Most people associate kitchen countertops with granite, marble, or quartz, but there are other materials available. Sure, these three are the most popular because they have proven to give great return on investment for homeowners. As such, they top this list as the most popular and cost effective of countertop materials.
The current top favorite of homeowners and designers for kitchen countertops is an engineered product: quartz stone. Quartz countertops are not actually a new invention. It was introduced into the mainstream in the 1990s, although it was popular in Europe since the 1970s.
Quartz stone brands all use the patented Bretonstone process, although each brand add unique features to their proprietary products. The composition is at least 90% quartz, with the remaining made up of resin and pigments. Quartz stone is popular because it is very durable, readily available, hygienic, low maintenance, and comes in a wide variety of colors and designs.
The first quartz stone products sought to mimic the look of granite and marble, but top brands have since developed slabs that are unique to quartz stone. Quartz countertops are slightly more expensive than granite at an average of $70 a square foot, installed.
Despite falling to the number two slot in the countertop market behind quartz, the margin is quite narrow. Granite is still very popular with designers and homeowners, primarily because it is a natural product. It gives quartz a good run for its money in terms of durability and beauty. In addition, granite has an advantage over quartz because it is heat resistant and suitable for outdoor use.
Granite is the ideal material for countertops. It appeals to purists and those concerned about the environment, because it is a green product. It is also more affordable than quartz at an average of $40 a square foot, installed.
Quartz and granite are the top choices for busy homeowners because they are low maintenance and durable. However, marble maintains its status as a luxury material because of its associations with elegance and beauty. The only problem with marble countertops is it reacts badly to the presence of acid, although a good sealer greatly mitigates this drawback.
Marble is the preferred material for pastry tables because it is always a few degrees cooler than the ambient temperature. You will also often see it in bars and entertainment areas. Good quality Italian marble costs around $100 per square foot, installed.
Solid surface is a manmade material that enjoyed a brief spell of popularity when it first came out. Made chiefly from acrylic, solid surface slabs can last for many years with reasonable care. Some products may include an integrated sink, which is currently popular with some homeowners looking for a seamless look in the kitchen. That said, integrated sinks are also available in granite, marble, and quartz.
Solid surface are a good option for kitchen countertops if you are looking for something not too polished. Expect to pay from $50 to $70 a square foot for solid surface countertops.
Wood countertops waned in popularity when granite, marble, and then later quartz stone appeared in the market. This is chiefly because it was difficult to maintain wood countertops.
That said, wood countertops are very attractive, and look especially well in country and rustic kitchen designs. They give kitchens a warm and cozy atmosphere, and they look better with age with careful maintenance. This is why many some people still integrate wood into their kitchen countertops. Expect to pay between $30 and $100 a square foot for wood countertops, depending on the wood species.
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock like marble, but made from talk rather than limestone. These colors are mostly shades of gray with a nice, milky sheen to it. It feels soapy in texture, hence the name, and is a relatively soft stone. It is still very durable, though, and looks well in minimalist and modern kitchen designs. The limitation in colors does make it somewhat difficult to use in anything other than black or white palettes. Soapstone countertops cost an average of $50 a square foot.
Kitchen countertops can be one or more materials, so this list should help you choose what you need for your kitchen. If you are considering granite, marble, and quartz countertops, contact KNC Granite. We are a local company servicing the areas of Maryland and Virginia. We have a large collection of natural stones and engineered stones from which to choose.
You can check actual granite and marble slabs at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland, as well as representative samples for engineered stone from the top brands in the industry including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties.
We deal directly with stone manufacturers and fabricators, so we can give you the best prices possible. In fact, we have a best price guarantee.
Additionally, you only pay for what you use, so it does not matter how big or small your project is; you will not be forced to buy a whole slab.
We do not only supply top-quality stones, however. We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities. Also we specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget.
Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote!