Guide to Kitchen Countertop Selection for New Home
Your kitchen countertop is a very important décor aspect of your kitchen. The countertop must meet your need and be suitable for your space. A viable countertop material should be durable and have a great aesthetic.
Some of the factors to consider when choosing a kitchen countertop material are:
- Your budget – Installation cost for kitchen countertops averages between $45 and $130 per square foot. Get a quote from the professional you hire for both labor and cost to purchase the material.
- Function – What do you need to use the countertop for?
- Project details – What kind of countertop do you want? What are the measurements? Do you want to install a backsplash?
Types of Countertops to Choose From
Some of the most popular countertop materials are:
#1- Granite Kitchen Countertop
Granite is an igneous rock comprised of feldspar and quartz. This countertop is a perennial favorite as it offers a high-end look, is durable and scratch-resistant. Granite comes in a variety of colors, patterns, and mineral makeup. Every countertop is exceptionally unique.
Granite countertops are available in form of tiles and slabs. There are several finishes best for granite countertops which are honed, leather, and polished. The edge treatments available for granite are beveled, rounded, and straight.
Granite is impervious to heat, easy to maintain, stain, and heat resistant and will enable your new home to retain its resale value. However, granite is a very expensive material, needs periodic sealing to avoid stains, and is not suitable for DIY installation.
Granite material costs an average of $30 to $230 to purchase.
#2 – Marble
Marble countertops come in a variety of colors and patterns and give an elegant look. Marble is a rock containing crystallized limestone.
This countertop has various edge options but straight is the most popular. Marble counters are available in form of tiles or slabs. This countertop can take on a patina or be marred. Countertop thickness varies from a three-quarter-inch to an inch and a quarter.
Marble can be polished, adds to the real estate value of the home, durable when properly maintained, and is waterproof. However, marble countertops are expensive, do not allow for DIY installation, and stain easily unless sealed.
The estimated cost for marble is $20 to $ 245 per square foot.
#3 – Quartz
Quartz is also known as engineered stone. Most engineered stone is 93 percent natural quartz mixed with resins, chips, and pigment. This countertop is available in a range of styles and colors that look like stone.
Quartz is stain-resistant, waterproof, durable, easy to maintain, non-porous, allows for DIY installation, and can be fabricated into any shape and size. However engineered stone is expensive, very heavy, and is not as heat resistant as marble and granite.
It costs an average of $95 to $220 per square foot to get quartz material.
#4 – Laminate
Laminate is available in a range of colors, patterns, and textures that mimic granite and marble. This countertop material is comprised of a plastic melamine surface on top of layers of plastic resins and paper.
The thickness of laminate countertops is usually an inch and a half. Edge options available are straight, square, round, waterfall, decorative, and custom. This countertop is most suitable for surfaces of heavy use but little abuse.
Laminate countertops are a good choice for a tight budget, are easy to clean, cost-friendly allows for easy DIY installation, and has a variety of options to choose from. The cons of Laminate countertops are damage is almost impossible to repair, considered too ordinary by potential home buyers, and is not ideal for resisting heat.
The estimated price range for laminate is between $15 and 50 per square foot.
#5 – Tile
Ceramic tile comes in a range of patterns, shapes, and colors. This material is available in porcelain, glass, and ceramic. Tile is the best choice for unique custom designs. This material is best on an island or backsplash top.
Tile is easy to install, inexpensive, heat resistant, localized damage is easily repairable and easy for DIY-ers to construct. Tile corners can chip, the grout is likely to stain, may crack under impact, and installation cost can be high since it requires professional installation.
Tile costs an average of $20 to $100 per square foot.
#6 – Concrete
Concrete is custom cast. Concrete slabs are made using cement, water, stone pigment, sand, and reinforcement fibers. The standard thickness for concrete countertops is an inch and a half. Installation is either poured/cast in place or precast.
Edges can either be return, standard, or formed edges. Concrete can be dyed, acid-stained, or colored by multiple shades. This material can have a matte, polished, or glossy finish. Decorative elements can also be incorporated.
Concrete is heat resistant, scratch resistant can be cast into unusual shapes, can be color-tinted, can be textured, is durable, and is ideal for a high-volume kitchen. However a concrete countertop is costly due to custom work, DIY installation isn’t possible, can develop cracks over time, and has a porous surface unless regularly sealed.
The estimated cost for concrete is $65 to $205 per square foot.
#7 – Butcher Block or Wood
Wood countertops make the kitchen warm and beautiful. A wood countertop is made up of strips of wood glued together to form a slab. The average butcher block thickness varies from about two to twelve inches, and wood from about an inch to six inches.
Wood countertops come in three-grain options which are end grain, face grain, and edge grain. The most common wood types used are maple, oak, and teak. This countertop material is available in a variety of finishes and colors.
A wood countertop is easy to clean, long-lasting when well maintained, easy to install, and can be resealed, refinished, and sanded. However butcher block can be destroyed by cuts, heat, and scrapes is affected by fluctuation in humidity, fairly expensive, and prone to bacteria if poorly maintained.
The average cost for a butcher block range from $10 to $35 per square foot. Wood countertop costs an average of $18 to $38 per square foot.
#8 – Stainless Steel
Stainless steel offers one of the most sanitary countertop environments. This countertop material is available in various finishes and is non-porous.
Stainless steel is resistant to stains and heat, durable, add real estate value, easy to clean, and is excellent for modern style kitchens. The cons for using this material as a kitchen countertop are it’s costly to fabricate, easily scratches and dents can be discolored, and are noisy.
Estimated cost averages $70 to $150 per square foot.
#9 – Soapstone
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock that is dark in color comprising talc, quartz, mica, chlorite, iron, and magnesium. This material exists in two forms artistic soapstone used for carving, and architectural soapstone for sinks, and countertops.
Available edge options are beveled, eased, bullnose, and squared. Soapstone slabs are five feet long and thirty inches wide.
Soapstone countertops are impervious to heat, rich in color, can be repaired, can be sanded out when damaged, and has an appealing appearance. However, soapstone may become darker with time, doesn’t allow DIY installation, and has to be treated using mineral oil.
Estimated cost averages from $50 to $140 per square foot.
#10 – Slate
Slate is a natural stone that occurs in a variety of dark-greys. Slate comes in the form of slabs. This material is made up of silt and clay. Slate is available in a number of patterns, and colors.
Slate has a great appearance, is cost effective, heat resistant, stain resistant, and antibacterial. The cons of using slate as a countertop material are the corners can brittle over time, and is more subdued than other countertop materials.
The estimated cost for slate is from $55 to $80 per square foot.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1 – How much kitchen countertop do I require?
The average countertop needed is 55 square feet depending on the material you choose to use.
#2 – How long does it take to install a countertop?
It takes an average of about two to four days to finish a countertop for an average kitchen. The duration may be longer depending on the designs and specifications given
#3 – How do I maintain my kitchen countertop?
For natural stones like marble and granite seal the countertop as required. Other ways to maintain the countertop is wiping spills immediately, using a board when chopping or cutting, and place coasters under all bottles, cans, and glasses.
#4 – How much does the installation of new countertops cost?
It costs an average of between $600 and $3000 to install a countertop depending on the material you choose.
#5 – What is a backsplash and what is the average height for a backsplash?
A backsplash is a vertical panel done above the countertop which prevents the wall from block spills, splatters, and spills from seeping into the cabinet. The average height is from 10cm to 20 cm.
Overall, there are a variety of materials that can be used as kitchen countertops. Consider the kind of kitchen you intend to build, the use and traffic your kitchen will receive. You can also match and mix different countertop materials to suit your need.