Surface Options for Your Countertops

Posted on Apr 01, 2016.

There are three main categories of countertop options: Natural MaterialQuartz Material and Non-porous Material. Here is the basic ‘low-down’ on the three categories.

Natural Material: this includes granite, marble, limestone and wood. The materials in this category require some maintenance and will age and patina over time. They will not look perfect and brand new forever but this, in my opinion, is part of what makes natural material an interesting and viable option to consider and should not be omitted without further exploration and understanding.

Quartz Material: this category includes material defined as natural or engineered stone, the latter being made from approximately 95% natural quartz and 5% polymer resins. You might recognize brand names such asSileStoneCaesarStoneCambria and Zodiac. Quartz has become a very desirable option for kitchen countertops because they are non-porous surfaces that are scratch resistant, requiring little to no maintenance.

Non-porous Material: surfaces in this category are quite varied and include stainless steel, glass, tile, laminate and acrylic surfaces, such as Corian. These materials offer various qualities but the unifying characteristic is that they are all manufactured materials and are all considered non-porous.

There will be advantages and disadvantages to any of the above materials you choose for your kitchen countertop, and you will want to explore the reasons to choose one material over another with your kitchen designer. When I’m having this discussion with my own clients, I sometimes suggest mixing various countertops in a kitchen, based on how a surface will be used. The colour or textural quality of a natural stone like marble or granite may really set the tone for the entire kitchen, but doesn’t have to be used throughout the space. A stainless steel surface would be great for the sink/clean-up area or maybe a quartz material would be a better choice for a heavily used food preparation area. Either of these materials can be used along with a natural countertop material to enhance the overall design and provide a more durable work surface.

After exploring the various options, you may come to the conclusion that no other material will match and give you the inherent quality and character that natural stone brings to the table. Relax, take a deep breath and accept that it won’t be perfect forever – and go for it! Yes, it’s true that natural countertop options like marble and granite can mark and stain, and that some are more susceptible to this then others, but let’s have a little perspective here. There are streets in Italy clad in marble, for goodness’ sake, and some of the most renowned architecture in the world was built entirely of stone and is still standing after hundreds of years of use and environmental exposure! Albeit it may be a little rough around the edges after all these years, but has stood the test of time and, just like us, it changes with age, but it endures and becomes more beautiful over the years.

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