The material that covers your kitchen counters is one of the most visible and memorable features in your home. It helps to establish the design, color theme, and level of finish out. Today there are new choices in countertops, and old ones are making a comeback. If you are thinking of making a change, here are a dozen countertop choices for you to choose from:
Granite: This has been the most popular choice in recent years. Granite is a strong, heat tolerant, and stain resistant countertop. Its natural look is inherently beautiful, and it makes a strong statement. To lower the cost, tiles can be used instead of slab granite. On the negative side, color selections are limited, the cost is high, and the shiny polished surface is less in demand than it has been.
Marble: Marble offers more color choices than granite, and is available in a variety of tile sizes, such as 16 x 16, or larger. There are several surface finishes for marble - from shiny polished, to matt honed, to rustic tumbled. The honed matt surface is smooth, cleans easily, and makes a good kitchen workspace. Marble is slightly more porous than granite, and must be sealed after installation.
Soapstone: Soapstone is a very durable and non-porous stone with a matt finish, but the color is limited to grey/black.
Limestone: Various kinds of limestone, such as Jerusalem stone, are available. They may be too porous for the high use and food stain environment of a kitchen countertop. Frequent sealing may be necessary for maintenance.
Slate: Slate is used for floors and has been used as a natural stone countertop. However, some might consider the texture to be too rough for the kitchen counter.
Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tile offers a wide variety of colors and textures. New tiles are introduced frequently. Tile has been out of favor in recent years as the countertop of choice, but could be a good fit with some kitchen styles. The grout joints in ceramic tile are wider than stone tile.
Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is an interesting choice, and could be a perfect for some kitchens. For others it may be too modern or cold.
Concrete: Concrete is coming on strong in many areas. It offers a soft color palette, but there are concerns over stain resistance and durability.
Plastic slab: Plastic slab material, such as Corian, is very hard, easy to clean, and practical. It was popular, but has lost favor in recent years because of its manufactured look.
Plastic Laminate: This is an affordable, colorful choice that is making a comeback for some urban style homes.
Engineered Stone: Engineered stone, such as Silestone, is a slab material made of stone pieces held together by epoxy plastic. This is similar to Corian, but with quartz and other stone chips added for a more natural look.
Glass: Several types of glass composite counters are gaining in popularity. One, such as EnviroSlab, is made of glass chips bound in plastic. Another, such as Icestone, is a colorful countertop made of glass chips bound in concrete. The green movement has brought these to the forefront because recycled material can be used.
Nothing updates a home more than a new kitchen countertop, and nothing dates a home more than a poor one. The kitchen counter is a feature that can add immediate value to your home. But, before making this upgrade, make sure that your new countertop is compatible with the overall design style and colors of your home.