Stylish & sustainable choices of Kitchen Countertop.

Countertops are one of the most important things to consider when doing kitchen repair. And in them, beauty and functionality can really combine. Of course, in case you make the right choice depending on your needs and taste in design. San Diego residents can choose from lots of kitchen countertops options available on the market. And this article is to help make a wise choice.

Two of the most popular countertops material options are granite and quartz. They both are able to survive all your kitchen routine like hot pots, knife cuts and so on, and remain good looking. However, quartz needs less maintenance and care.

Quartz (another name – “engineered stone”) is a mix of stone, resin and colourant. By means of innovative technologies, manufacturers are developing quartz patterns that look more and more like the natural stone.

Despite of that, granite continues to be desirable, as it has a vast number of colors and patterns, to this its price is quite low. Being heat resistant and sustainable, it still needs to be resealed from time to time, some visible countertops repair and more maintenance, as it was noted above.

Granite in countertops is a bestseller.

Granite CountertopWith such a strong demand, no wonder that more and more companies release granite kitchen countertops. They are for example DuPont and Home Depot.

These companies offer branded granite with some warranties available for San Diego residents. Warranty in their case means that companies will offer you help with repairing damages, but they will not replace the counters themselves.

 

Concrete: fragile and still not popular.

Concrete countertopsConcrete kitchen countertops are often produced and installed by local companies. That means their quality varies a lot.

However, in general they tend to be scratched easily and even develop cracks.

Topical sealers may withstand stains, but heat may result in cracks; the opposite is true for penetrating sealers.

 

 

HOW TO MAKE A RIGHT CHOISE

  • Think of your lifestyle. If you have small children or pets, you should avoid fragile and easily-scratched options. Otherwise, if you are single and busy, the first thing to consider is style.
  • Get acquainted with granite countertops. Quartz or laminate will be likely the same as the store samples. But in case of natural stone, its features may vary a lot. If such option is provided by your manufacturer, pick stone piece on your own.
  • Choose right edges. Bevels and bull noses can make low-priced counters look better but increase their cost at the same time.
  • Consider your sink. If you have undermount sink, you should choose from only waterproof materials like quartz or natural stone. And if you want to replace your sink with the one of the same material, consider quartz, steel or concrete.
  • Finish is not that important. There are glossy and matte varieties of sealed stone countertops finishes. It is normally believed that honed finish is more strain-resistant than glossy, but in fact it is not true.
  • Seams matter. Seams are quite easy to be smoothen and made invisible on solid surfaces and stainless steel. However, laminates, as a rule, have seams. Seamless options are available too, but they are limited in colors and patterns.

Balance the style you like with how you will use the countertop.

quartz-countertopGranite CountertopCERAMIC TILE COUNTERTOPSTAINLESS STEEL COUNTERTOP
QUARTZ COUNTERTOPS
Pros: ideal if you use your kitchen often. Lots of colors. No need for being sealed.
Cons: can be too uniform. Quiet fragile edges.
Examples Cambria, , Zodiaq.
Price $45 to $90 per sq. foot, installed.
GRANITE COUNTERTOPS
Pros: ideal for most heavily used areas. Firm, heat resistant.
Cons: needs to be sealed from time to time. Color and grain may differ from samples a lot.
Examples Walker Zanger
Price $40 to $100 per sq. foot, installed.
CERAMIC TILE COUNTERTOPS
Pros: wide range of options, easy installation. Heat resistant.
Cons: fragile.
Examples Dal-Tile.
Price $10 to $30 per sq. foot, installed.
STAINLESS STEEL COUNTERTOPS
Pros: stylish, heat and stain resistant.
Cons: easily dents and scratches, though finishes hiding scratches are available.
Examples Frigo Design
Price $120 to $140 per sq. foot, installed.
LAMINATE COUNTERTOPSSOLID SURFACE COUNTERTOPMARBLE COUNTERTOPConcrete countertops
LAMINATE COUNTERTOPS
Pros: sustainable, variable in patterns, low price.
Cons: scratched easily and not repairable. May have visible seams.
Examples Wilsonart, Nevamar.
Price $10 to $30 per sq. foot, installed
SOLID SURFACE
Pros: seamless and easily-repairable.
Cons: at the same time it is easily-scratches and rather expensive.
Examples Corian, Staron.
Price $35 to $80 per sq. foot, installed.
MARBLE COUNTERTOPS
Pros: ideal for medium-traffic areas. Being sealed, is more strain-resistant.
Cons: requires sealing.
Examples Walker Zanger, local fabricators.
Price $40 to $100 per sq. foot, installed.
CONCRETE COUNTERTOPS
Pros: has unique look, can be dyed and textured.
Cons: requires sealing. Fragile and scratches easily. Quality varies.
Examples Cheng Design, Soupcan.
Price $80 to $120 per sq. foot, installed.
LIMESTONE-COUNTERTOPBUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP
LIMESTONE COUNTERTOPS
Pros: stone look, ideal for low-traffic areas.
Cons: fragile, scratches easily, stains even when sealed.
Examples Walker Zanger.
Price $60 to $100 per sq. foot, installed.
BUTCHER BLOCK
Pros:cutting produce. Easy to install and repair.
Cons: requires regular cleaning, sealing, and refinishing.
Examples John Boos,
Price $40 to $65 per square foot, installed.

DOING IT RIGHT!

Cracks, sagging and other damages easily ruin the look of even the most beautiful countertop. So does the improper care. Consider some tips for installation and maintenance:
Check references and previous works.
This is desirable in any case, but if your choice is concrete, this step is crucial. Concrete fabricators usually work from scratch. Look for references for works done some ears earlier to see how well the countertops showed themselves in the course of time.

The fabricator should do the measuring.
Do not make measurements on your own, including all templates and cutouts. In case if you let the fabricator do this work, any possible mistakes will be their responsibility. Also, the measurements are better to be done after the base cabinets are on their place, so that they will be as precise as possible.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for care and maintenance. Proper care and cleaning will let your kitchen live a long life. Follow the specific recommendations for every type of kitchen countertops.

Ratings: kitchen countertops types

Ratings Guide

Overall score is the summary of all results the countertops of different types showed in the functionality tests. Stains denotes ability to resist coloring from 20 common products. Heat shows how materials resisted damage from a 400°F pot with hot oil. Cutting reflects resistance to damage from slicing and chopping using heavy knife. Abrasion is resistance to damage from sanding block. Impact denotes the ability to withstand blunt and dropped weights. Price is the typical range per square foot, with installation.

Excellent – 5 .      Very good – 4 .    Good – 3.              Fair – 2.               Poor – 1

Recommendations

Granite prices tend to fall, so now choosing between granite and quartz while doing kitchen remodeling is not a matter of price, but of preferences. However, quartz is still more strain-resistant and requires less maintenance. Marble and limestone are softer, so they need far more care. Laminate is rather cheap and versatile, but at the same time more scratchable.

As a rule, countertops are priced by the sq. foot, their price vary greatly depending on materials and brands. However, each countertops type made by different brands is quite similar as for performance. That is why we included only types and not brands in our Ratings.

Our Ratings put an emphasis on overall sustainability and resistance to different damages.