What types of kitchen countertops are best?Rebecca Hinshelwood
My kitchen countertop’s better than yours! No, mine is best! OK, no one has ever actually had this argument, but it’s part of a thought process as we work out our ideal kitchen design. The problem is, though, that what qualifies the ‘best’ differs for every one of us. It all depends on your taste, your lifestyle, your priorities and, of course, your budget. So how can there be the best kitchen countertop? In reality, different people will have different ‘best’ countertops. So all we can do is to look at performance across different elements of a worktop…
While some people are willing to undertake the more intensive maintenance requirements of a wooden countertop, others prefer to minimise maintenance. All-natural stones are naturally hygienic and require little ongoing maintenance. Granite and marble are porous stones but are heat and stain-resistant when sealed. A resealing process is advised every year or two to keep the stone at its best. Quartz and similar engineered stones like Dekton go even further. As resin is mixed with the stone during manufacture, the countertop remains low maintenance without any further treatment. Similarly, glass countertops are entirely non-porous and require no ongoing maintenance.
Although great for your bank balance, cheaper countertops like laminates simply aren’t as durable than more solid materials. When they get damaged, the whole surface will need to be replaced. While signs of use and wear tend to be part of the appeal of wooden countertops, this is not for everyone. One of the benefits of wood is that any marks and stains can be easily sanded out. Many other materials are not so easy to fix if damaged. If you do experience a chip in granites or marbles these can be filled using resins, so in the unlikely event of damage, all is not lost! Similarly, glass and steel are very durable countertop materials. However, scratches and dents can be complicated to make good.
This really is a personal decision. What is beautiful to one person may be less so for another. If you’re planning a traditional or country style concept, wooden countertops are common. Stone countertops have the benefit of flexibility. Neutral toned granites can complete a traditional concept, while elegant marbles set off a minimalist scheme. The regular graining of quartz is ideal for flawless contemporary designs. Or the reflective appeal of both glass and quartz countertops is an ideal feature within a huge range of aesthetic schemes.
For your countertop to be best for you, it must fulfil the practical requirements of your circumstances. Keen bakers will have different priorities for regular entertainers. You should cater for the traffic and activity in your kitchen. Stone countertops can endure extreme heat and water contact without being damaged. So you can put hot dishes from the oven straight onto the countertop without the need for hot plates. This is ideal for busy kitchens populated by many people. Going still further, engineered stones are even scratch-resistant. So the only thing that you need to be conscious of is potential damage to your cooking knives!
Cost is not an accurate reflection of value. Setting a budget is very important, and a countertop budget is just part of an overall kitchen budget. As the countertop is the one part of a kitchen which can potentially last a lifetime, it’s worth dedicating a fair sum for it. Many material choices cover a wide range of costs per metre, depending on the final style that you choose. So you may find that a granite or quartz countertop is not so far out of reach.
At Zenstone, we believe that stone provides the best countertops for the majority of circumstances. We’re passionate about helping our customers find a variety that fits their needs and their budget. To find out more, get in touch.