Countertops: Information to Help You Choose the Right One!

When it comes to Kitchen counters there can be so much to choose from. It can get quite confusing, overwhelming, and can get to be quite expensive. While a great majority of us wish we had “Rockafeller” $, most of us don’t. This doesn’t mean we don’t want our homes to look extremely nice! If you’re anything like me one of the most important rooms you want to look amazing & even more important feel amazing is the KITCHEN! I love to cook, even more than I like to eat, therefore I need a work space that is fully functional AND great to look at. I feel the better my work area, the better my creation!
So when you’re looking to redo a kitchen or do an upgrade you can find soooooo many choices and not nearly enough information on each. The actual surface type, verses the price, verses the sustainability/durability, verses the functuality. It can get crazy and overwhelming. So here’s some information to help you choose the right counter for you, your home, and your family.
Below are the most popular countertops and some are new and less popular but equally as beautiful, fun, and fancy:

  Butcher Block

Butcher Block
Butcher block is beautiful natural hardwood like maple or oak. It is smooth, user-friendly, and durable. It can make a great surface for an island. Other beautiful butcher block woods are Cherry, Red Beech, Walnut, Teak, & Mahogany.

Care:
Must be sealed with a food safe protectant & oiled regularly. Clean with a mild soap and warm water.

Pros:
Can be used as a chopping board. Can be resanded and resealed when worn. Can be stained to the color of your liking.

Cons:
Susceptible to stains, watermarks, and burns.

Price Comparison:
Usually starts around $30 pr sq ft. Prices range around $50-$100 pr sq ft.

Ceramic

Ceramic
Ceramic tile countertops are fired clay that becomes a hard durable surface. It is also a good DIY surface. This option is quite a bit less expensive than others and because it comes as tile you can get a little more creative with it.Must be grouted and grout must be sealed.

Care
Clean with a mild soap and wet cloth. Grout cleaner can be used to clean in between tiles.

Pros:
It can be professionally cleaned & damaged tiles can be replaced as needed. Can withstand hot pans. Available in an array of different colors, textures, and sizes.

Cons
Counter surface can be uneven, tiles can chip, and grout can crack or stain. Grout needs resealing annually.

Price Comparison:
Solid colors come around $5 pr sq ft and hand painted tiles can get up towards $100 pr sq ft. The majority averages $10-$30 pr sq ft.

Concrete

Concrete
Concrete is a blend of natural materials such as cement, stone, and water. Concrete is good in kitchens with an unusual shape because it can be cast directly into the kitchen or it can be bought precast.

Care:
No abrasive cleaners because they can damage the sealant. Use soap & water for cleaning.

Pros:
Heat & scratch resistant. Can be tinted and finished to the color of your choosing.

Cons:
Porous therefore cracking is possible, but it can be sealed to protect it from doing so. Needs resealing over time to avoid staining.

Price Comparison:
Can start as low as $60 pr sq ft, but can go up to $100 pr sq ft or higher.

Formica

Formica
Formica is a solid surface countertop. It is a laminate finish of plastic coated synthetics. It is cut to size, laid, and finished at the seams. Formica countertops can also be an easy DIY installation product. Finishes can be made to look like marble or granite.

Care:
Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Pros:
Easy to clean, durable, & inexpensive. Available in many colors or patterns.

Cons:
Scratches, chips, & burns can not be repaired. Ages more quickly than other materials.

Price Competition:
Formica can be found as low as $3 pr sq ft but can go up to $20 pr sq ft.

Glass

Glass
Glass is a non-porous countertop type. It’s fast becoming a popular contemporary alternative to the classic countertops. It usually has a tempered finish but can be untempered. The tempered ones are stronger. Can be customized with different contours and curved edges.

Care:
Household and commercial glass cleaners and a soft cloth.

Pros:
Very hygienic and is an easy to wipe surface. Light reflecting & heat tolerant.

Cons:
Can scratch, can be cut, can chip or break, and always shows finger prints. Acidic substances can scratch.

Price Comparison:
Glass price range is a huge gap because it can range so in shape and size. $60-$300 pr sq ft

Granite

Granite
Granite is a natural stone surface. While it is probably the most durable it is definitely one of the most expensive. Granite is more durable than even marble. It comes in full slate which has to be measured and cut, but it can also come in tile which is a little less expensive than the slate.

Care:
Clean with a commercial granite cleaner. (Soap and water can lead to build up over time.) Needs to be resealed annually.

Pros:
Heat resistant and comes in a wide range of colors. The most durable of all the surfaces.

Cons:
One of the most costly surfaces of all the countertops. Absorbs stains if not sealed well. Can still knives so use a chopping board.

Price Comparison:
Slab granite, like marble can be around $40-$120 per square foot. But using marble tiles can lower cost.

Laminate

Laminate:
Laminate is made of melamine. It can come in horizontal grade which is the thickest and vertical grade which is a lot thinner. Vertical is made to withstand low impact, such as residential, kitchens. It can come in glossy, matte, or granular finishes.

Care:
Clean with a damp cloth or sponge and mild soap or detergent. For tough stains try a mixture of mild household cleanser with baking soda & a nylon bristle brush.

Pros:
Come in many different colors, designs, and textures. versatile, and customisable, easy to maintain.

Cons:
Not as durable as natural stone. Gets cut and scratched easily. Not heat-resistant. Burn marks are not easy to remove.

Price Comparison:
$15-$60 per Linear Foot
$3-$20 per square
Although pure melamine can get up to $30-$40 per square foot.

Limestone

Limestone
Limestone is a natural porous material about as old as soapstone. It can be used in indoor and outdoor kitchens because it can withstand damage from humidity.
Looks better over time like soapstone. Can be polished for a shiny finish or honed for a matte finish, which makes it look more natural.

Care:
Be careful using vinegar & acidic substances around it. Dust to remove crumbs. Use soap and water to clean and dry carefully.

Pros:
Comes in a wide range of colors and textures. Can be easily cut to fit difficult spaces. It ages beautifully, can be molded, and last for decades.

Cons:
Proned to stains and scratches if not treated properly. Can burn or scorch. Needs to be sealed or finished properly.

Price Comparison:
Can range from $100-$200 per square foot.

Marble

Marble
Marble is a porous metamorphic rock. It is more porous than granite. Marble is durable and can last for many years if cared for properly. Most colors are white or off white with dark lines in it.

Care:
Avoid acidic cleaners, wipe clean quickly as it can stain. Use Ph neutral cleaners, tepid water, & a soft cloth.

Pros:
Stays cool, is smooth, & heat and water proof. Is very durable.

Cons:
Extremely expensive, requires professional sealing & resealing over time. Stains quickly and can chip & etch.

Price Comparison:
$60-$90 per square foot but can get up to $115-$135 per square foot for Semi-precious stones.

Pyrolave

Pyrolave
Pyrolave is made from Lava stone extracted from deep volcanic craters in Auvergne, France. It is extremely durable. It is cut processed & glazed for countertop use. It becomes a nonporous, shiny or smooth matte crackled finish.

Care:
Regular cleaning

Pros:
Low maintenance, very strong, can withstand high temperatures. It doesn’t scratch and comes in a variety of colors.

Cons:
Like granite it is very expensive. Supply is limited (which can make for not so good resale value). Can not hide seems, needs resealing every couple of years.

Price Comparison:
$260 or more per square feet.

Quartz

Quartz
Quartz can be engineered or natural. It has the look & feel of granite with the strength & durability of some of the hardest materials in the works. Engineered quartz is a blend of natural quartz and polymer resins. It is fabricated to look like granite and other natural stones like limestone and marble. It is nonporous and comes with a polished surface.

Care:
No sealing needed, clean with a nonabrasive cleanser. No bleach cleansers use a solution of vinegar and water, or soapy water.

Pros:
Heat and stain resistant, doesn’t require frequent resealing. Resistant to chips and dents. Comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Requires little maintenance.

Cons:
Visible seams can be costly and heavy. Expensive like granite. Prolonged heat may cause damage. Can be scratched.

Price Comparison
It ranges from $50-$100 per square foot.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel
Stainless countertops are another new trend that gives a home a contemporary, industrial look. It used to be more often used in conventional kitchens. They are custom cut and installed.

Care:
Use a stainless steel cleaner or a damp microfiber cloth.

Pros:
Heat, oil, & acid resistant. No visible seems due to customization.

Cons:
Can be costly. Can not cut on with a knife, surface can get pretty scratchy and it can dent. Fingerprints smudge on it & can be noisy to work on.

Price Comparison:
The average cost is $50 to $200 per square foot.

Soapstone

Soapstone
A natural material made of metamorphic rock. It darkens over time. It is one of the oldest surfaces around (about 300-400 million years old).

Care:
Apply mineral oil regularly, this disguises scratches & enables uniformity in the darkening process.

Pros:
Has a smooth feel, a deep color, is very durable & heat-resistant.

Con:
Can crack over time & get scratched. [See above for caring for scratches.]

Price Comparison:
Around $25-$45 per square foot.
This makes it a little more affordable than marble & granite but is just as durable and beautiful.

Travertine

Travertine
Travertine is a natural stone, it has the resemblance of marble. It is textures with natural occurring pits. It’s a softer surface like soapstone. It can be honed to a matte finish to last longer. Can be tiled and grouted or come as slab.

Care:
Needs to be sealed once a year. Clean with a stone soap. Do not use acidic cleaners.

Pros:
Colors are earth tones to greens and golds. Can be polished for a shinier look.

Cons:

The pits can absorb liquids and trap crumbs. Can burn and watermarks can appear.

Price Comparison:

Tiles can cost $5-$12 per square foot.

Slab countertops can range from $6-$60 per square foot.

Now with the information we’ve given you here, hopefully we’ve help make the process less tedious and a lot more informative. If you like to contact Milea GotCha Covered to discuss your needs or get some more help with creating your perfect kitchen, please do so. We’d love to help make your Kitchen dreams come true!

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