Tempting though it is to choose a kitchen countertop based on looks alone, a material’s durability, maintenance and, of course, cost are also important factors to consider when making a selection for a kitchen remodel.
Homeowners have to assess the way they live before settling on a kitchen countertop surface, says Jeff Cannata, past president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and president of Designer’s Showcase Kitchens & Baths Inc. in Carol Stream, Ill. “If they have three kids and they’re making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the countertops every day, they might not want to go with that white granite.”
Kitchen Countertop Choices
The good news is if homeowners have their hearts set on a certain look, but the material just doesn’t match with their lifestyle, odds are there’s another material that does. Granite, the top choice in countertops, is available in a variety of shades such as blacks, whites, greens, corals and beiges, and no two pieces are exactly the same. Granite is available in two finishes. A polished finish results in a shiny look and often darkens the appearance of the stone, while honing is soft and matte. Costs for granite depend on many variables, including color, finish and origin of the stone.
“If you pick a granite that’s relatively easy to get, it could be affordable. If you pick a granite that I have imported from Zimbabwe, and [it] only ships once a year, that can be pretty expensive,” Jeff says. Other natural stone materials, like marble, limestone and soapstone, are softer than granite and require delicate use and greater care. All stone countertops must be sealed periodically.
Engineered stone countertops come in a wider variety of colors than natural stone countertops, are more durable and are a cinch to maintain. They’re “just bulletproof,” Jeff says. However, engineered stone won’t save any money over granite: the two materials cost roughly the same.
Read more about kitchen countertop choices at HGTV.com