Main Line Kitchen Design’s 2021 update on popular countertop types, materials, brands, and properties. What’s good about each type of top and what’s not.
The surfaces people choose for kitchen countertops and countertop pricing has changed in the last few years. This is Main Line Kitchen Design’s update on kitchen countertops and what are the important issues to consider when selecting a countertop for your kitchen. For more detailed information on all types of countertops read Different kitchen countertop properties and pricing. – (mainlinekitchendesign.com)
By far the most popular type of countertop purchased right now is engineered quartz.
The most popular quartz brands are Cambria, Silestone, Ceasarstone, MSI, ColorQuartz, and Viatera. The popularity of engineered quartz tops seems driven by two factors that appeal to homeowners above all others:
First that engineered quartz is able to visually look like natural marble and have lighter, whiter, marble type colors and patterns without any of the disadvantages of real marble. Real marble is easy to stain, easy to scratch, and easy to etch (lose its finish due to acidic liquids like lemonade or iced tea).
Second that there is no need to seal Engineered Quartz countertops so there is usually no maintenance. Advertising campaigns from the quartz industry highlighting the need to seal granite and other natural stone countertops has been very effective. Although the actual inconvenience of sealing is exaggerated.
Quartz companies are also possibly responsible for the misleading rumor that granite can cause high radon levels in homes. This is a very unlikely event, and since engineered quartz countertops are 93% natural stone, they could also be responsible for this improbable problem.
Highly effective advertising by quartz brands using spokesmodels like Cindy Crawford for Silestone have made Engineered stone the “must have” for many home remodelers.
Kitchens have also migrated towards more contemporary styles.
Contemporary recessed cabinet door styles, like shaker, and modern slab door styles account for the majority of cabinet sales. And quartz countertops go better the more contemporary the kitchen. There is no question that natural stone products go better with more traditionally styled kitchens.
Other popular countertops include:
Granite – Better for more traditionally designed kitchens and harder to scratch, not able to burn like engineered quartz, and easily sealed. For people that appreciate natural beauty in their tops granite and quartzite are the way to go.
Quartzite – Looks more like marble but has the properties of granite. Lighter white colors are popular in quartzite.
Soapstone – The only countertop material that can’t burn or stain. This is why it is used in chemistry labs. While it does scratch easily the scratches are quickly made invisible by applying mineral oil to soapstone countertops. FYI, Silestone does a good job making quartz tops that look like soapstone.
Concrete – Almost never sold any more as several quartz brands like European make engineered stone tops that look like cement and are more durable and maintenance free.
Laminate – Formica and other laminates are almost never sold for countertops in homes. For example, Main Line Kitchen Design hasn’t sold a laminate top in 10 years. Restaurants, hotels, and other commercial buildings still use laminate tops since they are slightly less expensive and easy to clean and maintain.
Glass – Very expensive and almost never used.
Dekton – An ultracompact surface, composed of a blend of raw materials, porcelain, and glass. It benefits from high strength and versatility. It can be used outdoors unlike quartz and has amazing true to life stone patterns. However, the patterns are only on the surface of Dekton. So, edges will be a solid color or need to be mitered. Dekton is expensive compared to most other tops.
Sensa – And other brands give you the opportunity to enjoy natural stone without maintenance concerns. Its revolutionary stain treatment makes it durable for everyday use. Many natural stone tops now come with high pressure sealing that make maintenance unneeded for extended times. Of course, sealing any granite or stone top is inexpensive and easy. Sealing a stone top takes less than 30 minutes and costs about a dollar.
Marble – Be careful all real marble tops will quickly scratch, stain, and etch (lose its finish due to acidic liquids like lemonade or iced tea). Marble should be used only when you consider the weathering acceptable and want that lived in natural look for your countertop.
Whatever top you choose Main Line Kitchen Design has all the information you need to make the right decision for you. As well as the most competitive countertop pricing for all the man-made surfaces. Natural surfaces like Granite, or Soapstone pricing will be dependent on the slabs you select with different stone locations having different pricing.
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