tile materials

Top 8 Materials for Counter Tops

So, you want to redo your kitchen counters before the cold weather arrives but aren’t sure which material is best for you and your home? Here’s our quick guide to all things countertops to help you on the road to renovation!

Laminate.

It’s inexpensive, simple to install, and looks pretty good too. Like laminate flooring, this layered paper and composite chip wood product is treated with resin and pressed together under high heat and pressure. It’s one of the cheapest options at 35-$45 per square foot. However, it scratches and chips easily and may begin to swell if exposed to large amounts of water.

Solid Surface.

A layer-free, manmade material, solid surface is just that: a solid surface. While not as inexpensive as laminate, it’s not at the highest price point either. It’s also somewhat repairable; while it can be scratched or gouged, it can also be sanded to hide any damage. Unfortunately, it does have a plastic look and feel, and can crack or scorch if exposed to high heat, like from a hot pot or pan.

Engineered Stone/Quartz.

A relatively new product, this type of product is made up of 10% binding resins and 90% stone-like materials, such as waste natural stone, glass, mirrors, and silica. It’s solid and sturdy like real stone but is similar to solid-surface materials in function. Beautiful and potentially eco-friendly, it’s admittedly pricier than other options.

Natural Stone/Slab Granite.

Marble, granite, and soapstone are just a few natural countertop options. No manufacturing here: this stuff is sliced directly from the earth! However, it’s not cheap, at a cost ranging from $50 to $100 per square foot. Beautiful and timeless, this material will always be in style and will most likely add to the resale value of your home. However, because it’s naturally porous, it will require sealing as it can easily stain or crack under heavy weight.

Ceramic Tile.

This material is incredibly cheap as far as building materials go and comes in a wide array of styles and designs too. It’s a DIY-er’s dream because it doesn’t require any special tools and skills. However, that doesn’t necessarily equate to easy installation. It’s a very visible material, so any mistakes will be obvious. At just $5 per square foot, it’s the cheapest option on the market. However, you’ll have to deal with seams, which can be difficult to clean, as well as regular re-sealing of the grout to prevent moisture buildup.

Concrete.

It’s trendy, solid, and modern…but it’s also high maintenance and expensive. It’s plusses include being heavy, solid, its ability to be tinted any color of the rainbow, formed into any desired shape (as it’s a poured product), and it has a variety of textures. However, like natural stone, it’s very porous and must be sealed on a regular basis. It’s also expensive, at $100 per square foot.

Stainless Steel.

Sleek and stylish, versatile and professional, stainless steel is a fan favorite. However, it’s priced in the range of $100-$200 per square foot, making it one of the most expensive materials on the market. Another negative is that, despite its name, it’s it is not actually stainless. It can stain easily and can even erode over time if not properly maintained and cared for.

Wood/Butcher Block.

Beautiful and warm, this material will add instant charm and character to any home. However, like any wood product, it’s susceptible to water damage, cracking, scratching, staining, cuts, and bacteria. It’s also relatively expensive. Still, it’s durable and long-lasting, as well as being relatively easy to clean, maintain, and repair.