What Countertop is Best for Your Kitchen Remodel?
The kitchen is not just the heart of the home these days, it is often the showstopper! From dinner parties to baking cookies, guests and family are constantly in and out of the kitchen. And what are going to be touching the most? The countertops.
So you know you want your countertops to be amazing– but what does that actually mean? Which option is right for your family, your style, your kitchen? Don’t worry, the process doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s not about searching through the endless options available online but rather determining what is right for you. Which is exactly what we will be showing you how to do in this article.
Dream Home kitchen remodel in Issaquah, WA with leather quartz countertops.
Determining your needs
The first step in choosing your kitchen countertop is to determine what your needs are. How durable does the material need to be? Is being stain resistant going to be more important than being scratch resistant? How is it going to look in your space? Looking at the specs of your countertop options is going to get overwhelming if you don’t have a solid understanding of what you need in a countertop.
We recommend you start by asking yourself these questions…
How are you going to use your countertops?
Yes, of course you are going to use them for food prep– but what kind? Are you going to want to be able to roll your cookie dough directly on the counter? If so, you will likely want a counter with as little grout as possible. Are your kids going to make their science projects sitting at the kitchen island? Then maybe you should look for an easy to clean and durable material.
Really think about how you interact with your counters and what is going to be most important to you in the short and long-run.
How much maintenance are you willing to take on?
There is no right or wrong answer here– there are materials that require next to no maintenance and there are ones that require very specific, regular upkeep. It is important that you are realistic about how much time, effort and money you are willing to put into caring for your countertops.
But as we said, you always have options. If you are in love with the look of granite for example, which is a porous material, but you aren’t willing to have it sealed each year, you can consider quartz.
What is your style?
There’s no doubting style is an essential part of this decision! While it shouldn’t be your primary focus, style is going to help you narrow down your final choices. Think about if you want your countertops to be the primary focal point of your kitchen or if you want it to provide a neutral backdrop for other bold accents, like brightly painted cabinets. Also consider your overall aesthetic– is your kitchen modern? Farmhouse? Eclectic? Vintage? Because your countertop takes up so much physical space, it should compliment your overall design theme.
What is your budget?
Because a well maintained kitchen countertop can last for decades, we recommend that you choose a countertop primarily based on the first three questions rather than on budget. While budget is certainly a consideration, you are going to be living with this decision for years and years to come so it might be worth spending a little more on the countertops and sacrificing a less permanent aspect of your kitchen like decor or accessories.
Choosing the right material
Now that you have established what you are looking for in a countertop, you are ready to look at materials! Keep all the above questions and your answers in mind as you look at materials and remember– function is equally, if not more, important than aesthetics. If you find that you are in love with a particular look, but it doesn’t match your functional needs, this is where a professional contractor or builder can help! A good contractor will be able to listen to your design preferences and your more practical needs and make a recommendation that gets you the best of both worlds.
While there are plenty of options on the market when it comes to countertop materials, for this article we have chosen to focus on five of the most popular countertops for residential kitchens.
Dream Home kitchen remodel in Issaquah, WA with gray quartz countertops.
01: Quartz: What we know as “quartz” countertops are not actually zolid quartz slabs but instead are an engineered stone that may contain up to 93% quartz particles and other minerals.
Unlike their natural stone counterparts, quartz is practically maintenance free and they do not require annual sealing. They are also stain, acid, scratch, heat, and impact resistant. Finally, they are very versatile and customizable. They can be custom-fabricated into any size and shape and are available in a large range of colors. (All without imperfections, since they are engineered.)
02: Granite: Known for its beauty and luxurious aesthetic, granite has long been a favorite countertop material. In addition to its high end look, granite is almost impervious to heat, very strong and durable, and comes thousands of color variations. And if resale value is one of your considerations, granite is a great choice to add value to your home.
Granite does need to be sealed regularly but when done properly, it is a very low-maintenance material. Also, while granite is one of the most expensive options, the cost has come down somewhat in recent years.
Dream Home kitchen remodel in Sammamish, WA with Carrara marble countertops.
03: Marble: You’ve no doubt seen the elegant gray veining in Carrara or Calacatta marble. Whether you are scrolling for interior design inspiration on Instagram or visiting your trendy friends’ house, it is no doubt a popular choice.
This timeless stone is exceptionally elegant and each sheet has its own unique veining, giving your kitchen its own custom look! The stone itself is waterproof and heatproof but as it is porous, it is easily stained unless properly sealed. It also can be prone to scratching.
If you are in love with marble but it is out of your budget or if you need more durability in your cooking surfaces, consider using it as an accent and use it for your kitchen island or include a baking section built into your counter.
04: Tile: If you are looking for a budget conscious option with a lot of style choices, you will want to consider tile! There are nearly endless colors, styles and patterns of tile available that are heat, stain, scratch, and water resistant and easy to clean, if you don’t use grout.
Porcelain tiles are also available in large slabs so you can cover an entire kitchen counter or island in one slab, which reduces grout and seam lines. Porcelain is also available in styles that resemble wood, marble, leather and cork.
05: Soapstone: With a unique and antique aesthetic flavor, many homeowners in search of natural stone are turning to soapstone. Soapstone has a natural charm and overtime, it takes on an antique patina look.
Unlike many other natural stone options, soapstone is non-porous so it doesn’t require sealing and is more stain resistant. It does however require periodic oiling to keep it looking its best. And finally, if you are considering soapstone, do keep in mind that it can be scratched or dented, but many homeowners actually like this as it adds to the unique antique feel of the stone.
Choosing the right color
The final step in your countertop journey will be to determine what color you want to use. Though color is a personal preference, you don’t simply want to just choose a color you like on its own; you will need to know how it fits into the overall look and style of your kitchen. Here are a few considerations to reference when making your decision.
Think long term
Remember that accessories, paint and even your backsplash can change overtime but a good countertop can outlast many kitchen refreshes. Rather than basing the primary color of your counter to match the theme of your kitchen, consider a countertop with veins or splashes of color you like so it is more versatile.
Decide how and where you want to include bold design statements, like patterns. If you are going to decorate with a fun backsplash or fabric accents, it’s better to choose a solid countertop. And the reverse works too! If you are going with a minimal approach to accessories, a countertop with a natural pattern or varying colors can add good balance to the room.
Consult the color wheel
If you plan on mixing and matching color combinations with your cabinets and countertops, take a look at a color wheel. In general, color combinations can be complementary, analogous or neutral. In most cases with countertops, you are going to be pairing a neutral (such as gray, beige, black, white or brown) with a brighter or bolder color for your cabinets. However, if your countertop has multiple colors, the color wheel can help guide you on the best color pairings.
The bottom line: While aesthetics might be the most obvious thing to think about when it comes to countertops, there are many important aspects to consider including your desired functionality, maintenance requirements, and budget. So be sure to throughurally evaluate all of these elements in both the short and long-term. Because after all, this investment is one that will last you (and your kitchen) a long, long time.