Factors to Consider in Choosing Kitchen Countertops
You want your new kitchen countertops to fit your lifestyle as well as to look fabulous. Here are issues to consider.
The Kitchen Style you Desire: What look are you trying to achieve? There are so many to choose from. The most common are traditional, country, French country, contemporary, mission, modern, rustic, transitional and Victorian. However, you might want to choose the path less taken and strive for something like art deco, Asian, English cottage, federal, neoclassical, Mediterranean, Tudor or Tuscan. Since countertops are such a visual point, they’ll play a large role in helping you produce the look you want. To find the right material in the right style for your design, check out home shows, kitchen and bath stores, friends’ kitchens, magazines and online kitchen galleries.
How you Use Countertops: Is food preparation a passion of yours? Then, you’ll want countertops that can be used in the process. Good choices include stainless steel, quartz, solid surface, glass and laminate. If you prefer the microwave or great local restaurants, then you can go with countertops that can stain or scratch easily with heavy use such as marble, granite and wood.
The Amount of Entertaining you Do: During house parties and gatherings, a crowd tends to congregate in the kitchen. That means you’ll want something tough and durable. Stainless is hard to beat. Other good options include solid surface, porcelain, quartz, concrete, tile and laminate and granite (though encourage the use of coasters under drinks like coffee, wine and juice). Note: Granite, marble and concrete, and the grout on tile, all need to be sealed as directed by the manufacturer or installer to help maintain resistance to stains.
Kids in the House: Children might not give countertops the same level of care that you do. If you’ve got children at home, consider kid-friendly countertops such as solid surface, stainless steel, resin, butcher block and quartz. Some homeowners go with affordable laminate and wait till the kids are older to install nicer countertops that require a bit more care.
Countertop Care and Maintenance: If you want carefree countertops, then solid surface, glass, porcelain, stainless, quartz, resin and laminate are your best bets. Those requiring moderate care include tile, butcher block, reclaimed wood, concrete and lava. Granite and marble, especially marble, require the most care which includes daily cleaning, regular polishing, sealing as often as once per year and occasional chip repair. See our countertop material guides for specific information on the practices and products that will keep your countertops looking fantastic in the years ahead.
How Long you Plan to Live There: The longer you live in your home, the better value high-end countertops become. If you’re moving soon, expensive countertops will attract buyers, but you won’t recoup as much of the purchase cost when selling.