More than just the workhorse of the kitchen, countertops complete the design and style of your kitchen. They must be beautiful, functional and durable!
If you’re ready to match cabinetry and countertops, there are six popular countertops you should consider for your kitchen remodel. (Note: These are popular because of durability, function and style. Pricing will vary based on availability and fabrication costs.)
Currently the most popular choice in kitchen countertops, homeowners choose quartz surfacing because of its many advantages. Quartz doesn’t need to be sealed, and its seams blend very well. It is easy to clean and is heat, scratch and stain resistant. Because of its manufacturing process (binding quartz crystals with a resin-based product), quartz is durable and has a seemingly endless choice of colors and patterns available through brands such as Cambria, Silestone and many others.
Granite surfaces are slabs of stone cut from the earth, making each piece unique. It is more porous than quartz and does require a bit more maintenance. You can order granite countertops with a polished, shiny finish; a honed, matte finish; or a specialty finish such as flamed or leather. Because of the many choices in colors and finishes, design flexibility is a significant advantage in choosing granite.
This natural stone countertop is available in 2 cm (3/4”) and 3 cm (1-1/4”) thick slabs at a stone selection warehouse. As a counter surface, marble offers a beautiful, timeless look. It has been a preferred stone in architecture throughout the ages. However we must warn you: marble is softer and more porous than granite. It is susceptible to stains and scratches. You might say it is more of a “living” finish, but be sure you are willing to “live” with it. Even so, some of the most beautiful countertop installations are in marble.
Those who love marble should also consider quartzite because it is a natural stone with similar beauty. Quartzite is a solid, crystalline mass of mineral stone cut from the earth in slabs. It’s harder than most knife blades and is more resistant to etching than marble. The generally lighter, more subtle tones of quartzite give it design versatility.
Would you be surprised to hear that porcelains are on the rise? It is becoming a popular trend for kitchen countertops! Although not completely new, porcelain slab countertops have improved greatly. Porcelain is beautiful, durable, and low maintenance. In contrast to solid surface and engineered stone counters, porcelains are rated for exterior use.
A durable surface for hard-working kitchens, wood countertops are more sanitary than you may think! Wood offers warmth both visually (the color) and tangibly (in contrast to cold stone surfaces). Often we’ve designed a portion of a client’s kitchen countertops to be a wood species such as cherry, maple, hickory, walnut, teak, sapele or mahogany. If you use a wood countertop as a cutting or chopping surface, be willing to accept cuts and scratches in the surface and simply apply a food- safe oil to the wood.
While we haven’t discussed all the surfacing options that exist, these six countertop options are trending in kitchen design. The lasting beauty and durability make these countertops the most popular choices. There are other good quality surfaces you may want to consider researching as well, such as Durango, Soapstone, semi-precious stone and concrete.
Wood countertops have been making a comeback in recent years. Many of our clients love the idea of using wood countertops for warmth and contrast in design. And it’s a great idea! We most often recommend wood countertops for an island, or even a portion of the island as a focal feature in the kitchen.
Why do we recommend wood countertops?
We recommend wood countertops for three reasons. Wood countertops are more sanitary than you may think! Some species naturally inhibit bacteria growth, while a quality clear coat finish seals the wood for an easily cleaned surface. Secondly, wood countertops are a durable surface for hard-working kitchens. Thirdly, wood offers warmth both visually (the color) and tangibly (in contrast to cold stone surfaces) and a gorgeous, natural style.
What types of wood species are available for countertops?
Countertops are offered in many wood species such as cherry, maple, hickory, walnut, teak, or sapele mahogany. After you choose a wood species, you can choose a stain color and a finish. A natural finish will benefit from a regular application of food grade mineral oil to keep it from drying out and seals the wood. Or a quality clear top coat will seal the wood for easy clean-up and protection against water.
Why are designers using two different countertop materials in one kitchen?
A well designed kitchen uses a combination of materials to provide both strong and subtle contrasts. Contrast is distinctive, and is necessary for a well-defined space. But blending textures using wood countertops creates a harmonious balance which makes us think: “there is something so inviting about this space.”
What other tips can you give us?
If you use your wood countertop as a cutting or chopping surface, be willing to accept cuts and scratches in the surface. A redeeming quality of a wood surface is the scratches can be sanded out!
When designing an oversized island, consider warm materials such as this 1.75 inch thick wood countertop by Grothouse. The distressed and glazed walnut wood invites family and friends to gather for meals and conversations. The warmth of these materials encourages guests to linger, and the generous expanse of the counter provides ample space for enjoyment.
Often when homeowners are browsing Houzz.com, they add dozens of kitchen photos into ideabooks without knowing which style of kitchen those photos represent. There’s nothing wrong with that. But when you’re a homeowner ready to start making decisions on your kitchen remodel, knowing what style and trends you like will help narrow your design options and direct your focus.
When you have hundreds of options before you and a limited budget, knowing your personal style will help make the decision process easier for you and your kitchen designer. (more…)
An integrated cutting board is a portion of butcher block that is integrated into the overall countertop design and layout.
The resilience of a wood butcher block makes it a great surface for cutting and chopping. One more advantage you should know about: butcher blocks can be made in any shape or size. As a custom block of wood, you can integrate it into any kitchen design.
Check out the butcher block countertops featured in the Houzz slideshow below –especially the last photo. (We are partial to that one because it’s our handiwork!) The entire island surface is an integrated cutting board!
This island countertop was a special request from our client. She’s an avid cook/baker and loves her integrated cutting and food prep surface.