Struggling to pick a Counter Top? Read below and let us help you choose the best material for your home!
When you invest in granite counter tops you are investing in a signature, completely unique piece of material. It is 100% naturally mined, ensuring no slab will look the same as any other. Although some engineered material, like Quartz, can come close to imitating the individualistic characters of granite, it could never fully encompass the uniqueness of natural stone. This individuality is what attracts many homeowners to the option of using granite as their counter tops. Granite does, however, come in different types of shades and tones. There are around 20 different types of shades that you can pick from.
Granite is a very porous material and it does require a seal to protect the stone from damage. Depending on what seal you decide to go with, the counter tops may need a new coat yearly. This seal protects the counter top from small scratches, but the stone can chip and crack if hard enough contact is made. The material is completely heat resistant, however, and can take the heat of a boiling pot. The price of granite slabs are expensive, but a benefit to investing in them is their depreciation value will never decrease. A professional is also always recommended for granite installation because of the weight and complexity of accomplishing a seamless look. The natural and unpredictable patterning of the stone makes it impossible to guarantee a seamless corner unless cut from a larger slab.
There are two finish options when you are choosing a marble counter top. Depending on the look you are going for, you can get polished or honed. Honed is a softer matte finish, while polished gives the marble a very shiny look. Marble looks amazing in kitchens, however, there is a lot of maintenance involved in keeping the material in good condition. If you are interested in going with the honed finish, your counter top will be less susceptible to stains and scratches.
Like granite, you have to seal marble in order to keep it protected from damages and it can chip or crack. Because of the lack of durability and the potential for damage to the stone, many people choose marble counter tops for their bathrooms opposed to kitchen. Marble, like granite, is a completely natural material so you will achieve that same uniqueness with each slab you choose. Although marble may not be the most durable for stains and scratches, it is very heat resistant. Because of this, many people choose it as the material to put around fireplaces. The prices vary drastically for marble, depending on the type and coloring you decide on.
Concrete is the most affordable out of all the counter top materials. It is also the easiest to DIY with proper instruction. The process of creating concrete counter tops can be messy and very time consuming, but the end result is warm, industrial and edgy. The material does scratch easier than a stone like Quartz, but you can polish it out fairly easily. Although concrete can be stained by things like grease and high heat, the look of concrete is used as a rustic natural design feature so it doesn’t look obvious. Like almost all the other materials on this list, a seal does need to be applied and re-applied yearly to protect the finish.
A unique design feature that concrete does enable is customized decoration. You can detail the edging however you’d like, add things like coloured glass, stones, and crystals to create a design. You can also incorporate different colours into the mixture of concrete and completely customize the shade. Although this counter top material can be damaged, it can also be easily fixed and is the most inexpensive choice.
Quartz is manufactured from one of the hardest materials, making it the most durable counter top available on the market. It is non-porous, meaning that the way it is engineered the material cannot get stained or scratched. Although it is manufactured and not mined from natural stone, advanced design technology enables it to look strikingly close to a natural granite counter top. It also allows it to be designed in an array of bright colours if desired.
The benefit of having a manufactured material is that it often comes with a warranty of at least 10 years. This usually covers any type of damage caused to the counter top. Even though quartz is scratch and stain resistant, it is still able to be damaged by UV light and extreme heat. Because of this, it is not a good choice for an outdoor counter top because direct access to UV light can discolour the material. For installation, a professional is always necessary due to the weight of the slabs. The price per square footage is high, but the resistance to many damages and benefits like a warranty often makes up for the cost value.