Kitchen renovations and remodeling projects usually come right at the top of peoples’ list of things that they would like to do around the house. After all, these days the kitchen is the place that many of us spend most of our time, in a busy world the kitchen tends to become the center of the home, not just for cooking but for eating and “hanging out” as well.

Choosing just the right counter tops can make or break a kitchen remodel. Theses days though there are so many different options available it can be very hard to know where to start! Here though is some information about the most popular kitchen counter top materials available today and their pros and cons:

granite countertops

Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are very popular among homeowners due to the striking beauty and high durability they offer. Once they are polished during the manufacturing stage, the high gloss will last a lifetime. Hot cookware can be place directly on granite counter tops without harming the surface.

The Pros: Comes in an amazing array of colors. Very durable, resists staining and heat very well. Is considered to be the hardest counter top material available. Will increase the value of your home.

The Cons: Prone to cracking if not properly installed. Expensive.

butcher block countertops

Butcher Block Countertops

Besides being very pretty to look at, butcher block countertops are extremely durable. They are available in a wide range of natural grains and colors which means that this type of counter top would look nice in any type of kitchen – be it modern or traditional.

quartz countertops

Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are man-made surfaces which people choose due to the naturally beautiful luster they provide. These counters achieve a deep, three dimensional appearance. They are are very hard and durable, making them ideal working surfaces.

wood coutertops

Wood Countertops

A wood countertop offers a warm alternative to stone and quartz and a richer look than laminate. They come in a wide variety of colors, grains and textures so regardless if your kitchen is brand new or 100 years old, it would look nice with a counter top made of wood.

Wood countertops are a great choice from a design point of view for those who are going for a rustic look in their homes. They may not be a very eco friendly choice though unless you opt for recycled wood.

The Pros: Smooth and beautiful, scratches and nicks are easy to sand away. Natural antibacterial properties can make fro a healthier kitchen. Often a more durable choice than laminate or tile.

The Cons: Have to be oiled and varnished properly to maintain their looks. Can be quite easily damaged by excess moisture and stained by brightly colored liquids/foods.

Stainless Steel Countertops

Stainless Steel Countertops

The perennial choice for restaurant and commercial kitchens for those who like a modern look for their home stainless steel countertops can be an excellent choice.

The Pros: Resists heat and staining, easy to care for, can be a very bold design statement.

The Cons: Very noisy. tend to dent easily and scratches can become a problem. Custom fabrication is expensive. may rust over time.

recycled glass countertops

Recycled Glass Countertops

Recycled glass countertops are considered to be one of the most eco friendly choices available at the moment as well as one of the most beautiful.

The Pros: Very beautiful, every countertop is different. Uses recycled materials so is a very green choice. Durable and heat resistant.

The Cons: Expensive, only a little cheaper than granite.

Engineered Stone countertops

Engineered Stone Countertops

Engineered stone countertops are made from a natural quartz and mixed with a resin to bind it all together.

The Pros: Available in a great many colors. Resists stains very well and is quite easy to take care of on a daily basis.

The Cons: Rather expensive, especially if you choose custom fabrication.

Ceramic Tile Countertops

Ceramic Tile Countertop

Ceramic tile is often a very popular choice with homeowners who are looking for something different to laminates but still looking to save money.

The Pros: Can be created in any color or pattern the homeowner desires. Very durable and can withstand heat very well, easy to install and can even be considered a DIY project. Another relatively inexpensive choice.

The Cons: Grout lines can become very dirty and hard to get clean. Prone to cracking and chipping.

concrete countertops

Concrete Countertops 

One of the most attractive features of concrete countertops is the fact that they are not mass produced in factories. Rather they are crafted by experienced contractors. Concrete counter tops are very earth-friendly and they are available in a great many colors and with many finishes, making them a top choice for any kitchen.

The Pros: Have an unusual look and can be tinted to any color a homeowner chooses as well as crafted into any shape. Heat and stain resistant and very durable.

The Cons: have to be sealed to make them non porous, can be rather expensive.

corian countertops

Corian Countertops

Corian countertops are made from plastic resins which can be pigmented in practically any color. They are quite affordable and are ideal to use in kitchens which make use of unusual color schemes. This type of countertop is very easy to keep clean and there are many textures to choose from
Soapstone countertops

Soapstone countertops

Soapstone is a natural stone and has been used in homes as a counter top material for centuries.

The Pros: Beautiful deep colors. Somewhat stain resistant. Very long lasting and durable.

The Cons: May darken over time. Needs to be treated with mineral oil on a regular basis to prevent cracking.

laminate countertops

Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops come in a seemingly endless variety of colors and patterns at low, affordable prices. It can be formed into a seamless back-splash to keep spills from seeping behind cabinets. A laminate counter is strong but it can be damaged with scorching or by knives so care must be used with this type of working surface

The Pros: Come in lots of colors, fairly easy to clean, inexpensive and easy to find.

The Cons: Very visible seams, chips and cracks are almost impossible to repair.

marble countertops

Marble Countertops

Marble countertops are among the most highly prized working surfaces for kitchens . In addition to being very beautiful to look at, marble counter tops are very long lasting as they can stand up to regular use. It can be expected to endure for hundreds of years if cared for properly.

Although very beautiful marble is also very expensive so it is rare to see more than an accent counter top (such as a kitchen island) in marble in a residential kitchen

The Pros: Its beauty and durability. Completely waterproof and heat resistant.

The Cons: Very expensive. may need resealing to prevent water damage.

When choosing the right countertop for your kitchen it is important to keep function as well as form in mind. Budget should be a consideration as well but you do have to look at the “big picture”. Granite for instance, will initially be a  more expensive choice than laminate but it will probably outlast you, where the useful lifetime of a laminate countertop is far shorter.

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