It's a Material World of Countertop Choices

Put down what works for you and what works hard in a variety of looks, ranging from laminate and wood to stone and tile.
By: Alice Daniel
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Surfaces count, especially in the kitchen, and no surface works harder than your countertop when it comes to both looks and utility. After all, it’s what you lean on for a strong workspace when preparing meals or keeping handy gadgets within reach. Here’s an overview of what to consider when it comes to the world of countertop materials:

Laminate

  • Affordability makes it a key choice when sticking to a budget
  • Easy DIY installation with precut options and no sealing lets you quickly and affordably put your kitchen vision into place
  • More design choices in rich colors, patterns and finishes such as acrylic, metal, stone and wood make it not just economical but stylish
  • Square or rounded edges expand choices
  • Easy-to-clean quality stands up to everyday stains and spills
  • Innovations make it scratch- and heat-resistant as well as moisture-resistant

Wood

  • Its natural, timeless and practical look brings simplicity into the home
  • Contemporary and traditional kitchen styles benefit from its warm tones
  • Pretreated and precut materials available in many varieties from contemporary birch and beech to classic oak
  • Durability makes it easy to say goodbye to always needing a hot pad or cutting board
  • Easy to maintain with periodic sanding and oiling that will banish scratches and stains

Stone

  • Natural stone is pricey but marble, soapstone and Jerusalem stone can create distinctive looks
  • Expense can be minimized by mixing it with more affordable countertop materials
  • Maintenance varies but soapstone requires periodic oiling; marble and Jerusalem stone must be sealed once a year
  • Soapstone will dent easily but won’t crack and gets a weathered look that some like
  • Marble is loved by home bakers, but it chips and stains easily

Tile

  • Tiles can be made of glass and stone, not just porcelain and ceramic
  • Its versatility as a backsplash or a border complements laminate or solid-wood countertops
  • Large-tile countertops are gaining popularity as smaller-tile designs with more grout can be difficult to clean
  • Fairly easy to maintain tile and grout with liquid detergent
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