How to choose the Right Kitchen Countertop

 

Custom kitchen countertops are a kitchen renovation feature that many clients feel is necessary for their dream kitchen. This perceived necessity often leaves the client unsure of the type of countertop that would be best suited for their new kitchen design.

Selecting the type of countertop and the colour can bewilder buyers, due to of the large selection of products available. What annoys most are the small samples available to make decisions from. To save you countless hours, we put together some notes for you to get the information all in one place. Click on the “Material Rankings” button below to get a rough overview of the surface types and their general performance.

Guess which material comes out on top in most categories? Click below to see how they rank!

If you didn’t take a chance to look through the categories, we have summed up the information below. If you selected Quartz, you are in with the experts. Check out below what the experts tend to specify.

For the curious, here are the countertop materials most commonly specified by kitchen designers last year, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA):
• Quartz —-88%
• Granite—-83%
• Marble —43%
• Solid Surface 43%
• Butcher Block 35%
• Other Wood 39%

You may wonder why Granite is still strongly recommended by designers.

Granite scores well in our overview table, and generally comes in at a lower cost than quartz. Granite fabricators are also using some very high tech sealers that are applied at fabrication. These sealers eliminate the need for the homeowner having to seal the granite countertops on a yearly basis. For a medium use kitchen where a natural stone look is desired, granite makes a lot of sense as an option

 

 

Quartzite Countertops
Of course there are always the exceptions to everything. For instance in the rare case, Quartzite is used. It is the hardest available product, harder then all of the products listed on the above table. It is a natural product made from quartz sand that comes under not only high temperature (like granite) but also very high pressure in the earth’s crust. This causes it to withstand heat extremely well. On the other hand, the resin used in manufacturing quartz countertops is a plastic into which ground up quartz stone particles are suspended, so it is prone to melting above 300 degrees Fahrenheit / 149 degrees Celsius. Average kitchen conditions are much below this temperature. A big reason homeowners pick Quartzite is because it also polishes up to a beautiful glass like surface on the limited colours it’s available in.

Laminate Countertops
On the opposite end of the hardness and heat resistance are the laminate products, which have true affordability and because of advanced technology pretty good hygienic properties as well. Laminate countertop products boast a great selection of colours and the latest trends in patterns, as well as the oversized sheets with repeat patterns practically eliminated.

Kitchen Countertop Costs and Variables

It’s probably appropriate at this point to talk a bit about top costing and comparing the different products and manufacturers. Exclusively comparing on a dollar per square foot basis does not always adequately serve the buyer. There are many variables that go into the pricing of a kitchen top layout: a) number of seams; b) location of seams; c) elimination of seams; d) types of edge treatments; e) any required build-ups to make the material seem thicker; and f) perhaps you want to feature a particular pattern or characteristic, like a vein, in a certain location requiring jumbo or super sized slabs for a large island for instance. All these are factors that influence cost. The takeaway here is that to quote a true cost you need to compare the same kitchen layout for each material that you are interested in to get a true gauge of the overall cost.

Caesarstone & Cambria Quartz

In the end, most homeowners will opt for a quartz product, and they will tend to choose one of the more pricier brands, like Caesarstone & Cambria Quartz. The prime reasoning for making this decision is not only for all the stellar characteristics as outlined in the above table, but also the wide range of very interesting colours and patterns offered by both these manufacturers.

Colour & Design

Finally, there is the design – colour component. Should the top be a background or a focal point? Should it be dark or light? Is it best to have repetitive movement or non-repetitive, or no movement at all? Which colours would work best? For instance, each quartz manufacturer has their own formulation for colouration and quality of materials, each manufacturer has their own ‘aesthetic’.

We would be happy to steer you through all of this with the added bonus of providing reasonably sized samples, and if required, take you to view slabs at either the stone yards, or at the manufacturers’ showrooms.

Give us a call to set up a showroom kitchen consultation and we will walk you through this.

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