In our original blog about the pros and cons of various kitchen countertop materials we highlighted granite, quartz, soapstone, marble, and concrete countertops. But there are many more options available, all with their own positives and negatives. Read on to discover the pros and cons of tile, copper, wood, laminate, stainless steel, and solid-surface countertops!
Solid-surface countertops are a great alternative to natural stone and come in an extensive array of colors and patterns. They are hard and non-porous so they are excellent for food preparation and hold up against liquid and stains. Solid-surface counters come with seamless installation, meaning no cracks or breaks in the surface and no place for liquids or crumbs to get stuck or build up. Cleaning is easy, and no maintenance is needed.
Solid-surface countertops are made from either an acrylic base or polyester base, with acrylic considered to be the superior choice. The countertop composition is typically 33% binding resins and 66% minerals. Because of the resins, the countertop can develop burn marks and scratches, but these can typically be sanded or buffed out. Corian is the original brand name that introduced solid surface countertops, so the name Corian is sometimes used interchangeably when discussing solid-surface counters.
Wood countertops are beautiful and unique. Different types of wood species along with different stains can create a variety of style options. Wood countertops are durable and heat resistant, but can be damaged by scratching and denting. They also require maintenance and special care to ensure a long lasting and attractive countertop.
One of the most affordable options, laminate countertops are widely available and easy to install. They come in a large selection of colors and patterns. Laminates are usually thought of as the lower-end alternative in countertops, but they have been making a comeback with an increase in the design and style options. Laminate can be damaged by heat, but is waterproof and low-maintenance. Unlike solid-surface countertops, if your laminate countertop gets damaged it may be hard to repair.
Using tile as your countertop surface give you endless color/style options because of the large array of tiles available. You can create a completely custom and one-of-a-kind design. Tiles are affordable and cost a fraction of natural stone countertops. The main negative side to a tile countertop is the grout lines. They can be tough to clean and may be awkward to work around if preparing food directly on the surface. These issues can be minimized by choosing larger tiles for less grout lines and larger spaces to work on your countertop.
Copper has been increasingly used in all areas of home design. From sinks and light fixtures to statement walls and roofs. Your kitchen countertops are also a great place to incorporate copper in your home design.
Copper countertops are not for the perfectionist home owners. The surface can dent and scratch easily. And if left unsealed, copper countertops will oxidize and tarnish. But many homeowners love the uniqueness and character these imperfections offer. You can seal your copper countertop to help combat these affects, but you will also need to maintain that seal with a good wax. Copper countertops are easy to clean, and copper is a natural antimicrobial. If a copper countertop fits your home style, it’s a great choice, but it will cost you a pretty penny.
Almost indestructible, stainless steel counters are resistant to water, staining, and heat. It is non-porous, so bacteria and mold cannot grow on it. Stainless steel is super easy to maintain and clean. However, fingerprints and crumbs may be more noticeable and annoying to some homeowners. It is the material of choice for commercial kitchens and among chefs. It does have an industrial feel, but with the right style kitchen and the right homeowner, stainless steel can be an excellent choice.
Stainless steel counters will scratch and develop a patina over time. Dents can also be a concern, but with professional installation this can be minimize and possibly avoided by tight installation of hardwood underneath the counter. The gauge of metal that you use will also affect its ability to dent and ding (the higher the gauge the thinner the metal).