Kitchen Counter Materials: A Comparison Part 1

So you’re planning to remodel your kitchen, or at least replace the kitchen counters, and now you’re wondering what kind of counter top you should get. There are many different materials, styles, and color options when it comes to kitchen counters. So making a decision isn’t always easy. However, with our comprehensive comparison guide, you’ll be well equipped to make an informed decision. In this first comparison, we will look at natural materials: stone and wood.

1. Granite

Granite is the most popular type of natural stone material for counters. Its popularity has persisted over the years, mainly because it is durable, rugged, and also beautiful. Since it’s a natural stone, each slab of granite is completely unique; no two pieces of granite are the same. Some of the other pros of granite are that it is scratch, stain, and heat resistant. It is also water resistant when sealed. It even remains unaffected by heavy chemical solutions. Additionally, it can be easily cleaned and comes in a high variety of colors and patterns. There are some cons to be mentioned, however: Granite is relatively expensive, and can also break when exposed to stresses during transportation or installation (but this wouldn’t be your fault and you could demand to get a new intact piece). Granite also has to be maintained every so often through periodic resealing. The price for granite varies depending on its size, pattern and thickness, so a square foot of granite could cost anywhere from $45 to $100. Some granite is much more expensive however, ranging up to $250 per square foot.

2. Limestone

Limestone is comparable to Granite in its price, since it’s about $50 to $100 per square foot. If you want to go for a more unique look than that of granite, limestone is definitely an option. As some of its pros, we should include its attractiveness and good heat resistance. Limestone is best used for ornamental purposes however, since it isn’t very practical in the kitchen. Among its cons are that it scratches, nicks, and cuts quite easily. It can also stain, sometimes even after sealer is applied.

3. Marble

Marble is highly desirable for its glamorous look and feel. If you’re going for elegance as your top priority, then marble is the choice for you. The distinctive veining makes marble both unique and attractive to many, and fits in to an overall traditional design concept for your kitchen. Marble has many pros, including its high heat resistance and inherent coolness, which makes it ideal and a traditional choice for baking surfaces. Marble does have some cons, however. It is very susceptible to stains, even after sealant has been applied. It can scratch and can be affected by chemicals. Generally speaking, marble can be compared in price with

granite. Per square foot, marble costs $50 to $150, with high-end marble going up to $250 per square foot.

4. Quartz This material is also called engineered stone and is relatively new to the counter top market. But it is growing in popularity every year. Many color options exist for quartz counter tops, which are created through a combination of natural quartz (90%) and a resin mixture, which is used for binding reasons. Quartz as a material for kitchen counters is not unique, since it is factory made and therefore has a consistent texture and look. The reason quartz is becoming very popular is due to its many pros, including durability, low maintenance, water and scratch resistance, no sealing necessary, and its bacteria resistance. It combines the durability of natural stone without all the necessary maintenance. Quartz only has a few cons, which are that it isn’t entirely heat resistant and has seams (which are not very noticeable however). In price, quartz is a bit cheaper than granite, ranging from $40 to $90 per square foot.

5. Soapstone

Soapstone is also a natural material, and is quarried around the world. The name comes from the feel of its surface, which is described as soft and soapy. This feeling comes from the presence of talc in the stone. It’s not as popular as granite, but it is still fairly popular for kitchen counters. Soapstone comes in gray, blue, and green shades, and some come with marbling. If you want to be environmentally responsible, then soapstone is a good choice since it will last a long time and improve in appearance as time goes by. Soapstone’s pros include durability, and very high heat resistance. It is also water resistant and non-porous, which means that sealing is not necessary. It does not require much maintenance and ages well. It can get scratched, nicked, and cut easily though, which are one of soapstone’s cons. It also only comes in a limited number of different colors. The price ranges from $50 to $105 per square foot. So if you want a good alternative to more expensive granite, soapstone may be a good option for you.

6. Wood

Wood is one of the first materials used for kitchen counter tops; it has been used over hundreds of years. Many different styles and colors exist, as you can use mahogany, teak, cherry, yellow cedar, or white oak for a traditional look. If you’re going for something more modern and easy to maintain, then apply a waterproof varnish on the surface of the wood. You can also use reclaimed wood if your priorities lie in environmental friendliness and if the look you’re going for is more rustic. Wood is also great at killing bacteria, which means that wood as a cutting surface is actually safer than plastic surfaces. Along with its bacteria-killing quality, wood also counts its unique appearance, durability, heat resistance, and recyclability among its pros. Some cons are that varnished woods are time-

intensive to maintain and require special care. Wood surfaces must also be kept dry, and they are not scratch and dent resistant. Depending on what type of wood you use, the price will vary, so you will be looking at anything from $50 to $200 per square foot.

7. Butcher Block

Butcher Block is the most popular wood counter top. It is a specific style of wood where different pieces of wood are assembled together to form one slab. Usually butcher block is made from maple wood, but cherry, walnut, teak, and oak can be used as well. It is heat resistant and can easily be repaired and refinished, and is durable. These are butcher block’s pros. Repairing butcher block frequently may be necessary for some who don’t like the worn look it develops, since it can be damaged by chemicals or acidic food, heat and water, and also can get scratched by knives. So, butcher block has some cons as well. The price of this material can be as low as $35 per square foot, but it can go up to $100 per square foot as well.

Sources: https://www.kompareit.com/homeandgarden/countertops-comparison- best-countertop.html https://www.remodelingimage.com/top-10- countertops-prices- plus-pros- and-cons/ https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/07/pros-cons- costs-10- countertop-materials/index.htm http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/interior-projects/how- to/a3080/how-to- choose-the- right-countertop/ https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/1623075/list/kitchen-countertops- 101-choosing- a-surface- material http://usenaturalstone.com/countertop-comparison- chart/

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