variety of designs and they’re also super easy to clean and moderately priced. Plastic laminate counters are generally produced from plastic-coated synthetics with smooth surfaces.
Aside from having smooth and easy-to-clean surfaces, these countertops are available in a wide variety of colors and textures and are particularly easy to maintain. Although if they do get scratched or damaged, there’s no actual way to repair them. Burn marks and seams are practically impossible to conceal and easily noticeable.
Standard laminate countertops on the other hand are versatile and affordable. Their naturally low temperature and easy on-site installation make them a favorite among DIY-ers and the perfect kitchen countertops for budgeted remodels.
On the flip side, a majority of laminate countertops are sold at inexpensive prices based on the fact that they aren’t very durable, in other words, they are likely to scratch easily and can’t withstand high temperatures.
Lastly, if these countertops aren’t properly installed, there’s a very high possibility that the laminate coating will begin to peel off from the particleboard or plywood unto which they’re sealed.
4. Butcher-block Countertops
Butcher-block countertops are somewhat similar to solid wood countertops in the sense that they can both be directly used as cutting boards, which is why they’re the ideal material for prep work and chopping.
These countertops aren’t as hard as the surfaces of most solid wood countertops, which means that they are particularly easier on chinaware and delicate glass items. Butcher-block counters aren’t exactly durable especially if hot pans are constantly placed on them or when used as a cutting board.
These counters scratch easily unlike any other material and also need to be sealed occasionally due to their inability to resist stains especially if they are installed close to a sink.
5. Acrylic Solid Surface Countertops
Acrylic counters are classified among the less expensive options just like resin countertops. These premium countertop materials are also highly customizable and a large number of their dealers offer integrated acrylic sinks and a multitude of patterns, edge styles, and finishes unto them.
These natural stone countertops require very little maintenance as acrylic is a non-porous material that is relatively easy to clean. Since acrylic is a durable material, scratches do not easily occur, and when they do they can be sanded out effortlessly.
Due to the nature of this countertop material, it does not fare very well under hot temperatures.
6. Concrete Countertops
A major factor that makes concrete stand out as a countertop material is that it’s highly customizable, it can be made into any color, texture, sculpt or mold to suit any kind of preference whatever they may be. Concrete has a natural, earthy texture and appearance and it also doesn’t get damaged easily which is why it’s ideal for external kitchens.
The cost of purchasing concrete countertops usually ranges from medium to high prices, although they tend to be more expensive based on the degree of customization involved.
Concrete counters have a slightly unusual yet exotic appearance which can be tinted into different colors, it’s also possible to use special treatments on them to help reduce cracking.
Due to their tendency to crack, they might begin to appear porous or industrial after a while, which is why it’s best to have them tinted before installing them. Concrete countertops are so tough that they can’t be damaged by heat, plus they are also scratch-resistant.
If you’re able to find an expert to help install them for you they’ll not only appear organized but will also last for a very long time. While Concrete countertops are a worthwhile investment, they do however come with a few drawbacks.
For instance, they might start to develop cracks due to their porous nature, and to avoid this they must be sealed and waxed regularly. Most people find this a bit difficult to handle and are often discouraged about this countertop.
Also, concrete countertops are the exact opposite of lightweight and require a high level of skill and precision to install, which is why you’ll most likely need the assistance of a professional countertop installer if you choose this material.
7. Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops are a lot different from synthetic materials and other engineered stone countertops due to their manufacturing process. These counters come in way more color varieties than most solid surface countertops.
One of their other advantages is that they are a lot more durable compared to most countertop options, almost as much as granite countertops. Quartz is classified as a non-porous material, in other words, there’s absolutely no need for it to be sealed.
These days Quartz countertops are steadily moving up the ranks in terms of popularity and are considered a close rival to granite countertops in terms of trending countertop kitchen remodel ideas.
As for the cons of this material, not much can be said about it aside from the fact that they are quite expensive. If you consider spending around $100-$200 for a square foot a reasonable price then this countertop will be a great option for you.
Before you dive headlong to buy quartz countertops, you might want to learn how to properly examine quartz countertops to ensure that you’re buying high-grade materials for your home.
8. Stainless Steel Countertop
Stainless steel countertops have a way of brightening up any kitchen space. This countertop surface resists heat and is also fairly durable.
Due to their smooth surfaces, there’s no room for dirt and bacteria to accumulate which is why they are the easiest to clean and maintain of all the types of kitchen countertops. The only notable disadvantage of these countertops is that they can be a bit noisy and scratch easily.
9. Marble Countertops
Similar to the other types of countertop materials, marble counters are made in a wide variety of patterns and colors. They have smooth heat resistant surfaces and rarely ever get chip or dent marks.
One of the disadvantages associated with marble countertops is that they are often very expensive and don’t last too long unless they are sealed occasionally to protect them from spills.
10. Granite Countertops
Granite countertops are the perfect illustration of class and elegance in the kitchen and are generally the most preferred type of countertop among homeowners. The natural beauty of this stone material is capable of improving the appearance of even the most modest kitchen design.
Like other natural stones, granite countertops are incredibly durable if sealed properly and they do not take heat damage and aren’t easily sanded. Granite countertops can withstand scorching heat and are available in many patterns, hues, and styles.
The sealers on this countertop material require low maintenance, although granite counters can crack when stressed or improperly installed
The hardness of granite is reason enough to avoid cutting directly on them as it will lead to dullness in knives. Compared to all other solid surfaces, granite is by far the most durable, in addition to this, it’s also stain, heat, and scratch-resistant.
It requires little maintenance and offers great value for money, although granite countertops generally come with considerably high price tags and require new sealing treatments at least once a year.
Want to create an aesthetically pleasing home with the help of granite countertops? Check out these gorgeous granite kitchen countertop ideas for the best results.
11. Soapstone Countertops
This countertop’s name was derived from its soap-like appearance which is a result of the presence of talc in the stone. They are often produced in much darker shades than every other countertop material. They sometimes have a greyish or light black color. In terms of hardness, they are much softer compared to marble and granite.
Soapstone is classified as a natural stone and is basically a form of metamorphic rock which contains magnesium and talc, with the inclusion of several other compounds. Soapstone countertops can’t be damaged by acids such as lemon, vinegar, and wine, they are also heat resistant and popularly used by chefs.
12. Quartzite Natural Stone Countertops
Quartzite is also a natural stone and quite similar to quartz. However, they are both unique in their own right. For instance, Quartz is an engineered stone while quartzite is a natural stone derived from the earth.
One of the factors that make both these countertop materials similar is due to their colors resemblance, it’s easy to mistake one for the other as they often appear practically the same.
Quartzite countertops are also very similar to marble based on their colors although they have an edge over marble in terms of appearance and are a much more suitable option by comparison.
While quartzite is an extremely hard material with a smooth surface, it’s not invulnerable to liquid due to its porosity. Therefore to maintain this kind of countertop, its owners are required to carry periodic sealing.
Quartzite countertops are highly recommended due to their durability and elegance, they are also UV ray resistant and add a natural and organic feel to any kitchen.
You might want to read: How to choose the right granite countertops supplier?
What is the best kitchen countertop material?
When it comes to deciding on the best material for countertops certain factors need to be considered all of which have to do with personal preference. Some of these factors include durability, appearance, stain and scratch resistance, availability of color options, decorative textures, resale value, and finally price.
A specific material might be lacking in a particular aspect, at the same time it can as well have an advantage over the others, therefore the concept of the best kitchen countertop material lies in individual preference.
Which are the least expensive types of countertops
Judging by careful analysis of the price estimates of each of the aforementioned countertop materials, we deduced that Standard laminate countertops are by far the most affordable alternative. Some other really gorgeous yet highly affordable countertop materials include granite and tiles.
Although there are a couple of other inexpensive materials on the list including butcher wood and ceramic tiles, they do however require high maintenance.
Countertops are an invaluable investment in every kitchen and with the information provided above you should be in a much better position to make the right decision for your home.
At Firenza Stone, we have a wide selection of slabs and countertops for all kinds of designs and budgets. Send us a message today and we will help you design the most aesthetically pleasing home with our countertops