Jose Oquendo is a former Major League Baseball player who played most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Oquendo carved his niche in MLB by being able to play multiple positions. In fact, during one nine-inning game, Oquendo played every position on the field. When a professional baseball player today flashes versatility in the field, he is referred to as “The Jose Oquendo of baseball.”
A countertop is the Jose Oquendo of the kitchen.
Think about it: a kitchen countertop offers you the ultimate in kitchen versatility. It can be part cutting board, part stovetop, part food prep area, and part office desk. You can serve dinner to a small group of friends or use a countertop to brine pork for consumption on a later day.
The question is not whether you need a countertop, but instead, the question is what are the advantages of using five popular countertop materials.
Guidelines for Installing a Kitchen Countertop
Installing a kitchen countertop can be one of the most involved kitchen remodeling projects. Many homeowners opt to hire an independent contractor to ensure the installation process goes off without a hitch. However, you should still follow a few installation guidelines even if you decide not to make the home improvement project a do it yourself job.
You can expect to use about 20% of your kitchen remodeling budget to add a countertop. The percentage will increase if you choose to go with a more expensive countertop material. Although 20% represents a significant chunk of a kitchen remodeling budget, the money spent is well worth it to ensure the countertop size, design, and placement blends in seamlessly with other kitchen accessories.
Another guideline that works for most homeowners is to install a kitchen countertop that contains multiple colors. Avid culinarians might want to create a small wood section for chopping vegetables and a larger marble area for rolling dough. Choosing the right countertop color(s) goes a long way in determining whether your design has legs for many years to come or that you have to redo the design of the countertop after just a few years.
Advantages of 5 Countertop Materials
The decision process for selecting the right countertop material can be an intimidating experience. As one of the costliest kitchen remodeling projects, choosing the right countertop material is often the difference between completing the project under budget or soaring well beyond what you intended to spend on the installation project.
Let’s look at five popular kitchen countertop materials and learn more about what makes each material great for homeowners interested in increasing the value of their homes.
As the compromise between choosing a costly natural stone material or opting for an affordable and easy to maintain material, quartz contains two chips that project different colors. The multiple color appearance of quartz takes care of one of the design guidelines we mentioned earlier. The two different colored chips really shine beautifully when exposed to both natural and artificial light sources. As a material that is easier to clean than a natural stone material, quartz is the ideal material for homeowners that plan to frequently use a kitchen countertop for prepping and cooking food.
Despite the similar name, quartzite is not the same as quartz. It is a different, yet processed stone that workers quarry in the same way they quarry granite. If you want a marble-like countertop appearance, but you do not want to spend the money required to install a marble kitchen countertop, then quartzite is the right material for you. Quartzite is an incredibly rugged material that resists dents and cracks. It requires little maintenance, with the most common type of maintenance being applying warm soapy water to clean the surface. The most important advantage of quartzite is the material never fades after it’s placed for many years under natural light.
Marble costs between $40 and $100 for every square foot of the material installed. However, the elegant sheen projected by the beautiful countertop material is worth the above average cost. Marble can handle an impressive amount of heat for prolonged periods, which makes the material perfect for making your new countertop the cooking centerpiece of the kitchen. The attractive material comes in a wide variety of slab appearances to give you design flexibility for other types of kitchen features. If you install a marble countertop, you can expect it to be the first thing guests notice when they walk into your kitchen.
Granite is considered an upscale countertop material and because of its extremely hard surface, the material has the capability to dull the sharpest knife blades. The popular kitchen countertop material resists stains, but you have to apply a sealant to optimize its anti-stain benefit. Granite never succumbs to long-term exposure to high heat sources. Visually appealing mottling, along with multiple color options, makes granite the best material choice for homeowners that design their kitchens with a large number of different colors. Granite complements the appearance of stainless steel appliances, as well as varnished wooden cabinets.
Many people mistakenly believe limestone has the same crumbling attribute as sandstone. Yet, limestone is regarded as one of the toughest materials available for kitchen countertops. Appearing strikingly similar as marble, a limestone countertop offers you virtually the same elegance at a lower cost. Adding a limestone kitchen countertop will increase the value of your home by returning a substantial amount of money on your home improvement investment. Limestone’s sandy white color makes the material a popular choice for cooking aficionados that love the way the material blends in with stainless steel appliances and kitchen accessories.
Perform Countertop Material Research
When you mull over selecting the right material for your new kitchen countertop, you will have a seemingly infinite number of resources to refer to before making the big decision. You can visit the big box home improvement websites designed for Lowe’s and The Home Depot to obtain information about the five popular countertop materials. There is a better option for performing countertop material research.
You can find marble, granite, and other natural stones used for kitchen countertop materials by using the tools provided on the SlabMarket website. SlabMarket offers customers plenty of information on how to buy natural stone slabs and save a substantial amount of money. The website presents an extensive list of suppliers, which means because of the intense competition, you should be able to find a price-friendly supplier that matches your kitchen countertop buying criteria.
Installing a kitchen countertop is one of the most important home improvement decisions you will ever make. Take the time necessary to research the five popular countertop materials and learn more about natural stone slabs.