One of the first things you notice when you walk into a kitchen is the countertops. Countertop style makes a huge impact on the feel of a kitchen, but they carry a double load. They have to look amazing for as long as possible, but they also have to be functional for you to cook on. 

Picking the right countertop style for your home is about knowing what you want aesthetically and what suits your lifestyle & your family. You need to consider how stain-, scratch-, heat-, and impact-resistant your countertops are so that they hold up to the daily wear and tear you’re going to put them through over many years.

Read on to learn more about some of the different options you have and how to pick the right one for you.

Marble

Marble is one of the most popular options for kitchen countertop materials. You can find some gorgeous unique veining patterns that work with so many different styles, so you can pick a pattern that suits your kitchen design and personal tastes.

Marble is a porous, high-maintenance surface which means it’s prone to staining from things like wine, juice, and oil that seep into the bench. When that happens, it’s difficult to reverse, so professionally sealing the surface upon installation is essential to help prevent damage. 

You should also know that you’ll need to repeat the sealing process every six months if you’re a frequent cook. Thankfully, you can do this yourself if you choose.

It relatively heat-proof but can be prone to burning or discolouration if you put a piping hot pan straight on your beautiful new benchtop. 

Marble is an investment and must be professionally installed, but when sealed and cared for correctly brings a gorgeous elegance to your home. 

Granite

Granite is very nearly the gold standard for kitchen countertops. There are almost 3,000 different patterns you can choose from for granite counters, and it is nearly impervious to heat. When it’s properly sealed, it’s nearly maintenance-free and extremely durable. That’s one of the big reasons why you might find it to be worth the investment over cheaper options.

Granite countertops will have 2-3 seams in a typical kitchen.  The average slab size varies but can be around 9 feet by 5 feet. If you have an L or U shaped layout, expect seams where the countertops angle in a different direction. But large islands can typically be done without seams. 

We like to use granite when helping design and build our clients’ kitchens because we know that it’s extremely durable for everyday use and it also looks wonderful no matter what your aesthetic is.

Quartz

Quartz countertops are manmade these days. They contain quartz particles, but they also contain other minerals and are shaped and bound into slabs with resin.

Quartz is a great option if you want the look of stone without the hassle of having to maintain it. It’s resistant to damage from heat, stains, and acid. It’s also easy to maintain, with no sealing required, and it provides a more convincing stone look than solid surface countertops (that we’re going to tell you about below).

Quartz is an investment but it can be worth it to get all that functionality.

One thing to keep in mind that quartz slabs are heavy. Older cabinets may not be able to bear up under the weight of a quartz countertop. But when you’re designing your dream kitchen, then all you’d need to do is make sure you have high-quality cabinets and then nothing would stop you from choosing a quartz countertop if that’s what you prefer.

Solid Surface

Solid surface countertops are manmade and formed from materials like acrylic and resin. They came out about fifty years ago. The idea behind solid surfaces was to create something that looked like natural stone but was non-porous. 

The non-porous nature of the solid surfaces means that these counters are easy to maintain and clean, and they stay bacteria-free.

You can also have a whole counter that looks like it was made of one piece. There are no cracks, chips or loose ends that might eventually lead to damage. One of the biggest advantages of a solid surface countertop is its ability for scratches to be easily sanded out. 

Unfortunately, solid surface countertops are more vulnerable to heat and deeper scratches than other materials, like quartz.

Wood

Wood countertops are a trend that’s making its way back into fashion. They come in a huge variety of colours and finishes, and they add a warm, homey look to a kitchen.

When properly cared for, wood countertops can last for a long time. You can sand them and reseal them if they get damaged or worn out. For cleaning, you’re looking at a simple wipe down and maybe treating them with mineral oil every week or two.

The downside of wood countertops is that you need to baby them. They are susceptible to heat and scratches, and they’ll need to be well-maintained or they’ll crack. If you cook with raw meat a lot, wood countertops can also provide a haven for bacteria to grow.

Steel

Stainless steel countertops are incredibly durable and resistant to heat and stains. They’re easy to clean and offer no room for bacterial growth.

There’s no major maintenance issues to worry about with these counters but they are practically guaranteed to nick and scratch from regular use. You have to embrace the imperfections and scratches that will accumulate over time. These are not counters that will look flawless for many years to come.

If you have small kids in the home, a stainless steel countertop may not be the best choice for you. These counters are noisy, so the kids will hear every midnight snack you (try to) sneak. They also tend to show fingerprints.

Upgrade Your Kitchen With The Right Countertop Style for You

Finding the right countertop style for your home is a matter of knowing how you use your kitchen. Are you a robust family that wants hardwearing countertops that you don’t have to worry about? Or do you rarely cook & are happy to be vigilant about spills & seal your counters a few times a year?

If you’d like to create your dream kitchen, we’d love to help you create a custom design tailored to your lifestyle, your family, and your values. Check out our kitchen renovation services.