Your Simple Guide to Countertop Types
Selecting countertop materials for your kitchen or bathroom is one of the most important decisions you can make during the planning and design process. We see this all of the time as people come in with their rooms already designed and the countertop material is the final step. They often regret this since their flooring, cabinet colors, and wall colors are already completed and they’re pigeonholed to select countertops that must match all of that.
We say start with your stone first, since it will inevitably be what drives much of your color selections for the rest of your room, plus there are so many other factors that go into selecting the right type of countertop materials for you and your family. Making your kitchen countertops or bathroom countertops your first decision will end up saving you time and money. Trust us!
What Are The Different Types of Countertops to Choose From?
We specialize in natural countertop materials and we also have an amazing selection of quartz countertops to choose from. There are other countertops out there, however, natural stone provides durability and a status that is unmatched. Check out the different types of countertop materials below and discover what best suits your home before making a decision:
Natural Stone Countertops
The creme de la creme in our book of all kitchen countertops or bathroom countertops. Our time in this business has allowed us to unequivocally make this statement and having an understanding of the material itself.
Granite countertops are the king of kitchen countertops and for good reason. It’s the lowest maintenance and one of, if not the most durable surfaces you can choose. The cost-effectiveness of granite isn’t too bad either, so there are lots of good options to choose from when looking at granite countertops.
Why we love it – there is a large range of colors and patterns within the granite family and the fact that it’s so heat resistant makes granite countertops the perfect choice for your kitchen. This is especially true for those who love to cook because it’s easy to clean, stain-resistant, and easy to maintain.
Say hello to the luxury status! Marble countertops are a highly coveted countertop material and for good reason. Just hearing the word marble automatically elevates you to this posh level of design and style reserved for the rich and famous. The thing about selecting a marble material is that is it doesn’t only carry with it an earmark of style but also of substance most people don’t realize. It’s true, marble is a higher maintenance countertop material, however, it’s a surface that can be sealed professionally when installed. Plus, when we think of marble we often only think of white marble. There are in fact more colors to choose from than just white, so the variety is greater than one may think.
Why we love it – marble creates a statement no matter what type of countertop you choose it for, whether your bathroom or kitchen counters. This stone material is always a solid choice and if you’re considering it, here are some things to consider before investing in this gorgeous stone.
If there was ever a countertop that came close to granite in terms of durability, maintenance and color choices, quartzite would be it. This is the hardest countertop material you can purchase and is a great choice for a kitchen countertop material. This is often an overlooked choice because of how popular granite is, but quartzite is a surface material that is resistant to heat, scratches, stains, and provides a variety of colors and patterns very similar to granite countertops.
Why we love it – you can use this countertop material pretty much anywhere because of the properties that it has as a natural stone. Quartzite surfaces are ideal for either kitchen or bathroom counters and require little maintenance.
An often forgotten choice for kitchen countertops, limestone is a natural stone that is actually a perfect choice for your kitchen. Its natural surface is highly heat resistant, and although it’s more porous, it can always be sealed to help make it more stain-resistant when installed.
Why we love it – while there isn’t a ton of color variation within the limestone family, its neutral colors like beige, make it a great choice for the types of kitchen that want to keep it simple. When picking a color, you really can’t go wrong.
Soapstone can provide lots of benefits for a variety of surfaces. Although it can be used in the kitchen, soapstone is a very smart choice for your bathroom. What many people don’t know is that it is a non-porous stone, so when it comes to bacteria, etc. soapstone surfaces don’t trap those types of things. The only thing about soapstone that makes it tough to choose is the color variety because there aren’t a ton of options to choose from.
Why we love it – it’s a great fit for all types of kitchen or bathroom surfaces and it has a resistance to stains and chemicals which benefits any homeowner.
Butcher Block Countertops
The appeal for installing a butcher block countertop for your kitchen countertop is the ability to cut directly on the surface. Plus, being heat resistant, hot pots can be set on a butcher block countertop without any issue. There are all sorts of different types of wood that can be used for this type of kitchen countertop which includes: cherry, oak, maple, walnut, or even teak. These countertop materials don’t come without their share of maintenance though and especially with wood, bacteria can easily flourish if not taken care of properly.
Using a mineral oil treatment monthly is the way to help maintain your butcher block countertop and to make sure that it ages gracefully with time. Without proper treatment, a butcher block countertop will crack and discolor, leaving a less than desirable look in your kitchen.
Stainless Steel Countertops
Stainless steel countertops are a very popular choice for a commercial kitchen, but also considered trendy in a residential kitchen, as well. In addition to providing an industrial look, stainless steel countertops are also fairly low maintenance. When cleaned properly, these countertops are fairly easy to maintain with just soap and water. Leaving spills for any period of time makes them harder to clean, but when done well these countertops have a beautiful shine to them.
The major downfall to these is that they show fingerprints and smudges constantly, so if you have kids anywhere near them, forget keeping them clean.
Quartz is an engineered solid surface that is man-made with a very natural look. Quartz countertops are very popular especially for high traffic families who love cooking and spend loads of time in the kitchen. Solid Surface kitchen countertops that are maintenance-free are the best, especially if you’re the one doing most of the cleaning. Quartz countertops come in a pretty fair range of colors, providing you with different patterns and design looks among other benefits.
The great thing about quartz is that it’s incredibly durable and doesn’t require any resealing upon installation. We are seeing more homeowners investing in quartz countertops because it has the look of natural stone they want plus the benefits of a long-lasting man-made solid surface. There’s a lot to love about quartz, engineered solid surface countertops.
Although it’s easy to think of Formica when you think about laminate countertops but the cheaper-looking countertops of yesteryear are just that, a thing of the past. Sure, these countertops don’t carry the clout of a granite countertop surface or kitchen, but if your budget won’t allow you to upgrade then this is a decent alternative.
The newer looks of laminate countertops provide the more natural look of a wood or natural surface countertop without blowing your whole kitchen budget. The positives of laminate countertops are that it’s easy to clean with soap and water without any type of resealing maintenance but it is not heat resistant. This synthetic countertop material will damage with heat, so keep that in mind when choosing a laminate kitchen surface.
Thanks to Joanna Gaines, this choice for a countertop material skyrocketed to popularity and has been making itself at home as a kitchen surface across the country. Concrete countertops bring with them a specific look and style that can upgrade a kitchen from meh to marvelous. The single biggest benefit of having countertops made of concrete is that it’s nearly indestructible.
The downside is that it takes at least twenty-eight days for concrete to dry so if you’re on a tight remodeling schedule, then this is something to think about. Also, these countertops need to be sealed and when a home begins to settle, the concrete countertops can crack.
Choosing the Best Countertop Edge for My Kitchen
When it comes to details like the edge of your kitchen countertop, it’s really more about your personal style than anything else. There are some materials that are easier to cut given a specific edge, but overall it’s more about what you want in your kitchen.
Full-Bull Nose Edge
This is a classic edge that is soft and rounded and brings a nice smooth look to your kitchen countertops. Edges like these will never go out of style no matter if you put them in your kitchen or even your bathroom. It can be created with any material for any type of surface and can also be altered to a Half-Bull Nose or even a Double-Bull Nose.
Edges like this are elegant and reserved more for a traditional kitchen. It is a concave look and the profile of this will make any kitchen countertop stand out.
This can also be known as a chiseled edge and it can bring out a very natural and raw look to your kitchen countertop. The sharpness of these edges creates a natural rock look ideal for rugged styles.
The edges you have to choose from for your kitchen countertops fit a variety of styles, so you should have no problem choosing what’s perfect for your kitchen!
Choosing the Right Countertop Materials for Your Custom Kitchen
Whether you’re jumping into a remodel for your kitchen or building it from scratch, selecting the right kitchen countertop is a lot of pressure. There are so many factors to think about when it comes to countertop materials and choosing the wrong one will stay with you for a long time. The investment into kitchen countertops flows into areas beyond just your bank account, but it will affect the day-to-day operation of your home. When you think about it like that, yeah, the pressure is on!
When deciding which type of countertop materials mentioned above could be right for you, think about your own personal family. Are you doing that? Ok, good. Now, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much time do we spend in the kitchen?
- Do I entertain a lot with friends and family?
- How often do we cook?
- What’s our budget?
- Are we high maintenance people or low maintenance people?
- What’s our style?
These questions are a great starting point because they give practical answers to what your daily activity is like as a family. If you are a family who likes to entertain, especially around the kitchen which most people consider the heart of the home, then you need a kitchen countertop material to match.
A kitchen countertop is often a reflection of what type of person you are. Similar to how dogs resemble their owners, one can usually see themselves in their own kitchen countertop. It’s usually a style thing when it comes to selecting your kitchen countertop, but taking into consideration all of the practical uses of it on a daily basis is extremely important.
Working with Unique Stone Concepts when Choosing Your Countertops
When it comes to selecting the best natural stone countertops, our expertise has served many happy homeowners across the midwest region. Our selection of granite and marble slabs on our showroom floor is unmatched and can provide you with the variety you need to perfect your vision.
Our designers will help work with you when selecting the most durable kitchen countertop materials, and answer any of your questions, no matter how many of them you may have. From selection to installation, we will work with you every step of the way to help bring your unique vision to life.
Please call us at any of our six locations with any questions about bathroom or kitchen countertops and how we can best fit your needs.