Let’s talk Countertop Options! One of the biggest questions our clients have when starting to design their remodel is – what countertop option is best for them?
Is quartz worth the financial costs?
Do you recommend butcher block?
Should we just do granite; it costs less?
How about concrete countertops?
What are the pros and cons of marble?
These are just some of the countertop questions we get, so we wanted to put together a countertop option guide with the different pros and cons.
When we’re recommending different countertop options, first, it depends on the space.
Laminate is the most affordable countertop option. The costs per square foot for laminate range anywhere from $40- $60 per square foot. We don’t typically recommend laminate in a home unless the budget is the priority for a rental property or flip.
It’s a practical surface since it’s non-porous and stands up to stains and scratches. You can find it in a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures that typically mimic looks like granite and marble.
Butcher Block Countertops
We love the look of butcher block! Price varies depending on wood species but ranges anywhere from $30- $150 per square foot. We love the look of a butcher block mixed with other surfaces, such as just using it for the island.
Benefits to butcher block are that it is heat resistant and if properly sealed just fine to food prep on. The cons of butcher block are it leaves cut marks after time that can harbor bacteria.
The cool thing about concrete countertops is that they are highly customizable down to the size, thickness, and color/stain. We’d only recommend concrete countertop options in a mid-century or modern design space. We love the custom look concrete gives, and it’s something that not a lot of people dare to do.
Since concrete countertops are made custom, they are a bit more expensive to do ranging from $90-$150 per square foot. If you DIY them, you’ll obviously save a ton. The best part about concrete countertops, other than the super cool colors, is that they are energy efficient. They capture the heat and release it when the home cools down.
One of the most requested countertop surfaces by homeowners is granite, coming in at anywhere from $40- $100 per square foot. Since it’s a natural material, granite requires a little more maintenance than quartz, like having to seal your countertop once a year.
A benefit of granite is the patterns are each a unique work of art since they all have their own mineral makeup that creates patterns that are speckled, dotted, veined, and more.
There are three types of granite finishes. Polished is a smooth, reflective finish that’s the least porous option and it’s also the most popular, due to the ease of cleaning. Honed is more matte, so it doesn’t have a glare and helps to mask imperfections while maintaining a smooth finish. Finally, leather is a technique to create the look and feel of textured leather, which highlights the color but also disguises crumbs and streaks. Leather is mostly used outdoors.
Quartz is the most durable countertop you can put into your space since it’s a man-made material with typically a 97% quartz and 3% resin combination. However, it is more expensive coming in anywhere from $50- 150 per square foot.
Quartz is the countertop material we always recommend first for any kitchen space. Unlike granite, it’s maintenance-free, more scratch-resistant, and because of the non-porous surface, there’s no need to worry about mold and bacteria. However, hot items cannot be placed directly on the surface.
Quartz also offers a variety of different styles that other surfaces don’t have. If you like the busyness of granite, quartz has design options similar and then other designs that are more clean, simple, and timeless.
Unlike other natural stones (granite, marble), soapstone doesn’t require yearly sealing. Like quartz, it’s highly stained and bacteria-resistant as well.
However, maintenance is required because it can scratch and nick easily, but removing them with gentle sanding and mineral oil. Soapstone ranges from $50- $100/sq.ft.
One of the downsides to soapstone is that it typically only comes in gray tones, but it patinas over time, which adds a natural element to the countertop.
Marble has a high-end look and is a timeless design, and it ranges anywhere from $60- $100 per square foot. However, marble is porous, so staining, scratching, and dullness can happen very easily.
If you like more of the patina look and natural materials, then marble may be for you! When using marble countertops in a kitchen, here are some tips to keep them looking their best:
- Use hot pads under pans and pots
- Set coasters under glasses
- Use cutting boards for cutting fruits, vegetables, and meat
- Wipe up any spills as soon as possible
- Find cleaning solutions suitable for marble and wipe down daily
- Embrace the patina over the years
Thickness + Edge Profiles + Radius
When choosing countertops, there are other things to consider like the thickness, edge profiles, and radius. The typical thickness for kitchen and bathroom countertops is 2 cm to around 1.5 inches.
If you want to use marble or quartz as your backsplash, a 2cm thickness is typical. For the edge profiles, the names can vary between materials, but the actual edge shapes are similar.
The type of edge profile chosen will most likely determine the radius as well. For an island, you may want a greater radius, which will allow the corners to be less sharp. With perimeter countertops, a 1/2-inch or 1-inch radius is typical.
As always, let us know what questions you have.