When remodeling your kitchen, there will be a variety of decisions to make. You have to choose new paint colors, cabinets, appliances, and, of course, new kitchen countertops. However, choosing the right kitchen countertops can be easier said than done. Luckily, we’ve put together some tips on how to choose the best kitchen countertops for your remodel.
Consider your lifestyle
Kitchen countertops can come in many styles and materials. However, the type you choose will largely depend on how you will use your countertops. For instance, if you spend a lot of time cooking, then you’ll want material that is durable. However, if your kitchen is more for hosting than for kitchen, then durability will be less of a factor.
Understand the main types of countertops
There are many different materials that countertops can come from. In general, however, you will find three categories:
- Engineered Stone: Also known as quartz countertops, these are the most durable of all, and therefore the most popular. They are 100% man-made but meant to look like natural stone. They are extremely durable, come in many patterns, colors, and finishes, and they never have to be sealed. They are generally stronger than natural stone products as they have no natural fissures or physical defects in them, so you can achieve larger overhangs and spans with little or no support.
- Solid Wood: We’re not just talking “maple butcherblock”. We’re talking gorgeous slabs (and other cuts) of walnut, wenge, zebrawood, sapele mahogany, and just about any other species. They can be built from end cut (the best for chopping), edge grain, or flat grain cuts of wood. You can take advantage of “live” edges, burls, and other special and natural effects in the wood. Wood countertops are rising in popularity mainly due to improved “lifetime / permanent” finishes that require little or no maintenance. Of course, you can also get them in their natural un-sealed state and then periodically oil them. This option allows you to sand out scratches, and is best if you plan to cut or chop on your countertops.
- Natural Stone: Includes granite, limestone, soapstone, and marble. These materials come directly from the earth, so most have fissures and other natural imperfections and irregularities. So long as they are sealed periodically, they can be fairly durable, but are higher maintenance than quartz. Quartzite (also a natural stone) is gorgeous but can be very brittle and easily chips, especially along the edges. It’s fine for a tabletop that will be edged in wood, etc., but still can be very difficult to work with.
Think about aesthetics as well as function
Function matters, but so does style. You want to ensure that your countertops will match the color scheme and style that you’re planning for your kitchen. Before you commit to a specific countertop, bring home a few samples so you can see how it looks against your backsplash, cabinets, and paint colors.