Choosing the Best Countertop Material for Your Remodel
Choosing the right countertop material for your remodel may be one of the most important decisions you make. Oftentimes, your countertops dictate the style and palette of the room. They also needs to hold up to the way your family uses them. Here we outline some of the pros and cons of the various types of material we typically use in our remodeling projects.
Quartz countertops are an engineered product made of varying amounts of quartz that are bound together with resin. This is by far one of our most popular choices among homeowners for kitchen countertops.
- Durability. Quartz is scratch resistant. With normal, everyday use in the kitchen, scratching is unlikely due to the hardness of the stone.
- Low maintenance. Unlike granite and other natural stones, quartz countertops do not have to be sealed regularly. Clean up is also fairly easy; generally, all you need is warm soapy water.
- Non-absorbent. Quartz is highly resistant to staining and doesn’t harbor bacteria in the way other porous stones may, if not properly maintained
- Variety. There are a lot of color and design options to choose from if you opt for a quartz countertop. It’s very likely you’ll be able to find something that will work for your space.
- Not approved for outdoor use. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can damage the stone.
- Susceptible to heat damage. Although quartz is heat-resistant, the resins in quartz countertops are not. Placing a hot pan directly from the stovetop or oven on the surface can lead to discoloration and damage to your tops.
- Cost. The biggest deterrent for most people when it comes to quartz is cost. Quartz tends to be one of the more expensive stone options.
For years, granite was king when it came to kitchen countertops. In recent years, quartz has stolen the spotlight. Though we still use granite, we use it more in outdoor areas than in kitchens these days.
- Variety. Like quartz, granite comes in a variety of colors to suite your style.
- Heat Resistant. Granite is one of the most heat resistant countertops on the market.
- Durable. Granite surfaces are not susceptible to scratching. They are also stain resistant when sealed properly
- Maintenance. Unlike quartz, granite is a porous stone and requires annual sealing to ensure it won’t stain or absorb harmful bacteria.
- Cost. Again, like quartz, granite is one of the more expensive options for countertops
- Susceptible to chips/cracking. Although not likely, granite can chip or crack if a heavy object (like a small kitchen appliance) is dropped on it.
People love wood countertops because they add a lot of warmth and character to a space. That being said, wood is one material where you need to carefully consider how you will use your countertops to determine if it’s the right choice for you.
- Variety. There are a variety of species, stains, and styles that can be achieved with a wood top. Making it a very versatile option.
- Works with all design styles. Wood tops can work well with just about any design style – from contemporary to traditional and country to eclectic.
- Easily repaired. Compared to other materials, wood tops are relatively easy to repair. Although they can become easily scratched or damaged over time, repairs are generally accomplished with a little sanding and refinishing.
- Durability. Wood is highly susceptible to scratching or denting. Water can also damage your wood tops, causing them to warp, crack, or even blacken with prolonged exposure.
- Maintenance. Wood tops need to be consistently maintained with mineral oil to prevent water damage. They also need to be sealed regularly to prevent them from absorbing harmful bacteria or staining.
- May require refinishing. Depending on how much and how often you use your tops, they will begin to show wear and tear. You may have to either refinish or completely sand and restain your tops.
Marble lends a touch of luxury to any room. The properties of this stone tend to make it more ideally suited for use in bathrooms or as a fireplace surround. We rarely recommend using marble for a kitchen countertop.
- It’s Beauty. Marble has a timeless, elegant look that works well with many different design styles.
- Heat resistant. Marble is not a heat conductor and stays naturally cool. Great for the baker in the family! It is also heat resistant (but you should still never put a pot straight from the stove directly on the surface)
- Staining. Marble is a porous stone, making it very vulnerable to staining.
- Prone to scratching and chipping. Because marble is a softer stone, it is more likely to chip and scratch. Acids like lemon juice also remove the polish and sealant making it more prone to scratching.
- Maintenance. Like granite, your marble countertops should be sealed regularly to maintain their appearance
Quartzite is a completely natural stone that originates as sandstone. Through a process of high heating and pressurization the sandstone is transformed into quartzite. It is often considered an ideal countertop surface thanks to its strength and durability.
- Looks like marble. Quartzite is perfect for those who love the look of marble but want a more durable surface with less maintenance. It is actually a harder stone than granite.
- Clean up is easy. You don’t need any special cleaners. Simple soap and water will do the job!
- Durability. Quartzite is resistant to etching and resistant to stains, as long as properly sealed.
- Limited color choices. Because it is a naturally formed stone, color options are limited. Most come in shades of gray or white so if you are looking for more color in your countertops you may not be able to find what you want in quartzite.
- Cost. Quartzite is one of the more expensive stones. Because of its hardness, cutting the stone is more difficult and requires special cutters. It’s time consuming and requires a lot of skill, which drives the cost up.
- Maintenance. Quartzite does need to be sealed on an annual basis to prevent staining.
There are pros and cons to every type of countertop material. Choosing the right material for your remodel can make all the difference in your enjoyment of the space. Remember to consider not only how it will look, but also how you will use your countertop to determine the best choice. Your remodeling professional can also help guide you to the right material for your family.