Kitchen Countertops - What Kind of Countertops Work Best?
Kitchen Design Trends for New Custom Homes
Stone, stone-look laminate, marble, concrete, tile or solid surface – compare and contrast today's most popular kitchen countertop selections.
Granite Countertops – Compare and Contrast Kitchen Countertops
Granite is a natural product harvested from quarries. Colors and patterns vary depending on the geological processes in the region where they are quarried.
Granite is a more expensive countertop option, with prices starting at about 3-4 times the cost of laminate. Because this is a natural material, selections are not made from a color chart. Buyers can select from samples representative of a type of granite, or choose a unique individual slab from which their countertop will be carefully cut. There are a variety of edges – including bullnose, radius, straight, and bevel – are available at no additional charge, while upgraded edges can include a full bullnose and ogee (graceful serpentine curve).
Granite is fairly resistant to heat and scratches. If damaged, it may be possible to polish the countertop, since it is made of the same material throughout. The material must be resealed about every five years to protect it from stains, and careful attention must be paid to the natural stone seams.
Marble Countertops – Compare and Contrast Kitchen Countertops
Marble is another 100% natural product. It is not as popular as other kitchen countertop materials, because it’s lime-stone base makes it less resistant to stains from oils and acids.
Like granite, marble comes in slabs that are always different because they come from a natural source.
The cost of marble is a little higher than granite, and the seam and sealing processes are identical.
Quartz, or Engineered Stone – Compare and Contrast Kitchen Countertops
This is one of the newest countertop products, and is becoming increasingly popular. Quartz is actually a quartz composite, made of quartz, colored pebbles, polymers, and epoxy. About 97% of the composite is quartz. The other 7% is pigments and resins. Natural granite is only about 50% quartz, which is very high on the hardness scale – only diamonds, topaz and sapphires are harder!
Quartz comes in many more colors than natural stone and has a more even pattern.
The cost is very similar to granite. It doesn’t need to be sealed, and is more resistant to stains, scratches, and other damage. Seams are less noticeable due to the consistency of the pattern.
Stainless Steel – Compare and Contrast Kitchen Countertops
Stainless steel is also becoming a popular option in higher-end homes. It is one of only a few countertop materials that can be safely bleached, and heat will not hurt it.
Brushed and/or textured finishes are available to help hide scratches. In some cases, the sink can be created with the countertop for a totally seamless one-piece installation. All this comes with a price tag – steel countertops cost about twice as much as granite.
What’s the bottom line on countertop costs?
All countertop pricing is determined by square footage. Most standard countertops are 2 ¼ feet wide. To find out how much countertop you need, take the length of the countertop and multiply by the width. Then multiply the total square footage by the cost per square foot for the desired material. This will give you the starting point.
But there are additional considerations as well.
The cost of backsplashes depends on material and style, as does the edge of the countertop – which can all be customized in different materials.
Even the type of sink makes a difference in countertop cost. An under-counter mount requires a more finished edge around the sink, which raises the cost for some materials. Additional sinks or other cut outs can add to labor and installation expenses, as well.
Custom home builders like Stanton Homes can walk you through the costs when you plan your home, so you can decide what kind of countertop you want to live with.
More Kitchen Trends and Ideas - Building Your New Custom Home:
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