Kitchen Countertop Options for a Cozy Home
The kitchen in a small, tiny or Cozy house will most likely be one of the central parts of the home and the countertops are more than likely going to be the stars of that part. They will be subjected to all sorts of traffic and abuse and you will want the best material installed that you can afford. But what to get? There is a huge amount of choices out there for every budget and it can be overwhelming. Here are the top materials with their pros and cons.
When most people think of luxury countertops, they think of granite. They are more affordable than they used to be and come in a huge range of colors and patterns. Granite countertops are durable and won’t scratch and are resistant to heat, cold, stains and water. However, they can be very expensive and need to be custom cut to the size of the kitchen. They also require resealing about once a year. $50-$400 per foot cost.
Beautiful, but heavy marble comes in a wide range of colors and patterns and offers a nearly indestructible surface. It’s very heat-resistant, but can be stained or etched by acids and some cleaning products. $100-$400 per foot cost.
Lava Stone (Pyrolave)
This unusual material has a beautiful finish and many color options. It’s surprisingly non-porous and highly resistant to heat, cold, stains and scratches. It’s also low maintenance, but very expensive. Around $225 per foot cost.
Stainless steel is a beautiful choice for a modern kitchen. It’s durable, stain and spill proof, impervious to temperature and is easy to clean (with specialized products). They can become nicked or scratched over time and tend to show a lot of fingerprints. $100-$300 per foot cost.
The first time I saw a poured concrete countertop, I fell in love. You get the look of stone with a lot less cost and the materials is smooth, strong and durable. You can also personalize it with lots of textures (including embedded materials like stones and shells) and colors. However, they can get cracked and are porous unless they are regularly sealed and waxed. Each concrete countertop does need a custom cast. $80-$150 per foot cost.
Soapstone has been used for ages to make stoves, so this heat-proof stone is a perfect choice for the kitchen. It has a smooth, matte gray finish and is resistant to acids. Scratches can be sanded or oiled away and the stone is not as harmful to the environment as other quarry harvested rock. It does need regular maintenance and may crack, chip or scratch. $75-$150 per foot cost.
Glass is an interesting and stylish approach to kitchen counters. They are naturally heat-resistant and easy to install. They can be chipped or broken easily and must be replaced. They also show lots of fingerprints and scratches. $60-$300 per foot cost.
Engineered Stones (Silestone, CaesarStone, etc.)
Engineered stones will give you the look of granite or marble for about half the price. They come in various mixes of quartz combined with pigments for nearly any color you can think of. They resist scratches and stains and no sealant is required. However, they are not heat-proof. $50-$150 per foot cost.
Solid Surface (Corian, Staron, ECO, etc.)
Solid surface countertops are made with durable, man-made acrylic and have a very smooth surface which is easy to integrate into the sink and backsplash. You can even sand away stains and scratches. A ton of colors and patterns are available and they can be made to look like marble or granite. They can be damaged by heat. $45-$150 per foot cost.
Many aspiring chefs dream of the full butcher block kitchen counter which are useful for prepping and chopping foods. The look of wood makes the whole kitchen seem warmer, but because it is porous it will need regular maintenance and a food-safe sealer. The wood can become damaged by burns, dents and spills. $40-$150 per foot cost.
Ceramic tile is DIYer’s dream. It’s fairly inexpensive and easy to install. The tile itself is heat and moisture-resistant. However, it’s the germaphobe’s nightmare. Food spills can become embedded in the grout and the tiles can get scratched, stained or broken. $2-$150 per foot cost.
Laminates (Formica, Pionite, etc.)
One of the most budget-friendly materials, laminates are stain-resistant, waterproof and low maintenance. They also come in a large range of colors. They are not heatproof, though and can crack and scratch and are difficult to repair. $45-$70 per foot cost.
Paper-based Composite (PaperStone, Richlite, etc.)
These types of composites are made from recycled paper, so they are some of the most green materials for kitchen countertops. They are durable, harder than wood and somewhat heat-resistant. They can scratch and stain and they do require sealant. $45-$70 per foot cost.
Bamboo & Paper Composite
This is another green material made from the fast growing and sustainable grass. It’s durable, won’t discolor and is scratch, water and stain-proof. A few colors are available but it does require some maintenance. $35+ per foot cost.