Maybe you’ve stared at those kitchen countertops for too long. Or, maybe you’ve just moved into a house with dated or worn countertops and you’re looking to install something fresh. Whatever your reason, you’re looking at different types of kitchen countertops and wondering, “What’s best for our house?”
To maintain, or not to maintain?
One question we often ask people who start looking at different types of kitchen countertops is, “How much time do you want to spend maintaining your house?” Often times, the answer is, “Well, not very much.” We often find that people want to spend less time cleaning, prepping and maintaining and more time living. In these cases, we often recommend a quartz countertop and see about 70% of our clients select it as their new surface.
Quartz offers the natural look of stone without needing to be treated. Between 92 and 96% of a quartz countertop is made of actual stone. Resin makes up the rest and fills in the porous areas of the stone. Manufacturers also add colors, sparkles, you name it. They can get pretty creative. In fact, you can even get a quartz countertop that mimics the look of granite.
With a nearly impermeable surface, quartz repels stains. For a busy household, quartz needs very little maintenance which makes it one of the most “easy to live with” materials on the market. If something does happen to it – a small chip or a scratch – resin can be applied to fix it. Quartz also doesn’t scorch, however, it’s not indestructible. We still recommend hot pads or trivets. Quartz can be heat shocked causing it to crack, but other than that, there really are no downsides to quartz.
What about granite?
The organic look and feel of granite often grabs people’s attention. It carries a lot of character. Granite, however, varies. It is truly natural stone and with that comes veining and varies. When you choose granite, you must be willing to accept some variance. You can control some of it when you pick out your slab, but because it’s natural stone, don’t expect perfection.
Granite needs more maintenance. You must reseal it every three years in order for it to maintain its luster and repel stains. We also recommend always using trivets or hot pads on granite. It’s more permeable than quartz and can also be heat shocked. You can also repair it with resin if you scratch or chip it.
On occasion, we do see people use limestone, soapstone, marble and concrete. All four products need more care than granite or quartz. The look of these materials can be incredible, but it really needs to be properly cared for. Limestone can be pretty organic looking. We’ve seen some that have fossils in them. If you like a matte finish, limestone may be worth looking at. It is, however, super porous.
Marble makes a beautiful choice, but we generally recommend it for a guest bath or some where with lower traffic. Marble doesn’t do well with acids, chemicals and even water glasses. If you don’t mind etching and/or staining, it can be a lovely choice.
Go ahead and set anything hot on soapstone. It can handle it. Just don’t rub it with your sleeve button. It scratches super easily and the scratches show through. Soapstone surface is generally dark but the scratches come out white.
Concrete has been trendy the past few years, but if it’s not cured and sealed properly, you’ll be bummed. Concrete has very visible seams, it can peel off and chip off. Once measurements are taken, it can take nearly 3 weeks to install.
Stop in and chat
As you’re looking for different types of countertops, why not stop in and talk with us. We’d love to help you learn more about countertop styles and materials.