Beside the cabinets, countertops are the most visible design element in a kitchen. You may want to choose a countertop material solely based on looks, but your counters are where much of the action in the kitchen happens — they take a beating every day, meaning the option you choose will be for utility as much as style.
That said, selecting the right material can be tricky. There are so many options in engineered and natural countertops, not to mention all the color options available. Important factors that custom house builders will encourage you to consider include:
- Color and design
- Size and shape (slab length, thickness and edge style)
- Kitchen island (whether you will have one and matching it to the counters)
- Backsplash (matching the materials)
- Durability and maintenance requirements
- Cost (now and over the long term)
What to Think About
Keep the following guidance in mind to help you make your final selection when working with custom house builders.
- Think about how you use your kitchen. Are you cooking daily for a large family or is eating out more your style? If you are a busy chef, avoid delicate and demanding surfaces such as marble and soapstone. Engineered stone, granite, concrete and wood are tough and forgiving. Solid-surface countertops are nonporous and resist scratches and stains but can be deformed by high heat. Laminate can chip and scratch easily and will scorch if it comes in contact with a hot pan, so forgetting a trivet can ruin an entire countertop.
- Determine your design style. Certain materials are best paired with particular styles, such as wood countertops in a farmhouse kitchen and concrete counters in a modern kitchen. Granite and engineered stone offer more versatility since they come in a range of colors and either a matte or polished finish, making them suitable for almost any kitchen style.
- Know your budget. Countertops will take up a good percentage of your budget, so be aware of the price point that will work for you. The cost of granite varies depending on the source of the stone, color, thickness and finish. Engineered stone also ranges in price but is generally less expensive than granite. Marble tops all countertop materials in cost, while laminate is one of the cheapest options. The cost of wood falls between laminate and solid surface.
- Consider how much maintenance you can tolerate. All natural stone countertops must be sealed periodically. Marble and soapstone are more porous and less durable compared to granite, which means they need to be sealed more often. If acidic liquids or foods are left on these stones for a long period of time, lasting stains will be left behind. Granite is much more resistant to heat and staining but, as a natural stone, it still must be sealed annually to repel spills. Concrete is very high-maintenance, requiring sealing every two years and waxing every other month to protect the sealer. Wood needs periodic oiling to deter stains and sanding to remove nicks and scratches.
Need Design Help? Contact Gateway Today
As custom house builders, the Gateway team can implement virtually any countertop material into a home design. However, engineered stone and granite are the most popular countertop options used in our homes. If you need guidance, our experienced team offers design assistance to facilitate the selections for your interior and exterior home finishes. To discuss your dreams for your next home, give us a call today at (307) 632-8950 or complete our online contact request form. We are eager to help you build your future today!
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