kitchen design

What Are the Pros and Cons of the Top Countertop Materials?

Selecting the material for your new kitchen countertops isn’t always a simple task. There’s a lot more to think about than just how great it looks with your design. You have to consider a variety of other factors, such as how long it will last and what upkeep is required to maintain its resilience? Some of the most popular materials used for kitchen counters includes granite, marble, stainless steel and laminate, to name a few.

If you’re getting ready to redesign your kitchen, then you should do some research to see which of them would best suit your kitchen and your lifestyle.

Here’s a quick guide into the pros and cons of the top countertop materials on the market today

Counters Made of Steel

Stainless steel happens to be the material of choice for professional chefs, but it’s also gaining popularity in homes. Stainless steel is beautiful and provides a sense of cleanliness that other countertop materials don’t provide. It’s a hardworking surface, making it perfect for homeowners who like to cook a lot. It’s capable of withstanding the abuse chefs put it through, which proves it’s designed to endure.

The pros of this material is that it is very durable, easy to clean and lasts a long time. It’s also sustainable, so if you’re into eco-friendly designs, then consider going stainless. The downsides is that it’s not cut out for the perfectionist. There will be fingerprints, watermarks and scratches to deal with, which can make keeping it clean a bit of a chore.

You can clean stainless steel counters using a mild detergent, or a bit of vinegar or baking soda mixed with water.

Stylish Marble Counters

Marble is and likely always will be the material of choice for glamorous kitchens. If you’re all about style, then marble is a good choice. A lot of people like the fact that it develops patina over time. Another upside is that it is quite durable, but not as durable as granite. This brings us to the downside – because marble is a softer stone, it tends to scratch and stain more easily.

It’s the perfect choice for kitchens with a timeless and classic design. White marble is a popular choice, but there are other color options to consider. Just make sure to keep acidic foods away from it because it can cause the surface to etch.

Maintenance for marble counters should be kept to using a soft cloth with warm water. Only use cleaners that are specifically designed for marble stone, since many detergents can cause the marble to grow dull.

Man-Made Counters with Quartz

The vast variety of engineered quartz options that are readily available makes this one of the most popular options on the market today. Some of the varieties include honed, polished, apple green, ecru, traditional, flecked, modern or patterned. Finding something that suits your style is key.

It’s made with roughly 90 to 95 percent ground quartz and the rest is pigments and resins. Some of the brands people purchase from include Silestone, Casesarstone, Cambria and Zodiaq.

Because of its engineering, these countertops are just as durable as granite stone. It’s nonporous, so you don’t have to worry too much about stains and scratches. The downside is that it’s not resistant to heat, so you’ll need to have trivets around when cooking. It is, however, an environmentally-friendly option, since the production of the stone produces low chemical emissions.

The maintenance for engineered quartz tends to be simple, requiring no waxes or sealants. All you need is some soap and water for routine cleanings.

The Oh-So-Popular Granite Counters

Everyone speaks so grandly about granite countertops. They’re all over design magazines and television networks. There’s good reason why they’re such a popular choice – it’s beautiful to look at and it’s tough. The color variations offered for granite counters can be enticing for many homeowners who are looking for more leeway to design their kitchen spaces. You can find granite in natural hues and even the more rarer colors like blue.

One downside is that the price of granite can grow steep, especially during certain times of the year when they are in high demand. There are also certain varieties that contain semiprecious stones, which can also increase the cost of slab. It’s important to have the stone properly sealed in order to ensure its durability.

A “Penny for Your Thought” Counters

There are some homeowners out there opting for kitchen counters made with copper. However, you’ll normally find these inside of labs. It’s not an ideal material for folks who are perfectionists, since it can react differently to various substances, causing discolorations. One good thing about copper counters is that they’re easy to clean. All you need is a bit of lemon juice and salt, rinsed with clean water. You can also use warm water and a regular dish detergent. It’s also pretty resistant to bacteria. If you like this quality, then you need to ensure that the slab you’re purchasing is registered with the EPA as being antimicrobial.

However, since copper is a living surface, it undergoes oxidation, which causes patina to develop. Unless properly sealed, over time, it becomes dull and will begin to turn red, brown and green. It’s an okay choice for environmentally-friendly people, since much of copper can be salvaged from scrap yards.

A to Zinc Kitchen Counters

Metal counters are almost as popular as stone. One in particular is zinc. You can find this being implemented in modern kitchens countertops throughout the U.S. It adds a nice touch of warmth to the kitchen setting, but note that the tone can darken over time, adding patina. Like copper, zinc is known for being antimicrobial, making it ideal for cooking spaces.

It is resistant to stains, so no worries about spills and splatters. One downside though is that zinc is a softer metal, which means it can be molded into various shapes and with varying edge treatments. You can have it hammered to add a bit of texture as well.

Whatever material you decide to purchase for your kitchen, make sure to assess the pros and cons!

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