A look at the different types of countertops available and their benefits, downfalls and price ranges.
Updating your kitchen is quite a project and it can be quite expensive. No matter what your budget is, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the right products for your taste, lifestyle and pocketbook.
One of the biggest expenses in any kitchen remodel is the countertop. The following types of countertops will help you decide which product is right for you.
25+ Kitchen Countertop Ideas
#1. Farmhouse kitchen with reclaimed flooring
#2. Outdoor kitchen with Oak Slab
#3. Green Silestone
#4. Farm cottage with Walnut Counters
#5. Blizzard Caesarstone
#6. Classical kitchen
#7. Contemporary kitchen with white countertop
#8. Cararra marble
#9. Soapstone countertop
#10. Calacatta Cremo Cross Cut Marble
#11. Copper Countertop
#12. Caesarstone Calacatta Nuvo counters
#13. Eclectic kitchen with white countertop and Bali wood slab
#14. Marble countertop with pendant lights
#15. Mosaic backsplash made from transparent and opaque glass, mirror, ceramic and copper leaf
#16. Concrete and glass
#17. Gluelam beam countertop
#18. Small compact
#19. Cement countertop
#20. Modern country kitchen with wood countertop
#21. Shoreline kitchen
#22. Italian kitchen
#23. Calacatta marble
#24. Shabby-chic kitchen
#25. Cottage kitchen
Types of countertops
The name Formica is often used to describe laminate, but Formica is actually a name brand, much like Kleenex. Laminate countertops are more versatile than any other as they come in an astounding array of colors, finishes and patterns.
There are even corner and edge treatments that give them a different feel. They’re also very reasonably priced.
The stone category includes a lot of countertop materials that have been very popular in the last several years. Granite is one of the most common and popular and it’s incredibly durable and also carries an incredible price tag.
Marble is equally popular and expensive, but it’s not quite as durable, in fact it’s considerably softer than granite. Soapstone has lost a lot of its appeal because it’s so soft and leaves wear marks.
#3. Stone Compound
Stone compound countertops are the industry’s response to the rabid granite and marble trend, and give the user a solid, sturdy surface that resists wear and is more cost effective than its stone counterparts.
Stone compounds are created from pulverized quartz blended with polyester binding and come in a variety of different colors and patterns.
#4. Ceramic Tiles
An attractive countertops solution, ceramic tiles are moderately prices and fairly durable. The tiles can chip, but having one tile replaced is fairly inexpensive.
The biggest complaint people with ceramic tiles have is the grout can be difficult to clean. The best part of ceramic tiles is their versatility, as you can mix and match almost any color in any pattern you want.
#5. Solid Surfaces
Another product that often goes under a specific brand name, Corian, but there are several companies that make countertops out of solid surface materials.
This alternative is very durable, they resist germs and clean easily. They also come in a large variety of colors, but can be quite pricey.
#6. Butcher’s Block
This old favorite wears beautifully and has its own charm and character that no other countertop can match. But a solid block of wood is not the most practical kitchen surface, it mars easily, holds in germs, and stains readily.
This is the newest trend in countertops, in fact, not only in countertops but in floors as well. Concrete is seen as a durable surface that can be stained, combined with aggregate, stamped with patterns, blended with pigments, or inlaid with gems or trinkets.
The expense depends on what technique you decide to enhance the product with. The durability is similar; generally it’s incredibly strong, but if you have it inlaid with fragile items those items stand a good chance of breaking over the years.
By using the information listed above you should be able to, at least, narrow down your choices and begin researching the patterns, colors, and prices that best suit your home’s needs.
Types of countertop material
Covers the different choices homeowners have for kitchen and bathroom countertops, which include laminate, tile, stone, synthetics, steel, concrete, and wood
A counter puts up with a lot of abuse, from knives and hot pots in the kitchen to spilled makeup and splashed water in the bath. The material you choose has to be strong enough to withstand the punishment it’ll take and look good at the same time.
Here’s a quick rundown of the options when it comes to choosing countertop materials.
Laminate counters – made from layers of kraft paper laminated together – are cheap, relatively easy to install, and come in countless colours and patterns. On the downside, they are not very durable and, in most cases, the only way to repair serious damage is to replace the entire section of counter. That’s why it’s essential to protect the surface with cutting boards and trivets for hot pots.
Countertop tiles range from cheap and simple ceramics to pricey pieces with gaudy patterns, and a full range of permutations in between.
The tiles themselves are fairly strong and easy to clean. The weak point in any tile job is the grout between the tiles. It should be sealed to prevent discoloration and monitored for signs of cracking and wear.
For information on the materials needed to install your own ceramic tile counter, see “Working With Ceramic Tile.”
#3. Natural Stone
When it comes to stone, the number one choice for kitchen counters is granite. After all, if it’s able to withstand eons of geothermal heat and pressure, then get hauled out of the ground with heavy machinery, and still look that good, it’s probably strong enough to withstand the rigors of your kitchen.
The big downside is the cost. The material alone is one of the most expensive on this list and, unless you were a stonemason in a previous life, you’ll need to hire a pro for the installation.
Marble is a popular choice in the bathroom for its classic, Romanesque appeal, but generally isn’t considered durable enough for kitchen counter applications.
Other, less-durable, stone options include limestone, slate, lava rock, and even turquoise. There are also engineered stone counters, sometimes called quartz surfacing, which are made of natural stone chips bound with epoxy resin.
Polyester and acrylic counters, sold under brand names like Corian and Gibraltar, have been around since the 1960s and have consistently grown in popularity. They’re durable and easily repairable if they are damaged.
The main drawback, much like natural stone, is cost, particularly given that most synthetic counter manufacturers only allow licensed contractors to install their products.
#5. Unusual alternatives
The list of counter materials is rounded out by the industrial (polished concrete and stainless steel) and the timelessly practical (wood). The first two are best suited to a very modern style kitchen while the latter is most often incorporated as a built-in cutting board, recessed into one of the other above-mentioned counters.