Countertops are a major investment in your home and a big selling point. New countertops can dramatically improve your kitchen’s look and functionality.
Consider your lifestyle and specific needs when selecting your countertop materials. For example, if you cook often and give your countertops heavy use, choose a non-porous material such as quartz, solid surface or glass.
1. Natural Stone
Countertops are often one of the most difficult decisions to make when it comes to remodeling a kitchen or bathroom. While painting walls and changing cabinet hardware are projects that can easily be changed by future homeowners, countertops will last for decades and can significantly affect the overall look of a room. For this reason, it is important for first time home owners to carefully consider their options to ensure they are making a wise decision that will add value and appeal to their property.
Natural stone is a popular choice for kitchen and bath countertops because of its beautiful aesthetic and durability. From granite and marble to quartzite, there are a number of options available that can complement any style of kitchen or bath. Unlike other countertop materials, natural stone has a three-dimensional quality that creates interesting patterns and light effects. It also resists scratching and is heat-resistant, so it can withstand the daily wear and tear of a busy family kitchen.
Granite and marble are among the most popular natural stone choices for homeowners due to their durability and alluring appearance. However, they require regular maintenance and can be costly, especially when compared to other materials like quartz. These types of stones are also vulnerable to chipping, and repairing cracks can be difficult.
Other natural stone options to consider include soapstone and travertine. Soapstone is a metamorphic rock that has a unique appearance and is naturally nonporous, so it resists stains better than other stones. Travertine is another type of limestone that has a similar appearance to marble and can be durable when sealed properly.
Despite being a relatively new countertop material, quartz is a popular choice among many home buyers and home builders alike. This is likely due to its unique design and durable finish. Its sleek look will elevate any room it is placed in. As a result, it can add value to your property when the time comes to sell.
Quartz countertops are engineered to be as durable and long-lasting as natural stone. They are made with 93% ground quartz that is combined with resins and pigments to bind it together. This process allows for a wide range of color options, from earth tones to vibrant blues and greens. Additionally, a variety of different patterns are available, from speckled to smooth or even incorporating visual textures and movement.
Although durable, it is important to properly care for your quartz countertops. It is recommended that you wipe them down with a non-abrasive cleaner and a damp cloth on a daily basis. This will help prevent the build-up of dirt and grime that can scratch or dull the surface. Additionally, quartz should not be exposed to excessive heat as it can become damaged or warped. If you are placing a hot pan on the counter, it is best to use an oven mitt or towel to protect the surface from damage.
Like granite, quartz is also stain-resistant. However, it is crucial to be mindful of how long spills sit on the counter, as acidic liquids (like wine or vinegar) can penetrate the surface and cause discoloration. This can be avoided by blotting away any spills as soon as they occur. It is also a good idea to apply a protective sealant once a year.
Granite countertops are an elegant addition to any kitchen and offer a high level of resistance to heat and scratches when compared to other countertop materials. They are a great choice for first time home owners who want to make a positive impression on guests and are willing to invest in a material that will last for decades.
Granite is a natural stone, so it will vary in color and pattern. It’s important to select a color that will work with the majority of design schemes and will appeal to a wide variety of people. You can also choose from a wide range of edges for your granite, including eased, bevel and bullnose. The more complex the edge profile, the higher the cost of fabrication.
One drawback of granite is its porous nature, which requires annual sealing to maintain the counters in good condition and prevent stains from oil and acidic liquids like vinegar and lemon juice. Also, the etching that is naturally occurring in most granite requires special care to minimize.
It’s also important to keep in mind that granite is a heavy material that requires professional installation. First time home owners without any remodeling or plumbing experience may be best served by another countertop material.
The granite used in countertops is mined around the world, from countries such as Brazil, Italy, India, and China. Each type of granite has a unique mineral makeup and formation process that contributes to its color, pattern and movement. Depending on where the granite is mined, it will have a different appearance and price. In general, darker granites are more expensive than lighter shades of the same material.
Concrete is one of the fastest-growing counter materials for homeowners. It’s not only durable and cost-effective, but it is also versatile in design. It can be stained, dyed and polished for a variety of looks. It can be molded into different shapes for a unique look and is able to embed other materials such as glass, ceramics, stone, seashells or fossils for personalization. It can even be reinforced with rebar for increased strength. The only limit is your imagination, according to the DIY site The Spruce. Concrete countertops often appear in farmhouse style kitchens, but they can also complement traditional and modern styles, as well as a host of other home designs. Homeowners can add honed, hand-scraped or textured finishes to their concrete countertops to soften the texture and contrast with glossy backsplashes. They can also embed functional features such as drain boards, soap dishes or trivets for a personalized touch.
Using the same basic methods for pouring concrete as in building walls, homeowners can easily make their own countertops. Start by building a form with melamine sheeting to prevent concrete from sticking to the mold. Next, use silicone caulk to seal and protect the seams. Finally, apply a layer of shoe polish inside the form to help release the concrete when the time comes. It’s important to tap the form’s sides with a rubber mallet while the concrete is still wet to help dislodge any trapped air bubbles, which can mar the surface once it cures. Also, be sure to add rebar to reinforce the countertop and increase its durability. Finally, be patient; it may take a while for the concrete to cure.
From water pipes to information transmission, copper is a popular metal used for a variety of reasons. It has natural heat and stain resistance, durability, and a unique patina that changes with age, making it an excellent choice for a kitchen countertop. It is also a good choice for those who like the look of stainless steel, but want something more durable. Unlike stainless, however, copper will show fingerprints and can be dented or scratched over time.
There are several options available for first time home owners when it comes to copper countertops. A brushed finish is a great option because it attracts fewer fingerprints and looks more rustic. If you prefer a shiny surface, opt for polished copper. Copper naturally oxidizes and reacts with oxygen, creating a range of colors, including red, green, black and brown. Alternatively, you can opt for distressed copper that has a more leathery appearance.
Another option is to faux paint your countertops using copper metallic spray paint. This is a simple project that can be done on your own by following the directions on the label of the product you choose. The key is to use the right type of paint and apply several coats. A few good choices include Rust-Oleum and Krylon specialty metal spray paints.
For those looking for a natural-looking alternative to granite, soapstone and marble are available. These earth friendly materials are not as durable as granite, but they are a good option for those who want to reduce their environmental footprint. These counters are also less expensive than other natural stone alternatives, and they can be installed much more easily than a slab of granite.