Planning on remodeling the kitchen soon? Not sure what kind of countertop to get? Confused by all the different materials available? Here is a quick guide to the most popular choices.
Smooth, durable, and offering seamless construction, solid surface countertops are great for large areas. The nonporous surface is water-resistant, but not totally heatproof. Scratches can be sanded away. Expect to pay $35 to $85 per square foot.
For those who love the warm look of wood, Butcher Block may be the answer. Typically made from rock maple, oak or cherry, you'll have to oil it regularly to maintain its look. It can develop scratches, and it is not very stain or heat resistant. Fortunately, it can be repaired by sanding. The price is around $30 per square foot.
Granite is beautiful, tough, long lasting and pricey. It is highly resistant to heat and scratching, and it is also easy to clean. Because it is porous, it must be resealed from time to time. Ranging in price from $100 to $300 per linear foot, granite offers a classic look that never goes out of style.
Available in countless different styles and colors, tile countertops allow for the most versatile range of design. Tile is stain and heat resistant, but it is prone to chipping and cracking. Its uneven surface makes it less than ideal for some kitchen tasks, so tile is actually more commonly used for the backsplash,rather than for the actual countertop. Prices start at $5 per square foot.
Very economical, laminates such as Formica and Nevamar are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. They are easy to install, easy to clean, durable and attractive. Unfortunately, laminates are not very heat resistant, and if damaged, cannot be repaired. Prices range from $5 to $30 per square foot.
The material of choice for commercial kitchens, stainless steel is perfect for achieving a contemporary, modern look. Water and heat can do it virtually no harm. It can be scratched, but scratches over time fade and become less visible. Stainless steel costs about $150 per linear foot.
A modern invention, Engineered Stone (or New Quartz, as it is sometimes referred to) seems to be an almost ideal countertop material. It is resistant to stains, scratches, heat, water and mildew. It is easy to clean and care for. It is available in many different colors, patterns and finishes. And at about $45-$65 per square foot, Engineered Stone is quite affordable, too.