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
IKEA_Smart-Space-04_s4x3

IKEA_Smart-Space-04_s4x3

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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