Are you considering updating your kitchen? There are so many decisions that come along with a kitchen renovation project. Countertops are one of them and possibly, the most important. The wide range of countertop options can seem overwhelming! It can take a lot of time and effort to make the right choice. The best type of countertop depends not only on what kind of look you’re after, but also how you plan to use them, how much you’re willing to spend and how much maintenance you’re willing to do to keep them looking great! It’s a big decision and often a big investment, so we have gathered a collection of some of the most popular options and listed pros and cons, so you can make the right choice for your kitchen. But first, our top choices based solely on looks!
Natural stone will always be the most authentic and interesting look, no matter how good they are getting at mimicking the real thing. So no wonder our top two picks are in this category. Top of our list is marble. Yes, you heard us right! A classic, luxurious stone that has stood the test of time. If you are in the “I like it pristine forever camp” though, this is not for you. Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite and is therefore porous. So granted, not for the faint of heart as this stone will patina over time.
MARBLE DESIGN INSPIRATION
Design: Studio Mcgee Leave it to Studio Mcgee to make marble work perfectly. Paired with dark wood tones, warm oak floors, and brass details, the beautiful marble counters provide just the right richness and balance in this beautiful kitchen.
Next on our list is soap stone. A type of metamorphic rock with a high talc content and therefore considered a soft stone. On the plus side, soapstone has a high heat storage capacity and is therefore an ideal choice around fireplace openings. Though we also love it as counter tops.
SOAP STONE DESIGN INSPIRATION
Design: Megan Pflug | Photography: Genevieve Garruppo
Megan Pflug is responsible for some of the most inspiring spaces we’ve ever come across, and this kitchen is no exception. A moody palette with antique accents and the gorgeous soapstone counter and backsplash make this kitchen timeless. And of course, our number one go-to because of durability and selection available: quartz. Not to be confused with quartzite, quartz is made using engineered stone. This engineered stone is comprised of about 90% loose quartz and the remaining 10% is resins and pigments. Until a few years ago it was hard to match the beauty of natural stone with manmade options, but thanks to significant advancements in the manufacturing process, there are truly beautiful options available.
QUARTZ DESIGN INSPIRATION
Design: LVZ Design | Cupboards: Jake Wise Woodworking | Photography: Aim Photagraphy This 14’ island turned out beautiful and elegant with the subtle veining in the quartz counter and backsplash. Due to the size of this island we had to incorporate a seam, though hardly noticeable when done right.
Here is a quick reference guide for your next counter top selection:
PROS: Laminate is a very cost effective option! They don’t need to be sealed, they’re easy to find and available in a wide range of colors and styles. CONS: It can be easily damaged by heat and are prone to scratches. Seams will be noticeable and although they have come a long way – they are not the same as an authentic, natural product.
PROS: Wood counters can be a less expensive choice, (depending on the wood species) and they are available in a range of finishes and styles. They offer a warmer aesthetic and can last a long time when they’re well-maintained. CONS: Wood can be damaged by knives, heat or water, causing stains and warping. They are also porous meaning they can harbor bacteria. They are a higher maintenance option as they need to be oiled regularly.
PROS: Concrete counters are durable and solid. They also have a variety of options to make them more unique and offer a great industrial, rugged look. CONS: The sealing procedures may be costly, and changes in temperature and spills can alter the surface. There is always a chance that concrete countertops can crack.
PROS: Stainless steel is heat, stain and bacteria resistant – perfect for a high-end commercial space. It’s durable and long-lasting and often more affordable than stone. CONS: Although stainless steel may not be the most expensive option, it’s also not cheap. It can be scratched or dented and is prone to showing fingerprints.
PROS: Granite is very durable and heat resistant. It is a natural product and offers a number of unique colour options. The natural stone means that for no two pieces look the same and can come in a honed (matte) or polished (shiny) finish. CONS: Granite must be re-sealed to keep it from staining.
PROS: Soapstone has an authentic and dramatic ‘Old World’ look. It is impermeable and extremely heat resistant. CONS: It is a soft stone so it does tend to scratch easily and it is typically only found in darker colours, which does mean that the selection is somewhat limited.
PROS: Engineered stone is less prone to cracking and chipping but still offers the same look of natural stone. It is heat and stain resistant and comes in a wide range of styles and colors. It doesn’t require as much maintenance and is very durable. CONS: It’s not cheap and like natural stone countertops, it’s heavy. There are certain size limitations which can leave seams in large islands or long runs.
PROS: Sintered stone is a very practical choice as it is non- porous, heat resistant and does not scratch or stain. There are seemingly endless design options to suit the colour and style that you may be after. CONS: It a relatively new product which may make it more difficult to find skilled installers. Currently, the information available is from suppliers of the product and could be bias. It is also in the mid to high end range for cost.
PROS: Marble is a truly stunning natural material. It comes in a variety of natural options and is heat-resistant. CONS: Marble is porous and can be scratched, stained or etched by acids so it requires frequent sealing. Its beauty also comes at a price as it is one of the most expensive options.
Are you embarking on a kitchen renovation anytime soon? LVZ Design can help with the design, 3-D rendering and finishes selection-including counter tops ☺. Leave a comment below—we’d love to hear from you, or inquire here for more information on our services.