Sign In to join the community | Help

What to Look For In New Kitchen Counter Top

You’ve decided to remodel your kitchen, the decision is finally made and now the question is what type of counter top to choose? There are more options now than ever before, from Laminate to Granite to Wood, even Concrete!


Let’s look at the options:





For many years laminate counter tops were the standard in new homes and today laminate is still a popular choice. Newer laminate counter tops offer the look and feel of real wood or stone and are still the most affordable choice for counter top. The most common brands are Formica and Wilsonart.



Laminate Advantages:


(1) Low cost, laminate is the least expensive counter top available.


(2) Durable, low or no maintenance is required and laminate is very durable and resists moisture.


(3) Available in over 250 colors.


(4) Homeowner installable when using standard readymade sizes.



Downside Includes:


(1) Easily scratched with knives, cutting boards should be used at all times.


(2) Abrasive household cleaners will dull the surface.


(3) Solid color surfaces can be easily stained.


(4) Poor heat resistance; hot dishes from the oven or hot pans placed on the surface will damage it.




Solid Surface Counter Top



Solid surface counter top is an acrylic-based product which contains minerals resins and pigments. This is a man-made surface and can be formed and cut to almost any shape. One advantage is the ability to have a molded in sink, this eliminates and seams around the sink and makes for a smooth clean transition between counter and sink which makes cleaning the counter easy. The most common brands are Corian, Hi Macs and Staron.



Solid Surface Advantages:



(1) Style, solid surface can be created to mimic almost any other surface including granite, quartz or glass. Reflective metallic flakes can also be added to create unique looks.


(2) Solid surface is durable, heat resistant and won’t stain in most instances. The surface is non porous, resists bacteria and is easy to clean. Sunlight won’t fade it.


(3) Minor scratches can be sanded out, seams are virtually invisible.


Downside Includes:


(1) Greater expense than laminate, counter must be custom made and installed.


(2) The surface will show scratches.


(3) Hot dishes straight from the oven can damage the surface.


(4) Molded in sinks can be difficult to replace.


(5) Installation requires experienced professionals to assure an attractive finished counter top.



Quartz Counter Top:



Quartz counter top is a manufactured product using quartz crystals and resins. Quartz is one of the hardest minerals on earth, and offers a multidimensional gem like color. Common brands are Silestone Cambria and Zodiaq. Quartz is quickly becoming a top choice for new counter tops.



Quartz Counter Top Advantages:



(1) Numerous color choices unavailable in other products.


(2) Anti-bacterial agents added to the resin inhibit bacterial growth.


(3) Non Porous, maintenance free, needs no sealing or polishing.


(4) Almost impossible to stain


(5) Extremely durable surface.



Downside Includes:


(1) Not a DIY product, professional installation required, installation requires experienced professionals.


(2) Surface can be damaged by extreme heat, a trivet or heat resistant pads should be used at all times.


(3) Expensive, costs as much as or more than Granite.


(4) Weight, the product is heavy and in some instances cabinets will need to be reinforced to accept the load.



Granite Counter Top:



Granite is the number one counter top choice for high end kitchens. Granite is a natural stone product and offers a vivid natural palette and a near diamond hard surface.  Depending upon where in the world it is mined, the colors can vary widely, from white and gold, to pink, green and even black.



Granite Advantages:



(1) Resists heat, scratches and abrasion.


(2) Offers an almost endless variety of patterns, veins, specks and swirls, each piece is unique.


(3) Customer can select the slab prior to fabrication of the counter top.


(4) Granite offered by The Home Depot is pre-sealed and requires no maintenance. A Home Depot Exclusive!



Downside Includes:


(1) Cost, this is the most expensive counter top available. Fabrication is time consuming and expensive.


(2) Natural granite must periodically sealed to prevent stains. Dark colors will show scratches


(3) Stains often cannot be removed.


(4) Damaged counter top is not easily repaired, often it must be replaced.



Other options:




Soapstone is a rugged natural stone that makes an excellent counter top. It has natural veining and can be treated with mineral oil to create a dark rich finish. Damage can be sanded out and oiling the top periodically will hide scratches.


On the downside Soapstone is a relatively soft stone and scratches easily, it is usually only available in 6 foot sections and installation will require more seams and labor.





Natural wood counters offer a variety of colors and patterns. Wood counter top is elegant and adds warmth to a kitchen. Wood species can be selected to match cabinetry. Natural wood weathers and becomes more beautiful with time.


On the downside wood counter tops must be periodically refinished to maintain the surface. Wood scratches easily and the surface is not anti-bacterial. Wood counter top must be carefully maintained around sinks to avoid damage from water and cleaning agents.





Concrete counter tops are durable and heat resistant (after all there concrete) they can be formed in any shape desired and be imbedded with stone and glass or dyed to different colors.


On the downside, concrete counter tops are expensive to install, chip and stain easily and cabinetry must be reinforced to hold the load as concrete is very heavy.



Ceramic Tile:


Ceramic tile was at one time a very popular counter top choice; it’s definitely a DIY project and can be repaired if damaged. However today's newer materials offer greater durability and ease of maintenance.


So which Counter top is right for you? Check out the chart below for a rundown on the pro and cons!




Top considerations when choosing new counter top.



(1) Cost, every remodel has a budget, very few are unlimited. Select you top two or three choices then consider the cost, choose the best option based on your desires and budget.



(2) Style and durability, Laminate counter tops can be very attractive and offer good durability, while Granite is elegant and will last virtually forever. Solid surface can be a good compromise based on style durability and cost.



(3) Color selection, Quartz and Granite offer some of the broadest selection of colors, however new laminate counter top color selections exceed all others.



(4) Consider the contractor, make sure you select a reputable contractor, check out his or her references and make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured.



(5) Home Depot offers complete counter top services from selection to design to installation. Home Depot Kitchen designers will make sure you have the best counter top at the best price.



Mike, The Home Depot Answer Man

Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2015-04-07T00:31:43+0000  by Mike_HD_OC Mike_HD_OC