A kitchen counter top- it doesn't sound very complicated or even that important, but picking the right one for your house is a very big choice. Granite, Soapstone, Laminate, Wood, Glass, Stainless, Tile, the choices are seemingly endless. Sow how do you know which is right for your house?
The first thing for you to consider is, of course, budget. Determine the square feet of counter top you'll need and then decide what you can spend to cover that area. Laminates could cost between $15 and $30 a square foot, while a high-end granite might cost up to $90 per square foot.
After you know your budget, consider the style of your home and look for a counter top that will enhance the overall feel. You don't want to choose something that looks nice in the store but will be out of place once it's installed.
Now you have to pick from your narrowed pool of choices. But which option will meet your needs?
Here's a quick breakdown of some of the most popular counter top options:
Natural Stone: generally durable, heat resistant, and considered a classic choice. Different levels of durability depending on type of stone- softer stones like marble and limestone may be more susceptible to chipping or cracking. Can require regular maintenance including resealing. Generally the most expensive option.
Manufactured stone: not as natural looking as real stone, but offers heat, stain, and scratch resistance without the regular maintenance. Nearly as expensive as natural stone but has a very long life.
Wood: will not dull knives or utensils when preparing meals. Will wear with use- a look that some find warm and charming. Highly susceptible to damage from heat, moisture, corrosives, and excessive dryness. Requires regular food-friendly sealing.
Metal: stainless steel is the most common metal option and nicely compliments a wide array of home styles. A potentially costly option, but very durable and easy to clean.
Concrete: an extremely heavy option that requires regular sealing but offers a very wide array of color and texture options. Also durable, heat-resistant, and surprisingly versatile when used to compliment other materials.
Tile: very budget friendly and heat, moisture, and stain resistant. Tiles may break or chip and grout is susceptible to staining and mildew but regular cleaning can protect against that issue.
Laminate: available in nearly every color under the sun, and the most cost effective option. It can be scorched or scratched by very hot pans and sharp knives.
Statistics say that when you sell in the future you may not recoup 100% of your investment in new counter tops; but a well designed and well dressed kitchen could catch a buyer's eye and help sell your home. Find a material that suits your home's style, is neutral enough to appeal future buyers, and meets your current needs. Do your research and make sure you pick the counter top that is right for your home!