COUNTERTOP MATERIALS : KNOW YOUR OPTIONS!

Since we have pretty much been up to our eyeballs in Bathroom and Kitchen designs (12 in total at the moment!), we have really found there to be a need for a bit of a guide when it comes to COUNTERTOPS!  We are going to do a series on all of the countertop options and things to know when trying to tackle a project with any sort of countertop involved, but we thought first things first, let's just explore the RANGE of options for countertops, then we will delve into each individual choice for specific materials.  

Like anything, If you are prepared with the right bits of knowledge, understanding what is out there and know what you need out of the countertop, choosing a material that is right for you will be a piece of cake.  If, on the other hand, your a bit clueless to it all it can feel nothing short of overwhelming! So we are here to give you our guide to materials, rough pricing and their differences in durability. 

Have any specific questions you want us to answer for you?! Please let us know in a comment below so that we can be sure to include it in our upcoming posts! 

MARBLE 

  • Marble comes in a variety of shades and is extremely popular in the aesthetic department.
  • Has a smooth surface, won't chip, and is heat-resistant.
  • Available in Polished, Honed or Leather finished
  • In the expensive category @ $100-400 per square foot.
  • Can be scratched or etched by acids (citrus, coffee, alcohol, some cleaning products) even if you seal it : One of the biggest reasons people shy away from Marble.
  • If you are vigilant about spills and seal your counters a few times a year marble is a GORGEOUS option. 

GRANITE 

  • More durable than marble, won't scratch, resistant to stains, heat and water if sealed.
  • Low-maintenance 
  • Plenty of color options, available in polished, honed or leather finishes.
  • $100-400 per square foot.
  • requires resealing about once a year. 

QUARTZITE

  • Natural quartzite are generally white or gray with hints of brown and black.
  • Has the look of marble but acts like granite in durability.
  • Harder than granite and doesn’t scratch or etch the way other natural stones can.
  • Heat Resistant
  • The benefits of natural quartzite makes the price worth it for many who don't want the maintenance of a marble, but still want to achieve the look.
  • It's hardness protects it from scratching and etching, but as a natural stone, it does need sealing to help it resist stains.
  • $60 - $150 per square foot.

ENGINEERED STONES (I.E. MANMADE or MARBLE ALTERNATIVES) 

  • Nonporous, resists scratches and stains.
  • Easy to maintain AND no sealant required : GREAT option for people with kids or who want low maintenance. 
  • Looks like natural stone (it's at least 90% quartz) engineered to mimic stone.
  • Can be mixed with pigments for custom color.
  • Affordable @ $50-150 per square foot. 
  • A few well known brands: CaesarStoneSilestoneCambria.

DEKTON & NEOLITH (ENGINEERED MARBLE ALTERNATIVE)

  • These countertops do NOT scratch or stain, and they’re heat resistant : I.E. BULLETPROOF! 
  • Gorgeous compact surface that is 100% eco-friendly and man-made. 
  • Stain resistant and easy to clean and maintain.
  • It comes in many colors, but our favorites are the ones that resemble marble. (Estatuario and Calacatta)
  • Neolith started in Europe, but it has now made it’s way to the United States and can be found on the East Coast and the West Coast. Dekton is readily available at places like Home Depot 
  • $150+ per square foot 

BUTCHER BLOCK 

  • Butcher Block is good for chopping/prep surface (even as a partial countertop)
  • Gentle on delicate glassware/china. 
  • Easily damaged by burns, dents, spills and scratches
  • Requires food-safe protective sealer and needs regular maintenance.
  • Will discolor if installed around the sink.
  • Affordable @ $40-150 per square foot.

LAVASTONE 

  • Beautiful crackled finish, many color options
  • Non-porous and highly resistant to heat, cold, stains and scratching,
  • Extremely durable and low-maintenance. 
  • Expensive at least $225 per square foot
  • Brand: Pyrolave.

CONCRETE 

  • Heat and scratch-resistant
  • Smooth finish with lots of texture and color options.
  • Very durable if properly installed
  • Can seamlessly integrate sink and backsplash
  • Can crack, somewhat porous, must be sealed and waxed, needs to be custom cast for best results.
  • Can be pricey to fabricate at around $80-150 per square foot.
  • Google local Concrete Countertop fabricators to get job specific pricing. One of our favorite local concrete specialists : Hart Concrete Design

SOAPSTONE 

  • Fabulous natural grey color, smooth matte feel
  • Resistant to etching from acids, fairly resistant to stains.
  • Scratches can be easily sanded or oiled away.
  • Not as harmful to the environment as other quarried stones. 
  • Needs regular maintenance, may crack, chip and scratch, color may darken.
  • Around $75-150 per square foot.

Stay tuned for our next post where we will delve into more specifics on each one of these categories and the pros and cons of each.  Have a questions for us? Ask away in the comments section!