When it comes to swapping your kitchen countertops, there’s no better time than now. There are more options available to you than ever before, from natural stone and renewable acrylic sheets, to stained concrete or quartz composites. Between all the available materials there are dozens of available patterns, colors, and designs available that can satisfy any design preference.
There’s no one countertop that will satisfy everyone, and many factors will affect your purchase decision. Premiere is here to help you find the perfect countertop to satisfy your needs and your price range.
Natural Stone is one of the most common modern countertop materials being used. Common natural stones used to make countertops include granite, soapstone, and slate, and each material has its benefits. Granite is by far the most popular, coming in a wide variety of colors and finish types. Once the granite is cut it’s treated with a sealer that makes it stain resistant for around 10 years (just be sure to use a stone cleaner for everyday cleaning). The downside to using granite is it’s not exactly cheap. Depending its color and complexity, it’ll run you between $100 to over $300 per square foot.
Soapstone and slate both come in fewer colors, and can be fabricated into sinks that match the countertop. Soapstone is porous, and needs to be sealed with mineral oil to reduce staining. Slate, however, is nearly maintenance-free, and minor scratches can be buffed out with steel wool. Slate countertops cost around $150 to $200 per square foot, and soapstone is priced $100 to $150 per square foot.
With the increasing popularity of stone or acrylic materials, more traditional wood countertops have lost prominence. It’s hard to beat the natural warmth and beauty of wood, but a higher need for maintenance can be off-putting for some busy homeowners. However, there are some occasions where wood is ideal, such as food chopping blocks, eat-at counters or bakers prep areas. Wood is the only countertop material recommended for slicing, cutting, and chopping, so if you want a counter that allows you to do all these things, wood is the material for you. Prices of wood countertops vary depending on the species of wood you use, but on average they’ll cost around $100 to $250 per square foot.
Common types of solid-surface materials include Corian, bauxite, and Wilsonart. These are made of 100% polyester, 100% acrylic, or any combination of poly and acrylic. These are highly resistant to stains and scratches, as well as easy to repair and renew. The materials come in hundreds of colors and patterns, making it one of the most diverse types of countertop available. Some will dismiss solid-surface materials as imitation stone, but their durability combined with diverse range of design options make it one of the most popular countertop materials.
Quartz Composite, also known as engineered stone, is another solid surfacing material that’s composed of around 90% quartz and 10% of acrylic of epoxy. The main difference between this and traditional solid-surface materials are that quartz composite are much harder and have much more depth and radiance. Quartz composites cost slightly more than solid-surface countertops, but both are comparable to high-end granite and will run you between $200 and $350 per square foot.
Porcelain and ceramic tile were once popular countertop options, but that popularity has decreased in favor of more low-maintenance and seamless options. But tile, like wood, still has its uses despite being slightly more high maintenance. Tile is an excellent option for backsplashes, islands, eat-at counters or wet bars. It’s important to make sure you use tiles rated for floor or counters instead of wall tiles, as wall tiles are thin and crack easily.
Tile has a diverse price range, and can cost as little as $1 per square foot of tile. The average cost is about $5 to $10 per square foot, with pro installation costing from $30 to $50 per square foot.
Often referred to as Formica, plastic laminate is a durable material that can survive many years in the toughest kitchens. It’s available in hundreds of colors and dozens of patterns, but make sure to only use matte or fine-matte finishes for countertops. There are two basic types of laminates: 1/16-inch general purpose should be used for your countertops, while 1/32-inch vertical should only be used for backsplashes, cabinet doors, and drawer faces. The cost of plastic laminate ranges from $2 to $3 per square foot, while custom-built counters will be around $20 to $50 per square foot.
Concrete counters are becoming increasingly popular due to the quality of the casts and their resemblance to slabs of natural stone. Pre-cast counters are extremely flat and very smooth, but they also need several weeks of curing time to be sealed. A variety of colors can be achieved by adding pigments to the concrete during mixing, and once cured, the slabs are stain resistance due to the sealing. However, cracking is always a concern with concrete, so these countertops are reinforced by materials such as wire mesh, fiberglass or stainless steel fibers to provide extra strength. A pre-cast concrete countertop will cost between $100 to $150 per square foot, which makes it far from the most expensive material on this list when you consider that each counter is custom made.
We hope this guide to countertops educated you on the variety of materials available to you. If you feel that your kitchen counters are due for an upgrade, contact Premiere Builders today for a free estimate.