Kitchen

How to Select the Perfect Countertops in Your New Home

The kitchen is the focal point of a home and the countertop is one of the most important elements of the kitchen. You not only cook food in the kitchen, but you also spend a lot of time with your family there.

A countertop, therefore, needs to be selected very carefully. Once you finalize the countertop, there is no turning back because you will most likely use it for a few years if not decades.

The best countertop choice isn’t just about aesthetics. There are many other things to think about like costs, durability, and general usage patterns in your kitchen.

In this guide, we’ll help you pick out the perfect countertop so you can choose one that is durable for heavy kitchen usage while also looking great to mesh with your cabinet and backsplash selections.

If you’re planning to build a new home in Norther Indiana / South Bend Region, we’d love to help. Just contact Irish Custom Homes here on our home page.

Countertop materials

Laminate

Laminate countertops are quite common. One reason is the fact that they are the most budget-friendly option among all the countertop material options. The downside is that they need to be changed a lot more often. But, if you take good care of the countertop and regularly clean it with soap, then there is no reason why a laminate countertop shouldn’t last at least a few years.

In order to elongate the life of a laminate countertop, avoid placing extremely hot items on it or cutting the laminate. For those who are really on a shoe-string budget, have a look at self-sticking laminate countertops to further cut down on installation costs. Laminate countertops now come in attractive-looking designs that resemble wood, stone, and quartz.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel offers a very modern and clean look to a kitchen countertop. Best of all, steel is an extremely durable material. It will withstand corrosion and is easy to clean/maintain. Depending on your aesthetic choice, you can opt for a standard finish, a brushed finish, or a hammered finish. The color of stainless steel also blends in nicely with many other colors and decor setups.

Concrete

Yes! Countertops can be made using concrete as well. The same concrete that is used to make sidewalks and patios can be used to make an industrial-looking countertop. Concrete for countertops is available in different colors through the use of dyes and colored coatings. You can get creative with concrete countertops by opting for inlays of shells, stones, or tiles.

For maintaining a concrete countertop properly, you need to regularly clean it and have it sealed once every year. This will obviously cost you some money, but that is something you need to do in order to prolong its life. Concrete is also known to absorb heat energy during hot weather and release the heat when the mercury drops.

Wood

Strips of wood are bonded together to create a rustic looking countertop in a butcher-block style. Wood has plenty of benefits. Firstly, it is relatively more economical. Secondly, it is safe to be used as a chopping board or a cutting platform provided that you seal the countertop properly. Hence the term “butcher-block”. Wood can also withstand hot food vessels when placed on top of the counter. If there are any scratches of scuff-marks, then they can be fixed with some sandpaper.

Wood countertops have multiple design options such as red oak, maple, and cherry. These countertops tend to be expensive when it comes to maintenance costs. They require mineral oil treatments and frequent cleaning/wiping. But, they can last a very long time if you take care of them.

Ceramic Tiles

Tiles were very popular back in the 70s and 80s. They have been losing popularity in recent times. However, they are still an option for anyone looking to create a classic look for their countertops. Tiles are easy to clean. They can withstand some serious heat as well.

The downside with a tile countertop is the unevenness. Because of this, there is every chance of food and dirt getting stuck. Tiles can also be prone to chipping, which can spoil the look of the countertop and add to your maintenance expenses. However, the good thing with tiles is that you can replace a single one in order to fix a problem. There is no need to change the entire countertop.

Quartz

If you are looking for something tough and rugged, then quartz is your option. Quartz countertops are very common because they are tough. They do not crack or stain very easily. They are also non-porous and, therefore, do not allow bacterial growth within the surface.

Most of the quartz countertops that you get in the market are made using a blend of 95% quartz and 5% polymers. They are available in a variety of colors and designs. These options, along with the low-maintenance nature of the material, make quartz a popular choice for countertops.

Granite

If you want a premium high-end look for your countertop, then there is nothing quite like the sleek gleaming surface of granite. Though not quite as elegant-looking as marble, granite is a very durable material for a countertop.

As long as you seal your granite countertop once a year, you can be assured of its toughness. It withstands heat very well and does not chip or crack very easily. Granite is available in plenty of designs, colors, and patterns. You can even get granite with a matte finish. Granite countertops are durable and aesthetic.

Common Q&A

What are some things to consider when exploring different countertop options?

You generally want to think about four key things when you research countertops: how you plan to use your countertop, how important aesthetics and design are for you, how durable or resistant do you want your countertop to be, and how much are you willing to spend on the new countertop.

What are some ways in which I can buy cheaper countertop material?

You can search the internet, visit a few stores, or go to a trade show. Going to a store in-person lets you explore any live in-store deals that are running. Trade shows can be time-consuming, but you can get some serious discounts and can connect straight with the manufacturer of the material or countertop.

Does the countertop chip when a heavy object is dropped on it?

Limestone and marble countertops have a high risk of chipping. Granite will also chip if something very heavy is dropped on the countertop. Quartz is probably the toughest surface. However, quartz can also chip and is not exactly indestructible. Ceramic tiles will chip easily. Stainless steel can be quite durable.

Can I self-install my countertop?

Yes, it is possible to self-install your own countertop. However, you need some basic knowledge of carpentry and some tools. Laminate countertops are the easiest to install. Heavy countertops like granite and quartz might require more than 1 set of hands. If you are willing to put in the time to research and learn the DIY skills, then you can save some money on installation costs. If you aren’t sure about getting the installation work done, then it is always a good idea to hire a professional.

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