During remodeling planning sessions, we’re often asked what kind of surfaces are the best, and homeowners assume the choice is between granite and quartz. But depending on your needs, style preferences, and budget, there’s a there’s a whole world of selections to consider for your kitchens and baths.
While quartz and granite reign supreme as the most popular choice remain homeowner favorites, what’s trending isn’t necessarily for everyone. There’s a world of alternative options to consider, including marble, solid surface, wood and Dekton surfaces.
Pros: Marble is a natural stone that’s been used in kitchens for hundreds of years because of its beauty and durability. It offers a variety of colors and is usually less expensive than quartz or stainless steel. Marble is easy to clean and adds a timeless, elegant feel to your kitchen
Cons: The two biggest cons of a marble countertop are scratching and staining. It’s porous, and certain foods and drinks (wine, anyone?) can leave a stain. Acid-based foods and products can also cause scratches — etching in the marble that doesn’t go away. But some homeowners embrace the patina created by used marble over the years, and think it’s a small price to pay for its exquisite beauty.
Pros: Solid surface counters like Corian and LG Hi-Macs are nonporous, engineered products providing a solid construction that resist bacteria. While not as hard as quartz, they they’re hard — rating 7 on the Moh’s scale (where diamonds are a 10). Small scratches can be buffed or sanded away and compared with other countertops, they’re moderately priced. They also come in a wide variety of colors and designs, including seamless options. Although made of non-renewable, solid surfaces are non-toxic and have a low environmental impact.
Cons: You can’t put hot cookware on solid surfaces without damaging it, and heat damage can’t be repaired. It also scratches and dents easily. The resale value also isn’t as high as most other countertops.
Pros: Wood is beautiful. It’s natural, inviting and creates an atmosphere of warmth. It’s also a great surface for dining. making it ideal for kitchen islands. If the surface is nicked or scratched, sanding will quickly repair the damage. It’s environmentally friendly, absorbs noise, and moderately priced. A timeless countertop choice, the most popular wood surfaces are maple, cherry, oak, birch and teak. Prices vary, but wood is usually less expensive than natural and manufactured stone surfaces.
Cons: Wood needs to be regularly treated with a nontoxic mineral oil to prevent it from cracking and protect it from moisture. If your wood counter gets wet, it can warp if you don’t take of care of it.
Pros: Described by manufacturer Consentino as an ultra compact surface, Dekton is made from quartz, glass and resin. Nearly indestructible, it won’t stain or scratch and you can put hot cookware or a bad of ice on it without worrying about damage. It’s beautiful, offers a variety of colors, designs and a matte or shiny finish. It also comes with a 25-year warranty, which doesn’t cover chipping or cracks that result from the impact of a heavy object.
Cons: The biggest con would be its high price, which is similar to quartz. You also have to find someone who knows how to install it correctly. And if you have heavy pans or objects that occasionally fall from your cupboards or land on your counter with impact, this wouldn’t be the right option for you.
What’s perhaps most important when choosing the surface you want for your home is your day-today life. Concerned about red wine stains? Consider the least porous surface.
Do you instinctively put hot pots and pans on the countertops? Avoid choosing a heat resistant surface and opt for one that’s heat-proof like granite, marble or concrete.
Want a visually consistent and enduring look? If so, avoid surfaces like stainless steel and marble that develop a patina from use over time.
In addition to the functional aspects of kitchen surfaces, pick a surface you love. You’ll develop a relationship of sorts with your countertop over time — and if you value its look and feel, it may be worthwhile to embrace the added maintenance required.
Picture seeing your kitchen in the morning and ask yourself, what would you most like to see when you wake up ? Each countertop option has pros and cons. There is no perfect choice, no surface that’s “just right” for everyone. If you select the one that best fits your needs with the aesthetics you’re drawn to, you’ll be happy with your choice for years to come.
To see more kitchen photos for ideas and inspiration, as well as project case studies, visit Bluestem’s portfolio.