As a kitchen designer in Santa Maria, CA, I have found that the most common concerns in a kitchen remodel have been countertops. What countertop options do I have for my kitchen? Which are the best? How much do they all cost?
Countertops seem to be a very popular upgrade in a kitchen remodel, and these days people are after the latest and greatest products on the market, like granite, quartz and even recycled glass.
For a kitchen, we opt for more durable products that won’t scratch or stain. We especially want something that will last years and years because the countertops aren’t usually very inexpensive. The common selection choice for kitchen countertops are laminate, solid surface acrylic, tile, granite, quartz or glass.
Laminate is the least expensive, and surprisingly has come a long way. There is an expansive color selection with some having the appearance of granite with even some 3-dimensional textures. But to many people, laminate in the kitchen isn’t the best option and you really have to watch out for scratching and staining.
Solid surface acrylic, commonly Corian to many, was a very popular countertop in kitchens in the eighties. It had a soft, subtle appearance that would match nicely with any cabinet choice and was seamless which made cleaning very easy. Well, what many don’t realize is how soft acrylic countertops are. Be careful not to scratch them or use anything abrasive on them, or they will be damaged forever. Also, wipe up a spill immediately otherwise it could leave a slight stain.
Although tile is extremely durable and can withstand heat better than the rest, the grout lines have been the greatest burden to majority of homeowners. The biggest complaint is the maintenance of the grout. As it ages, it darkens. This is caused by common wear and tear. Once someone has had tile countertops they most often never want it again. A simple solution is installing larger tiles with tighter grout joints, and making sure to seal the grout and keep it properly cared for.
Granite and Quartz are the most common kitchen countertops used today. They are the most durable on the market and easiest on the eye. Although their appearances are radically different from one another, people most often choose one or the other. They are both resistant to scratches, stains and heat. As long as granite is sealed once or twice a year, it will stand up to its full durability. Quartz does not need any sealing, but with any countertop, be cautious and careful. As long as a countertop is properly cared for, it will last a long time.
Recycled glass is the newest countertop material on the market and it has been selling fairly well. It has a very unique appearance that could be overly modern to many people. But if it is within your budget (because it is very expensive) and it appeals to you, it might be a great choice. It is a commercial grade product and has been seen in many restaurant environments, so it can stand everyday wear and tear.
To conclude, from my experiences as a kitchen designer, granite and quartz have seemed like the best countertop choices for the majority of kitchens I have designed. Although the others have also done fairly well, granite and quartz have always been satisfactory. They fit most everyone’s taste and are never a disappointment.