Counter Top Materials

Choosing the right counter top material for your kitchen or bathroom is an important decision. After all, it’s where you clean up and prepare food, and also has an effect on your home’s value.

 

Granite. Granite countertops are among the most elegant materials available. They’re also among the most expensive. But if you are up for it, the natural stone has outstanding strength and other beautiful qualities. Granite is highly resistant to scratches and heat, making it an asset to cooking. One downside to granite is that it must be sealed because it is a porous stone and absorbs fluid. If not sealed, it can harbor bacteria. This only needs to be done every 10 to 15 years, however. Granite can run between $100 and $225 per square foot.

 

Quartz. Known as “engineered stone,” quartz countertops are made from about 90-93% quartz crystals, but are fabricated instead of cut from solid stone. Quartz countertops maintain all of the advantages of natural stone, such as durability, hardness, and beauty, in addition to overcoming stone’s natural weakness. They are not porous so they will not harbor bacteria, and come in a wider range of colors compared to granite. Less per square foot next to granite, quartz will run about $100 to $190 per square foot.

 

Laminate. Laminate countertops are among the most popular surfaces because of their affordability ($20 to $50 per square foot) and widest range of colors and patterns. Comprised of hard particleboard core and layers of plastic laminate bonded over top, laminate surfaces are tough and fairly durable.

 

Butcher Block. Rising in popularity in recent years are butcher block counter tops . They are excellent surfaces for food preparation and are often used in conjunction with other surfaces like granite and quarts. Many choose to surface an island with butcher block, while countertops under cabinets remain another material. Because of the wide variety of woods available, prices range anywhere from $30 to $200 per square foot.

 

It’s important to consider how much maintenance you’re willing to accommodate when selecting a countertop. Families with young children often opt for less expensive surfaces, while avid foodies require more elaborate options.