Countertops lay the foundation for any busy kitchen, and deciding which material to use is an important first step in any kitchen remodel. Countertops are the surface upon which you prepare your family’s meals, the backdrop for your holiday spread, and often your kids’ homework station during the week. With an ever-growing list of materials to choose from, it may be difficult to know which is best for your kitchen. Here’s a list of what we consider the best options for today’s busy kitchen.
Countertop Surface #1: Granite
Granite remains the reigning king of countertops, and with its beauty and durability, it’s not difficult to understand why. Granite is a natural material, which means each and every slab is one of a kind. While rare colors and unique veining will cost more, granite’s return on investment is one that lasts a lifetime. If properly cared for, your granite countertops will outlast your home. Luckily, granite countertops are relatively easy to take care of. Simply wipe up spills quickly, using soapy water and a microfiber cloth and be careful to limit impact from heavy items, like cast iron skillets. Granite is strong, but a shearing action like the impact from a cast iron skillet may cause the stone to chip, which would need to be repaired by a professional. Periodic resealing is also needed to maintain a stain-free surface and prevent liquids from absorbing into the stone. Fortunately, the resealing process is simple and takes about five minutes to do.
Countertop Surface #2: Quartz
If granite is the king of countertops, quartz is the royal queen. In fact, in some busy kitchens, quartz is quickly replacing granite as the favorite. Like granite, quartz is incredibly durable. Engineered quartz countertops are made from one of the hardest materials on the planet, able to withstand what any cook can throw at it. Quartz, which is a combination of minerals, resin, and added color, stands up against abrasive pads, sharp knives, hot pots and pans, and most stains. Like granite, quartz is available in vibrant colors that closely mimic the look of the more expensive granite and marble options. Quartz requires almost no maintenance, and unlike granite, it does not need periodic resealing to keep it looking new. In fact, due to its non-porous quality, quartz countertops are actually the preferred option for most bakers. Quartz countertops may chip with heavy impacts, and in such cases, a professional would need to complete the repairs. However, opting for a rounded edge can often prevent these chips from occurring.
Countertop Surface #3: Solid Surface
Solid surface provides a durable, easy to clean and non-porous countertop for today’s busy kitchen. Invented nearly fifty years ago, solid surface has recently surged in popularity as a cost-effective alternative to quartz and granite. Because they are non-porous and antimicrobial, solid surface countertops are another favorite among bakers. Unlike quartz and granite, however, solid surface countertops are easily scorched by hot pans, so protective trivets or hot pads would need to be used. Solid surface countertops are also easily scratched, so a cutting surface is necessary. The good news is scratches in solid surface countertops are easily repaired. Maintenance is also minimal, requiring only cleaning with soapy water. Avoid using harsh acidic cleansers that can eat away at the finish.
Countertop Surface #4: Butcher Block
Surging in popularity among foodies, butcher block countertops add warmth to any busy kitchen. With an array of options to choose from, homeowners need to consider how they intend to use the counters when installing butcher block. For food prep surfaces, a closed-grain wood, such as maple, walnut or cherry, is ideal because it will not allow food to be so easily absorbed into the surface. Oak, an open-grained wood, is a beautiful choice for general, non-food prep surfaces when it’s been lacquered or varnished. Butcher block stands up to moderate heat from pots and pans, but very hot pans (like those containing hot oil for deep frying) can leave a scorch mark. Butcher block also requires periodic conditioning to replenish the oils in the wood.
Countertops for a Modern Busy Kitchen
For today’s modern kitchen that is the epicenter of the home, one countertop surface does not usually meet all the needs for any given kitchen. Very often, clients will opt for a blended kitchen, in which different areas have different countertop surfaces. For example, they may have an island that serves as the food prep area which features a butcher block countertop while the countertops along the walls are quartz, granite, or solid surface. Remodeling your home’s kitchen means creating a unique space that works for you and your family.
If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen, Aapex Construction & Restoration is here to help! Contact us today!