Kitchen Countertop Materials
A wide variety of kitchen countertop styles, colors, textures and materials means your options are endless when choosing a surface area. A few to consider are granite, laminate, stainless steel, Corian, wood, glass and tiles.
A solid glass countertop by Glassworks, Inc., looks almost like ice, lending a cool, chic feeling to this contemporary kitchen. Although it's more expensive than other countertop materials, glass is growing in popularity for its stain resistance and sleek, dramatic style.
Say Yes to Soapstone
Soapstone countertops, like the ones in this kitchen by Jarrett Design, offer a soft look but can also look great in a sleek, modern space. Though pricier than some other countertop options, soapstone is environmentally friendly and durable, offering significant value.
Stainless steel countertops aren’t just for sleek modern spaces. Here, Dave Vogt of Case Design/Remodeling, Inc., used the metal in a country-style kitchen, where the gleaming surface contrasts beautifully with exposed brick and the well-worn bottoms of the homeowners’ cookware. Over time, the counters may scratch and show wear – but that’s part of their charm in a space like this – and they are super durable.
Clean and Streamlined
Developed specifically for countertops, Granicrete has the great modern look of concrete, but is seamless and is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation as being bacteria-proof and stain-proof. The waterfall edge here creates an especially sleek look, without the weight and cost of poured concrete.
Count on Copper
A custom copper countertop and backsplash add warmth and glamour to this bar area designed by Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri of HGTV's Kitchen Cousins. Copper countertops are highly germ resistant but are prone to dents and scratches. Polish it weekly to maintain its shine, or allow it to develop a patina of a burnished brown-black with green flecks.
Counters of Calacatta Gold marble with a polished top function as beautifully as they look. While marble has a rep for being high maintenance, it can age beautifully with a little care – and nothing beats it for rolling out pastry dough.
Wood on White
Dark-stained wood adds contrast and a country feel to this white country kitchen by Historical Concepts Architecture & Planning. Like natural granite, wood counters can vary widely in the uniformity and graining of their patterns. That variation is part of their appeal.
A Twist on Granite
Love the durability of granite, but searching for a new look? The stone takes on a more modern appearance when it’s cut so that the backsplash continues the countertop pattern. “We chose this piece because it looks like a watercolor painting of the home’s exterior wooded landscape,” says Ines Hanl of The Sky is the Limit Design in Victoria, BC.
A Growing Trend
One of the most popular countertop surfaces today, engineered quartz is versatile and durable. Its nearly endless range of color options allows you to visually tie an open kitchen to the surrounding living spaces, as designer Lori Dennis did here with dark blue tones in a kitchen by SoCalContractor.
Two countertops? Twice as nice! A center island topped with quartz by Cambria is a functional focal point in this kitchen by Denise Wenacur of DW Design & Decor, and the countertops around the room’s perimeter are solid black granite. “That mix – and those materials – represent the most current countertop trends,” Wenacur says.
Smorgasbord of Surfaces
And why stop at two surfaces? In this gorgeous space, perimeter countertops are Taj Mahal Quartzite, and the island combines 3-inch-thick walnut butcher’s block with 14-gauge stainless steel topped by Silver Waves marble.
Granite countertops are available in a variety of colors, ranging from creamy whites to deep grays and forest greens. Visit a home or kitchen design store and look through their selection of guides and samples to begin determining the color that will work best in your kitchen area. Ask if they allow customers to purchase or borrow samples so you can see how they'll look in your home.
Laminate countertops are another popular countertop material. Made from layers of plastic that are bonded to particleboard, these countertops are available in a wide variety of colors, textures and patterns, ranging from options that look like marble to ones that mirror the appearance of stainless steel.
Speaking of stainless steel, this countertop option can also come in a number of finishes and textures, including a brushed finish or reverse hammered surface, which looks like it's decorated with raised dots. The surface pairs well with a variety of cabinetry and themes, including white, light and dark wood, and bold colors.
Corian and solid-surface countertops are some of the most durable surfaces available on the market. The countertop is available in a variety of colors, ranging from white to fire engine red to a speckled cobalt blue. The color and pattern are consistent throughout the countertop, so it will not change its appearance with wear and tear that naturally occurs over time.
Glass, wood and ceramic tiles are a few other countertop styles that should be considered when choosing a surface that will work with your kitchen design. Be sure to keep in mind how you will be using the kitchen surface; this will help you choose the best material for your level of activity.
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