Choosing a Countertop for Your Kitchen
The number of available kitchen countertop materials today is greater and more diverse than ever. Your choices for a countertop include
- solid surface
How to choose?
When interviewed, Craig Teitsma of Craig Allen Designs said: “In my years as a kitchen designer, quartz is by far the most popular countertop material I’ve had homeowners ask for. It’s also the one I mention when clients ask me for my recommendation.”
Quartz (or engineered stone) has many advantages. It’s non-porous, stain-resistant, doesn’t need sealed, can be less costly than granite and is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Quartz countertops look like granite or marble but have no seams, providing an uninterrupted surface. The color is more uniform than the variations found in natural stone. You’ll be able to get a perfect match throughout your kitchen.
Quartz is extremely durable – it doesn’t crack like granite can, it’s heat resistant and resistant to cuts and scratches – although a cutting board is recommended.
“Ella” is a luxury quartz offered by Cambria that looks like marble.
Chinese Quartz Pros & Cons
I’ve had clients who purchased Chinese quartz with good results. Cambria has more color options than most of the imports, but Cambria costs more. I’ve heard complaints from fellow designers that Chinese quartz has color inconsistencies, but my clients have not experienced this. Also, there is the issue of unknown chemicals used in the Chinese quartz, but again, my clients have had no problems with their countertops.
When it comes to countertop finish, most people prefer the look of a polished or shiny countertop, but a honed or matte finish is sometimes requested. It’s all about personal preference.
Granite for Countertops
People always ask about granite since granite has been so popular for so long. There’s no question granite countertops are beautiful, but the objection has always been with the maintenance involved when using natural stone. Granite needs sealed every year, but now granite slabs and other natural stone slabs are being sealed with an epoxy that eliminates the need for sealing.
Then there’s the cost. A wide range of types of granite exists, from the high end down to the most basic. You can expect to pay anywhere between $50 – $150 per square foot. And that’s what quartz countertops cost, as well.
And speaking of costs — not many homeowners ask for Formica anymore, but the price of this laminate has risen in recent years to be almost equal with the costs of natural stone or quartz.
How to Choose?
We’ve put together this list that shows the categories and one of the companies that either manufacture or supply the material.
Items marked with an asterisk * have an expanded description below the chart.
|Type of Material||Company | Brand Name||Website|
|Engineered Stone||Vicostone USA||us.vicostone.com|
|Glass||Andrew Pearson Glass||andrewpearsonglass.com|
|Honeycomb Calcite||Colors of the Wind||colorsofthewind.net/about/|
|Natural Stone||Contour Countertops||contourcountertops.com|
|Paper Composite||Richlite Co.||richlite.com|
|Solid Surface||Corian Design*||corian.com|
|Stainless Steel||A-line by Advance Tabco||alinebyadvancetabco.com|
|Wood||John Boos & Co.||johnboos.com|
|Zinc||M S International||msistone.com|
Dekton for Kitchen Countertops
*Dekton is made using a high tech sinterized technology that imitates what takes Mother Nature thousands of years to create. It uses high temperatures and pressure to speed up the process. Dekton can look like Calacatta and Carrara marble, and slabs can be book-matched. See a photo and read about it here.
Calacatta Marble for Kitchen Countertops
*Calacatta Marble is a gorgeous, high-end, very desirable natural stone. It has a very distinctive look. When it gets a honed finish, it’s especially elegant and classic.
Calacatta Oro is white with golden beige veining, an excellent choice to match with popular brass hardware. See a photo here.
Neolith for Kitchen Countertops
- Extremely durable
- Resistant to scratching
- Not damaged by high or low temperatures
- Not susceptible to UV color damage
- 100% resin-free
- Does not release any harmful substances into the environment
River White Granite for Kitchen Countertops
*River White Granite is a white granite with burgundy flecks that’s quarried in India. It can be substituted for marble due to its white color. River White is the color of the granite, not a brand name. Photo here.
Vicostone Quartz for Kitchen Countertops
*Vicostone Quartz is designed to look like natural stone with “great movement”, i.e., lots of veining. It’s ideal for families with active children who want the look of marble without the staining. And the high price tag. Photos here and here. Vicostone also has Super White, which they claim is the “world’s whitest” quartz.
Porcelanosa KRION for Kitchen Countertops
*Porcelanosa KRION™ is a solid surface material made with natural minerals, a low percentage of resins and crystalline particles to give it a little shimmer.
- 100% recyclable
- ideal for countertops if you want the look of natural stone.
Check it out here.
Dupont Corian for Kitchen Countertops
*Dupont Corian is a man-made solid surface material, made from a combination of natural materials, acrylic or epoxy resins and pigments.
Now you can get Corian with a built-in charging surface! You can charge your smart devices wirelessly. The built-in charger is available in every Corian color. How does it work, you ask? Energy is transferred safely from below the Corian surface. See photos and get more info here.
Vetrazzo Recycled Glass Countertops
*Vetrazzo recycled glass countertops are an eco-friendly option and are manufactured using 85% recycled glass. They come in an amazing variety of color combinations; it can be all one color or different colored pieces.
Cautionary note from Craig: I have to issue a word of warning here about recycled glass countertops. They are beautiful, no doubt. But I have seen ones where little chips of glass have come loose and fell out. This leaves an unsightly hole in the countertop surface.
Butcher Block for Kitchen Countertops
*John Boos & Co is well known for its butcher block. (See photos here.) Butcher block is constructed from pieces of hardwood Maple glued together for strength and stability.
An entire kitchen of butcher block countertops can be too much butcher block for some. It lends itself very well to an accent space, like on the island or by the range.
Butcher block countertops age well and develop a nice patina over time.
Laminates for Kitchen Countertops
*Formica and Wilsonart laminates are not what your grandma had on her countertops. Today’s laminates are made from recycled paper bonded with melamine. All laminate countertops are manufactured with a backing that makes them strong and durable. Laminate lasts a long time.
If you ever get tired of laminate countertops, you can donate them to schools to reuse.
Bamboo for Kitchen Countertops
* Teragren bamboo is an alternative to a wood countertop. Bamboo is actually a grass that can grow three feet in one day! So it’s definitely a sustainable product. And the plant’s knuckles create the pattern you see when it’s made into planks.
Bamboo countertops are made the same way that plywood is made. Sheets of bamboo are bound together with adhesive to form boards. See pictures and design ideas here.
The decision is up to you. It all comes down to what you like and the look you are going for in your new kitchen. And how much you want to spend on countertops.
Craig Allen Designs will guide your choices and ensure you get the kitchen countertop that matches the look you like and the price you can afford.