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A Countertop Comparison

July 12, 2014Kitchen Remodeling

By Katie MacGillivray

Whenever we are working on a kitchen or bathroom project, nine times out of ten we will be asked about the difference in countertop materials. It’s a great question! The countertop is a central part of not only the overall aesthetic of the room but it also can get the most wear and tear, particularly in the kitchen. To help you decide which countertop is best for your needs, we’ve put together a quick list of our most commonly used materials.

Granite

Price: $$-$$$$

Advantages:

  • Very Durable
  • Resistant to scratching
  • Resistant to heat
  • Resistance to staining (if sealed)
  • Resistant to water (if sealed)
  • Vast array of aesthetic options – unique looks on a per slab basis

Disadvantages:

  • Sealing required
  • Weight – support required

Quartz and Other Engineered Stones

Price: $$$-$$$$

Advantages:

  • Durable
  • Resistant to scratching
  • Resistant to stains
  • Resistant to bacteria
  • Resistant to water
  • Easy maintenance
  • Can be eco-friendly (non-toxic and some patterns have recycled content)
  • Wide aesthetic options

Disadvantages:

  • Susceptible to heat
  • Weight – support required

Solid Surfacing

Price: $$-$$$

Advantages:

  • Moderately to very durable
  • Resistant to mold and mildew
  • Can be eco-friendly (per manufacturer, IAQ and recycled content)
  • Offers seamless sink and backsplash option
  • Lighter weight than stone materials
  • Wide aesthetic options – mimics wood and stone looks

Disadvantages:

  • Susceptible to scratching
  • Susceptible to heat
  • Susceptible to staining

Paper Composite

Advantages:

  • Durable
  • Moderately resistant to heat
  • Moderately resistant to water
  • Eco-friendly (IAQ and recycled content)
  • Lighter weight than stone materials

Disadvantages:

  • Susceptible to scratching
  • Susceptible to chemicals
  • Limited aesthetic options compared to other materials

Note: Does darken over time Price: $$-$$$

Butcher Block/Wood

Price: $$

Advantages:

  • deal for prep work in the kitchen
  • Easy repair and re-staining
  • Unique, warm look

Reclamed Wood Kitchen

Disadvantages:

  • Oiling required
  • Susceptible to scratching
  • Susceptible to burning
  • Susceptible to staining
  • Susceptible to bacteria
  • Susceptible to moisture changes – natural swelling and contracting

Concrete

Price: $$$$

Advantages:

  • Extremely Durable
  • Resistant to staining (if sealed regularly)
  • Resistant to bacteria (if sealed regularly)
  • Versatility for non-traditionally shaped countertops
  • Wide aesthetic options – great for a custom color!

Disadvantages:

  • Sealing required
  • Will settle over time – small, typically non-structural cracks will develop
  • Very heavy – extra support needed
  • Susceptible to harsh chemicals

Tile

Price: $-$$$

Advantages:

  • Durable
  • Resistant to heat
  • Resistant to water

Disadvantages:

  • Uneven surface
  • Grout susceptible to staining
  • Susceptible to scratching/chipping

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Soapstone

Price: $$$

Advantages:

  • Very Durable
  • Resistant to stains
  • Resistant to chemicals
  • Resistant to bacteria
  • Resistant to heat
  • Easy maintenance (oiling is recommended, however)

Disadvantages:

  • Susceptible to scratching due to material content (can be sanded out)

 

Plastic Laminate Advantages:

  • Easy maintenance
  • Lightweight
  • Can be ecofriendly (per manufacturer – IAQ + certified wood materials)
  • Wide aesthetic options – mimics wood and stone looks

Disadvantages:

  • Limited durability – can peel
  • Susceptible to scratching
  • Susceptible to burning
  • Susceptible to staining
  • Susceptible to chemicals

Price: $

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