Aberdeen, SD (Vocus) July 26, 2010
Choosing a new countertop can be a bewildering task. There are so many different materials, colors and patterns to choose from. Each has their advantages and disadvantages and they all have a different “look”. Home remodeling franchise, Kitchen Tune-Up offers a quick breakdown of the options available.
This is the basic countertop. Popular brands include Formica, Wilsonart and Pyonite. Basically, they are all of equal quality and price. They come in different finishes as well (matte, satin, gloss) and there are hundreds of colors and patterns available.
Laminate is the lowest priced countertop by far, but that is not to say low quality. Laminate countertops can last for 30 years and there are many attractive colors and patterns.
Pros: Cost, availability, ease of install
Cons: Considered a budget conscious choice. The substrate is very susceptible to water damage; laminate is very difficult to repair, susceptible to heat and scratching
Solid Surface (Acrylic, Polyester, of a blend)
There are several brands offering essentially the same product. Some brands you may have heard of are Corian (from DuPont), Staron (from Samsung), Wilsonart, and Formica.
Acrylics and polyesters are plastics. The plastic is molded into the shape of a countertop. Various materials are blended in to produce interesting colors and patterns.
Pros: Unique fabrication options, scratches can be easily buffed out.
Cons: Made to look like stone but really isn’t, scratches easily, susceptible to heat damage, 2 to 4 times more expensive than laminate.
You may have heard of Silestone, Cambria, Zodiac, Formica Stone, Ceasar Stone and Han Stone. These products are 93% real quartz that is “glued” back together. For an artificial product, it looks the most like real stone.
These products are very durable and are as maintenance-free as a countertop can be. These products are non-porous and certified for commercial food applications by the National Sanitary Foundation (NSF). You almost cannot hurt these products without intentionally trying. In rare cases they can “flake” but are easily repaired.
Pro: Non-porous, look like real stone, maintenance-free as they come, very popular, usually considered an upgrade in the resale market.
Cons: None really other than price (3 to 4 times the cost of other materials)
Comment: These products have a very uniform look, which some consider this a “Pro” others consider it a “Con”.
What can we say? This is considered high end and every piece is unique. It is available in many colors that are priced competitively to the engineered stone or the solid surface products. There are also many colors that are much more expensive.
Much is made of the need to seal and then periodically reseal granite. The process is simple, requiring only a few minutes of time every 6 months to 2 years, depending on use and color. The difficult part (for some families) is remembering to do it.
Pros: Uniqueness, beauty of real stone can not be matched, about 120 color choices priced competitively.
Cons: Requires limited maintenance.
Comment: You must go to a slab store and select your own piece(s), although some customers think this is a PRO, and really fun to do. NEVER select granite from small samples. Also, be careful not to overspend the value.
Priced with quartz and granite or higher! There are some really neat special effects and colors that can be molded into the concrete. It too is porous and needs maintenance like granite.
There are three distinct types of concrete countertops. First is a poured countertop (and yes it can look like a sidewalk). The second has chunks of colored rock mixed in and is then formed into a countertops, It actually resembles quartz countertops but with a satin or matte finish.
The third type is a very artistic molded and dyed look. The finished product looks like a chunk of real rock. This is a rustic look, but in the correct setting is absolutely beautiful.
Pros: Unique. Can be formed into literally any shape.
Cons: Very expensive. Requires sealing just like granite.
Comment: Concrete is an interesting experiment. It may be a trend that hurts your re-sale value.
Wood countertops are beautiful. Exotic species such as Teak can be had at prices competitive with granite or quartz countertops. Wood allows for a completely different set of design options.
However, wood is well wood. It can be cut, scratched, and burnt. Perhaps not suited for the main work area, however it can be an excellent choice on the island.
Price covers a wide range. The exotics can cost as much or more than granite, but they are usually more durable in a kitchen than domestic woods.
Pros: Beautiful. It can be fabricated into any shape.
Cons: Moderate to high priced depending on species. Can be damaged.
Stainless can make a beautiful statement in a kitchen. It is expensive, but is extremely durable. It does require extra care in selecting cabinet and floor styles so your kitchen does not look like a school cafeteria. Stainless steel is not known for a “warm” look, so you need to make up for that with your other decorating choices.
Keep it Clean
Much is said about bacteria growth and cleanliness of different countertop surfaces. Here is the bottom line. If you clean your countertop it will be clean. If you do not, it will be dirty and a potential health hazard. It does not matter what material you choose.
Need help deciding what countertop is your best option? Visit kitchentuneup.com and check out the many different options and services available.
About Kitchen Tune-Up –Kitchen Tune-Up specializes in home remodeling. They offer wood reconditioning “Tune-Ups”, cabinet refacing and redooring, custom cabinetry and closet organization. Kitchen Tune-Up has been ranked Entrepreneur Magazine’s #1 home remodeling franchise for 20 years and has more than 200 franchises in the United States and Canada. Learn about franchise territories that are available nationwide and in Canada at kitchentuneup.com or ktufranchise.com .