Kitchen Countertops: Selection Criteria, Material Types and Design Ideas
Kitchen countertops are an important component of the kitchen that needs to be selected carefully as they can make or break your whole design scheme. A kitchen countertop can accentuate the space or dull it down depending on its material, color and finish. There is a huge variety of different materials in the market that can be used for covering the surface of countertops. The shopping experience can be a bit confusing and overwhelming when it comes to kitchen countertops, which is the reason why homeowners usually end up buying the wrong material or color under pressure. A thorough research should be done before diving into the countertop market.
Today, we will talk about everything related to kitchen countertop in detail i.e. the selection process, types of materials and design ideas so that you can easily identify what countertop material will look best in your kitchen.
Selection Process for Kitchen Countertops
Like mentioned before, the process of selecting a kitchen countertop can prove to be quite difficult due to an abundance of the options in terms of colors and materials, etc. So, before buying a countertop make a checklist with the following questions:
What is your kitchen style scheme?
The first question is also the most critical question. You need to identify your kitchen’s style scheme or the look you are aiming for so that the countertop material does not look out of place. If your aesthetics are directed towards modish and chic then materials in monochrome colors and polished look are best for you. If your style leans towards countryside or rustic side then honed finish of subdued colored countertops would look nice. If your kitchen theme is traditional i.e. Tuscan or Mediterranean then natural stone countertops will look amazing.
What will be the average usage rate for the countertop?
If you are a person who has a take-out lifestyle with minimum kitchen usage then usage sensitive materials can last a long time. However, if you are an aspiring chef who cooks their own meal or a host who has regular parties at their place then one should opt for materials that can withstand high usage rate. Same goes for household with small children as they tend to spill food regularly and a high maintenance material can be ruined in less than a year.
What is the finalized budget for the kitchen countertop?
The budget is a question that can really dampen the spirit but it also helps in shortlisting the materials. Plan your budget and create an estimate of how much a material will cost as a countertop by taking into account costs such as installation and delivery charges.
Types of Materials for Kitchen Countertops
There are many material options available for kitchen countertops that can be used for your kitchen’s remodeling. Given below is our comprehensive list of top materials that can be utilized for covering your kitchen countertop’s surface along with their advantages and disadvantages.
Travertine Kitchen Countertop:
Travertine is a natural stone with a timeless appearance and earthy shades. It is a sturdy material with a porous structure that can filled with resin and grout or can be left unfilled depending on your requirement. There are two types of vein patterns for travertine stone i.e. vein cut and cross cut. Travertine countertops come in both vein patterns and have four finish types i.e. tumbled, polished, honed and chiseled edge.
Advantages: Travertine is a robust natural stone that can survive decades if properly maintained. It is heat resistant in nature and has many options in colors.
Disadvantages: Travertine reacts violently with acidic materials to the point that even a coffee or wine spill can ruin its appearance. Its porosity makes it an easily seep-able stone. This stone countertop needs regular cleaning and maintenance in order to maintain its appearance.
Limestone Kitchen Countertop:
Limestone has been in the construction industry for a long time. This stone is quite fetching in its appearance with light colors and presence of fossil patterns in its structure. Signature limestone color is white but with the addition of impurities this can vary to ivory, brown, yellow, beige and even red color.
Advantages: Limestone countertops are relatively cheaper than marble and travertine. You can use this stone countertop in any color scheme thanks to its neutral colors.
Disadvantages: Limestone countertop is easily susceptible to staining by materials of all kinds which is why good quality sealing of the stone is recommended. Limestone is made of calcium carbonate which makes acid based materials its worst enemies. Avoid using cleaners with low pH to avoid etching of the countertop’s surface.
Granite Kitchen Countertop:
Granite countertops are elegant in appearance and are an economical stone countertop option. They are found in more than 2500 colors. Granite has a non-porous structure which makes its countertops easy to maintain.
Advantages: Granite countertops can withstand heat which is why hot pans or dishes do not damage its surface. It is a hard and resilient material whose color does not fade with time.
Disadvantages: Granite countertops are quite common which is not acceptable for homeowners seeking a unique countertop for their kitchen. These countertops require professional installation which can prove to be a bit pricey.
Soapstone Kitchen Countertop:
Soapstone belongs to the gothic family of countertops with its dark grey color and sleek look. If you have a huge family house or a historic time inspired cabin then we recommend going for this countertop. You can also use this countertop as an alternative for black marble.
Advantages: It is smooth is appearance and has a bit of resistance against staining.
Disadvantages: Soapstone requires maintenance with mineral oil. It can also darken after sometime.
Ceramic Tile Kitchen Countertop:
Ceramic tiles are found in a variety of bright colors and designs. These tiles are economical and durable. You can cover your kitchen countertop with ceramic tiles and free yourself from the maintenance hassle that comes with natural stone based products.
Advantages: Ceramic tile countertops are easy to clean and maintain. You can create exceptional custom countertops with these tiles.
Disadvantages: The grout lines of such countertops can become stained and look ugly. The tiles are also prone to chipping and cracking.
Concrete Kitchen Countertop:
Go for an exclusive design using concrete. A concrete countertop can be made with a custom cast but it usually costs a lot. So, if you have the budget for an exotic looking countertops then go for a concrete one. You can change their look with the help of color tinting, decorative elements and finishes.
Advantages: Concrete countertops are both heat and scratch resistant.
Disadvantages: These countertops are expensive because of custom work.
Wooden Kitchen Countertop:
Kitchen countertops made up of wood look amazing with their natural beauty and texture. Usually, oak and maple wood is used for such countertops. A variety of finishes can be applied to get the desired wooden effect and color.
Advantages: Wooden kitchen countertops are very easy to clean and have a very smooth surface.
Disadvantages: These countertops can get stained over time. Water also damages their appearance and any scratches that are formed must be oiled or sealed as per the manufacturer’s instruction.
Marble Kitchen Countertop:
Marble is a lovely stone with an aristocratic vibe. A kitchen countertops made with marble looks exquisite and fashionable no what the kitchen style is. This natural stone has the ability to induce a dazzling effect in your kitchen and make it look brighter with its radiance. This countertop material has the highest price tag in this list as marble is a luxury stone.
Advantages: Aside from its beautiful appearance, Marble is also heat resistant i.e. no matter how hot it gets in your kitchen this countertop will remain cool to touch.
Disadvantages: Marble is expensive and requires special care and maintenance. It needs to be resealed and polished twice a year in order to protect its surface from staining or dulling. It also gets damaged if acidic or abrasive materials are used for its cleaning which is why always use stone specific cleaner with soft cloth.
Engineered Stone Kitchen Countertop:
Engineered stone is made up of quartz particles. It has non-porous and scratch resistant surface. It has a huge range of colors.
Advantages: Engineered stone countertops are easy to maintain and have stain resistance.
Disadvantages: These countertops are very expensive.
Solid Surface Kitchen Countertop:
Solid surface kitchen countertops are often mistaken as plastic countertops. These countertops are made from a combination of minerals and binding resins. They come in beautiful colors and patterns. You can easily sand off the scratches from such countertops.
Advantages: These countertops are stain resistant and seamless in structure.
Cons: Heat is the enemy of these countertops which is why you should avoid putting hot pans or dishes directly on their surface.
Laminate Kitchen Countertop:
Laminate countertops have their surface covered with plastic-coated synthetics such as Formica and Wilsonart. They are easy to maintain thanks to their smooth surface and come in many colors.
Advantages: Laminate countertops are durable and economical.
Disadvantages: They are scratch-prone and can chip easily.
Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertop:
If your kitchen has a contemporary vibe then go for stainless steel kitchen countertop for a sleek and chic look. These countertops are quite durable with their heat resistant surface and seamless surface.
Advantages: Such countertops are easy to clean and can withstand hot pans on their surface.
Disadvantages: Stainless steel countertops are expensive. They can get dented and are quite noisy.
Design Ideas Kitchen Countertops
Listed below are some stunning design ideas that you can use for your next kitchen countertop revamp:
- For homeowners who adore the classic old money look, the gold travertine countertop is the best option. Pair this dazzling countertop with dark wooden cabinets and a light colored natural stone floor in honed finish.
- If you want an earthy vibe in your kitchen then consider a white lymra limestone countertop with bright yellow painted cabinets and a tumbled backsplash in neutral tones.
- Go for beige travertine cross cut countertop with a polished finish for a stylish looking kitchen. Add a colorful mosaic backsplash to accentuate the creamy color of this elegant countertop.
- Add an element of vintage grace in your kitchen with Calacatta Gold marble countertop. Use stark white cabinets with gold handles and kitchen accessories to complete this look.
- If you have light colored wooden cabinets then we would recommend installing a scabos travertine countertop with a light colored backsplash.
- For a modish look add a silver travertine countertop in vein cut. You can also use a stainless steel countertop if the natural stone countertop is not your cup of tea. Add chrome kitchen accessories to complete the look.
- For a kitchen with a monochrome design scheme, consider installing Neo Marquina marble countertop. Add a white marble polished kitchen floor with matching backsplash and silver kitchen accessories to complete this voguish design.
- Homeowners who want an earthy feel in their kitchens but also want to keep it elegant should choose the dark Emperador Marble slabs for their countertops. Pairing these beautiful brown tiles with a walnut travertine backsplash and decorating the countertops with artificial potted green plants will make the kitchen look more aesthetically pleasing.
- For people who like to enjoy their summer outdoors doing BBQs and having pool party’s, we’d suggest getting the ivory limestone kitchen countertop slabs for their outdoor kitchens. The beautiful ivory color of the countertop slabs glistening under the shining sun will make for a beautiful sight. Add a touch of a mahogany brown dining table and chair set to make your outdoor kitchen really stand out.
You can use any type of stone or synthetic material for your kitchen countertop. Both can be used for creating a beautiful kitchen. The material of the countertop depends on your taste and budget. For natural stone countertops hire stone professionals for their installation as they tend to be quite heavy and cannot be done by oneself. Always use high quality sealants for sealing your countertops and invest in good cleaning materials for a long lasting lush appearance of the countertop surface.