Types of Countertops
There are a variety of styles of for countertops with some new developments in construction and style happening fairly recently. Solid surface countertops, Formica, and Corian are some of the newer styles that are more durable than laminate but less expensive than stone. Granite and quartz countertops are a popular choice for stone countertops. They are so popular because of their elegant look and beautiful, natural appeal. Wood countertops, cement countertops, and laminate countertops are all popular styles as well. Carefully research pricing and styles to make sure you get the right countertops for your home. We've put together a brief description of the following countertop types:
No two slabs of granite are alike. This is part of their appeal. It is a natural gift from the earth that is mined the world over. They are highly resistant to heat and scratching. However, granite countertops and quartz countertops are porous so be careful with the beverages! Wipe up any wine or juice spills up right away. With regards to price, they are expensive in comparison to the alternatives but are a great choice if you can afford them. They run anywhere from $50-$100 per square foot.
Laminate countertops have a hard laminate covering that is glued onto a soft core made of composite material. The best thing about laminate countertops is the affordability. They are inexpensive when compared to most other styles of countertops. At a fraction of the price of their stone and granite counterparts, they are one of the least expensive options. Laminate countertops are not heat and scratch resistant. However, they are stain resistant so don't worry too much about the spilt wine or grape juice. That will come right off. As stated earlier, the price is one of the most attractive features of laminate countertops with prices starting at a mere $15-$20 per square foot.
Solid Surfaces Countertops
Solid Surface countertops are a relatively new style of countertop that has become very popular. Corian and Formica are brands of solid surface countertops. They offer greater durability and more solid construction than laminate countertops because they are made of the same material through and through. This feature, combined with a price that is closer to that of laminate countertop than stone or wood make these countertops a very valuable choice. Solid surface countertops are resistant to stains because of their non-porous construction. However, they are not resistant to heat and scratching. A major advantage of these countertops is that they can be repaired and refinished in event they are scuffed or damaged. Solid surface countertops have a long life, much longer than a laminate countertop. They are close in price per foot to laminate which makes them a high value choice.
Ceramic tile countertops remain a popular and economical choice. With prices in the range of $10 to $40 per square foot, they are a fairly cost effective choice of countertop. The major downside of these types of countertops is the grouting that connects the tiles. Grouting a countertop in your kitchen or bathroom is a major undertaking. The grouting needs to be even and come out looking good. Also, this grout is hard to keep clean. Dirt and stains can get into the grout and is tougher to clean than a flat surface countertop.
Wood countertops add a classic and warm look to a kitchen or bathroom. Oak, maple, cherry, and mahogany are all popular hardwoods that can be used in wood countertops. Maintenance is required intermittently. Mineral oil must be applied to keep your wood countertops properly sealed. Be careful not to put extremely hot items on these countertops but the wood countertops are somewhat heat resistant. Also, wood countertops are beneficial for managing germs. They are absorbent and stay dry so they tend to be good at keeping bacteria levels down. Prices range from $50-100 per square foot installed for wood countertops.
Engineered Stone Countertops
Engineered stone countertops are a uniform stone countertop. Manufacturers start with quartz composite and add stone pebbles, epoxies, and polymers. They are extremely resistant to heat and stain. Engineered stone countertops are a handsome choice with many available styles and a classy finish. Prices range from $50-$100 per square foot installed. They are as expensive as granite countertops. If the choice lies between granite and engineered stone then just decide whether you prefer the random patterns of granite or you prefer the uniform look that engineered stone provides.
Concrete countertops have a dynamic look to them. They look sharp but do take some maintenance. Because of their porous nature, they absorb stains easily. For this reason they must be sealed regularly. Concrete countertops are prefabricated and cured by the manufacturer. Each manufacturer has their own process so be sure to check out different manufacturers if this is your choice of material. They run in the price range of $75-125 per square foot. The best thing about concrete countertops is the detail and grain that make them a beautiful solid surface.