The Ultimate Guide To Countertop Materials
When you're looking for a countertop for your kitchen or bathroom, it may seem like the possibilities are endless. But not all countertops are created equal: each countertop material comes with its own pros and cons, which makes deciding on a countertop far more difficult than just picking one that matches your personal style. Interested in learning more about different kinds of countertops and which one might be perfect for your lifestyle? Read on to learn more about the most popular types of countertop materials on the market and how to pick the one that's right for you.
A timeless, elegant choice, granite is the gold standard of countertop materials for many homeowners. Granite is popular due to its durability, as it is impervious to heat and cuts or scratches. It's also versatile — the material defined as 'granite' actually encompasses over 3,000 different styles and colors, making it easy for any homeowner to find a specific kind of granite that matches their aesthetic.
Although its durability makes it ideal for kitchen and bathroom countertops, granite does have some downsides. Because it's a porous stone, granite must be sealed regularly in order to avoid staining. Additionally, while granite is hard to scratch, it can crack, and repairs are challenging. Finally, certain styles of granite can be relatively expensive, making it a difficult option for buyers on a budget. However, if you're looking for a timeless countertop material that can withstand wear and tear, granite may be the perfect choice for you.
Is there anything more elegant than a white marble countertop? When it comes to drama and beauty in countertop materials, marble may be unmatched. The natural veining in marble gives each marble countertop its own unique charm. What's more, marble can maintain a low temperature, making it ideal for bakers who frequently work with pastry dough.
However, there are some downsides to marble countertops. Because marble is a very soft stone, it can easily be cut or scratched; additionally, because it's highly porous, marble can easily be stained, and its stains are all the more visible due to its stark white color. Finally, due to its highly prized beauty, it's one of the most expensive countertop materials on the market. Overall, although marble is still a timeless countertop material that can bring elegance into any room, it may not be the best choice for families who like to make messes in the kitchen — or families on a budget.
In contrast to granite and marble, which are slabs of naturally occurring stone, quartz (also referred to as "engineered stone") is a man-made countertop material. However, what it lacks in natural charm it makes up for in durability and versatility. Quartz countertops are actually mixtures of quartz or stone bound together by resin. Because quartz countertops are man-made, they're incredibly hard and non-porous and don't need to be sealed. This means that they won't stain easily, making them much more durable than, say, marble. They're also difficult to scratch, and they can handle high heat. Best of all? Quartz countertops are typically inexpensive, making them a great, budget-friendly option.
There are only two main downsides to quartz countertops. First, their edges can chip or crack, and they're difficult to repair, although this problem can be avoided by purchasing a quartz countertop with rounded edges. Finally, because they're man-made, quartz countertops can lack some of the natural charm of stones such as granite or marble; however, they can be engineered in a wide variety of colors and styles. Overall, if you're looking for a countertop that can stand up to big messes and lots of wear and tear, quartz is an excellent option.
A trendy option for stunning countertops is soapstone, which is renowned for its beautifully natural look and wide variety of colors and veining. Soapstone also has many pros: it's heat-resistant, making it great for chefs, and it doesn't react with acid like marble does, which means that it won't be ruined if you get lemon juice or tomatoes on its surface. Furthermore, it's nonporous and doesn't need to be sealed, meaning that it won't stain easily.
However, soapstone countertops aren't for everyone. Soapstone is one of the softest countertop materials available, and it can scratch and dent extremely easily. Furthermore, its natural look requires maintenance in order to be preserved: it can fade and develop discoloration called a patina, and it requires regular applications of mineral oil to keep it looking its best. Additionally, while typically not as expensive as marble, soapstone can still be relatively expensive. While it can certainly add a dash of drama to your kitchen or bathroom, soapstone's high-maintenance requirements make it less ideal for certain homeowners.
The ultimate budget option, laminates are making a comeback in the design world. Once dismissed as being unsophisticated, laminates are made by fusing kraft paper with resin at high temperatures and pressures. Because they're man-made, they're inexpensive, incredibly resistant to scratches, scuffs, and stains, and can be produced in a wide variety of styles and designs. In recent years, laminates have even evolved to mimic the look of more expensive stones, such as granite and marble, while requiring far less maintenance and upkeep.
The main downside to laminates is their aesthetic appeal, and they don't add value to a house the same way that natural stone or quartz countertops do. However, with recent advances in technology, laminate countertops are looking better than ever, and they're likely to continue to improve. If your kitchen or bathroom is subject to a lot of activity, or you're on a tight budget, a laminate countertop may be a great choice for you.
Don't Forget The Sink
No matter what type of countertop you choose — whether it's granite, marble, soapstone, or something else entirely — don't forget to complement it with a beautiful, functional sink! At Fossil Blu, we craft and sell luxury sinks that can add a touch of elegance to any kitchen or bathroom. Whether you're looking for the timeless charm of a fireclay farmhouse sink or the antique look of a copper sink, there's something for everyone at Fossil Blu. Don't hesitate to contact us today to find the sink that's perfect for you and your home.