If cooking is the main event in your kitchen, your countertops are the backdrop to the festivities. Choosing a countertop surface that suits your lifestyle is one of the first steps in creating a functional kitchen. With so many options out there, it’s hard to know the differences. Read below to learn about common countertop surfaces.
Known for its beauty and durability, granite is mined from pure stone, sawed into slabs, and polished for installation. Granite shows slight variations in color and veining, which adds to the one-of-a-kind beauty of this stone. Overall, granite is easy to take care of, but it is best to avoid harsh cleaning products. Instead, a little soap and water will do the trick! And, because some granites are more porous than others, they may require periodic sealing to prevent future staining.
Quartz is similar in appearance and performance compared to granite, yet it is quite different in its makeup. Quartz countertops are manufactured from crushed quartz mixed with pigments (for color) and a resin binder which helps with stain resistance. Because quartz is man-made, the availably of colors is more significant, and the coloring is more consistent throughout the surface. Like all countertops, acidic or abrasive cleaners should be avoided when cleaning. Instead, mild soap and water are recommended.
Though similar in name to quartz, quartzite is a natural stone. Quartzite begins as sandstone, then under a natural process of heat and pressure, the sandstone is fused with sparkly quartz crystals to form quartzite. Colors range from bold dark greys and browns to light whites and beiges. Quartzite is stain, heat, and scratch-resistant, making it a popular choice for some families. A gentle cleanser, water, and a soft cloth will help protect the countertop and keep it clean.
Commonly used in farmhouse-style homes, butcher block is a timeless countertop option. Consisting of individual strips of wood fused into a sleek slab, butcher block countertops are available in a wide range of colors and finishes, from subtle, grained maple to deep, rich walnut. However, because it is wood, butcher block is sensitive to moisture and must be sealed often to prevent damage. In retrospect, butcher block countertops are easy to clean, and things like knife scratches and burn marks can be sanded out to keep the countertop looking new for many years.
Modern laminate countertops can give the look of more expensive materials, such as granite and quartz, at an affordable price. Available in hundreds of colors, technology has given modern laminates a depth of realism. In addition, this durable, nonporous material is stain-resistant and easy to clean.