You don’t have to be an interior designer to renovate your home so that it looks good, and – for many people – the kitchen is one of the most exciting rooms to design, decorate and build.
There are many aspects of the kitchen to think about, and many people like to maintain either a modern or more traditional theme throughout the room. However, a lot of people argue that the foundation of all kitchens is the kitchen counter.
Once the kitchen counters are in place, the rest of the room and its appliances can be built around them, and they can set the theme and look of the whole space. There are many different types of counters available, with lots of different materials, colours and styles.
However, it’s not just about how the counter looks; the material used for the countertops is a very important decision to make, as it will affect the whole future of your kitchen. While there’s a range of different materials on the market, they all have different purposes, advantages and disadvantages to suit different people, and these will be explored in this article.
Quartz is definitely at the higher end of the market in terms of price, but you seem to get what you pay for. Quartz is an incredibly durable material, which is why it makes a good choice for a countertop. It’s made by combining crushed quartz stone with resin and is praised for its indestructible quality.
Quartz is easy to clean and maintain as it doesn’t get stained and, unlike many other materials, it doesn’t need to be sealed as it doesn’t have any minute gaps or pores which trap bacteria. Furthermore, quartz is resistant from scratching and acid and shouldn’t chip or break from regular cooking, such as impact from knives.
Although quartz is fairly heat-resistant, it isn’t quite as heat-resistant as other materials, and direct sunlight may discolour the countertop over time. However, if you’re willing to pay more then this material is great for a contemporary kitchen, and you won’t need to worry about damaging it.
Granite is a fairly common material used for kitchen countertops because of its slick design and ability to fit in with all sorts of theme and design, although this is also a more expensive material. It’s popular because it’s reasonably durable and very heat-resistant, and so it shouldn’t be affected if you place a hot pan on its surface.
However, while it may be resistant against chips and cracks in most kitchen-related circumstances, it isn’t quite as indestructible as quartz, and it could be damaged by heavy impact from a heavy, hard object. Nonetheless, granite can be an asset to the kitchen if it’s maintained well by sealing it to prevent it from staining.
Wood countertops are perhaps more likely to be found in a more traditionally designed kitchen, although they’re very adaptable and could fit in well in a more contemporary theme. Wood is still a fairly higher-end priced material, although perhaps not as high as quartz or granite.
However, this is because it’s not only durable, but it’s also incredibly heat-resistant and can easily hold a hot pan without any damage. If it’s sealed properly, a wooden countertop can be very hygienic, and is preferable for preparing food with its ‘chopping board’ style.
Unlike the other materials mentioned, laminate countertops are a much better option if you’re on a budget. This material is made from plastic and is very adaptable, as it can almost ‘mimic’ other patterns so that it looks like wood, granite or quartz, but at a fraction of the price.
However, much like the other materials, you do get what you pay for. While laminate countertops are fine for those on a budget, and while it can adapt to any theme or design, it isn’t the most durable material.
Laminate is susceptible to scratching, chipping and scorching, meaning that you have to be very careful. However, regardless of it not being as durable, laminate is stain resistant and doesn’t need much maintenance in terms of sealing or cleaning.
Marble is a much higher-end material for countertops, and perhaps isn’t targeted at those on a budget. However, this material has its advantages; many people think it’s aesthetically attractive, and the two-toned marbled pattern can hide a multitude of stains and signs of wear.
Marble countertops are generally found in more contemporary kitchens, and they’re said to have a more high-end ‘look’ about them. However, as the texture is fairly ‘porous’ and it has minute gaps in, it can stain fairly easily and store bacteria, and so it needs to be maintained with regular sealing.
However, marble isn’t as durable as other materials such as quartz or granite, and it can be scratched fairly easily by sharp kitchen knives or chipped by impact from pots and pans. Therefore, it seems that most people pay more for the visual aesthetics of marble as opposed to its durability and sturdiness.
Tiles are another budget-friendly option for a kitchen countertop, and can be adapted to suit any colour scheme or design. Tile is popular not only because it’s affordable, but also because it’s a tough material which resists heat and stains, it’s easy to clean.
However, while there are many advantages to tile countertops, they’re not the most durable material and it doesn’t take a lot to crack them. Nonetheless, tiles can be replaced quickly and easily, and don’t require a lot of effort.
In addition, tiles may not be the best surface for storing kitchen utensils and equipment or cooking and preparing food on for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the surface isn’t even and can cause objects to wobble and feel unstable.
Secondly, because tiles have grout lines around their edge, this means that dirt and bacteria can get stuck down them, making them a less hygienic option, and it isn’t the best for baking and preparing food due to the uneven texture and the risk of bacteria.