Your kitchen is the heart of your home for a variety of reasons. It’s where the family gathers to prepare meals and consume meals and snacks. If you’re the family chef, you likely demand a lot from this one room. When it comes to workspaces in the kitchen, your countertops bear a heavy load. You expect your countertops to stand up to the abuse of heat, food prep, and whatever else life throws at them. Not to mention, it’s essential that these important surfaces look attractive during the process.
Updating your kitchen countertops is a great way to add style to your kitchen and increase the value of your home. Still, it can be an expensive project if you don’t know what materials to use. To get the most from your investment, it’s essential to use styles that won’t become outdated quickly and materials that stand the test of time.
What’s the Difference Between Countertop Materials?
Countertops come in a wide variety of functional and beautiful materials. Some are natural, others are manufactured, and the maintenance required to keep the materials in top condition varies considerably. The strength and durability of your countertop depend on the material you use. These are some of the most commonly used types of countertops and the differences between them.
- Granite: A natural stone surface with no seams or cracks, granite is durable, heat-safe, and comes in a variety of colors. While some exclusive slabs are expensive, some types of granite are affordable. The surface of granite is porous and a non-porous sealant should be applied as needed.
- Quartz: An engineered stone surface, quartz provides many of the same benefits as natural stone with the added advantage of being non-porous. To find an affordable option compare brand prices.
- Marble: A natural stone surface with many of the same properties as granite, marble offers striking natural patterns. It’s important to note that marble is a porous softer stone surface that must be sealed routinely and can show scars. Marble is an expensive option as well.
- Wood: Favored for creating a warm look in kitchens, wood can provide a butcher block style or solid slab surface. Wood surfaces can be moderately expensive, show knife marks, and require regular maintenance to retain its natural beauty.
- Laminate: Favored for low prices, laminate countertops come in a practically limitless selection of colors and styles. Laminate has a shorter lifespan, isn’t heat safe, and can scratch and fade easily.
5 Affordable Countertop Options To Increase Your Home’s Value
When shopping for countertops, it’s important to consider that the lowest price isn’t necessarily the most reasonable price. When you’re looking for a semi-permanent or permanent feature in your home, longevity is an essential consideration. Reasonably priced countertops that have to be replaced 3 or more times during your home’s lifespan become considerably more expensive when you add up the costs. This means that not every new countertop will increase your home’s value.
Whether you’re prepared to sell your home, or planning for the future, certain items can increase your home’s value. Some types of cheaper materials might not interest potential home buyers. For instance, new laminate countertops might look attractive, but they’re not heat-safe, and they scratch easily. Similarly, ceramic tile has a reputation for easily stained grout, uneven surfaces, and a delicate surface that’s easily chipped. Prospective homebuyers are typically seeking materials that will last for decades to come.
These durable, affordable options can increase your home’s value.
- Granite: A very popular material for countertops, granite is often mistaken for one of the most expensive options. Some types of granite are actually cheaper than comparable solid surface materials like wood and stainless steel. Prices of less exclusive granite types can range from $39 to $75 per square foot.
- Quartz: Similar to granite, quartz provides a natural appearance. However, quartz is an engineered stone made from natural stone combined with resin to create a strong countertop material that isn’t porous. Some brands of quartz are considerably more expensive than others, but all brands are of similar quality.
- Mix & Match Materials: Wood is a popular material for countertops, but it can be expensive and requires a lot of maintenance. When a full wood countertop isn’t an option, an affordable countertop with an inset butcher block can provide a way to meet in the middle.
- Solid Surfaces: Countertops with seams and cracks have the potential to harbor bacteria. Homebuyers may give you extra points for countertops that provide a sleek solid surface. Affordable sleek surfaces may include some types of granite, quartz, and concrete.
- Remnants: If you have your heart set on an expensive material for your countertops, you may be able to find a solution with remnants from other projects. Remnants are smaller slabs of granite or other countertop materials that are left over from larger jobs. Expensive materials are often more affordable as remnants.
Popular Kitchen Countertop Trends Using Natural Stone
There are many reasons that natural stone is a popular choice in countertops. Durability and appearance are some big focal points when it comes to natural stone. Combining the popularity of natural stone with current trends will result in a kitchen appearance that leaves a lasting impression.
Neutral Tones for Longevity
Dark, dramatic surfaces might catch the eye, but such designs are typically a trend. Neutral colors and whites work with practically any style of kitchen and come in a variety of natural materials. Neutral tones are a great match for the current trend of colored cabinets and work with natural or rustic decor just as well. Neutral tones are a classic that you can count on to always coordinate with modern themes.
Natural Patterns that Look Unique
Natural stone materials contain veins and patterns that make it unique. Recreating this look in kitchens provides original and interesting patterns. Granite slabs with unusual patterns or quartz slabs that have been designed to look like natural stone offer countertops with striking character to grab attention.
Honed and Leathered Surfaces for a Different Look and Feel
In the past, natural stone surfaces were expected to have a gleaming, polished shine. While sleek shiny countertops are still trendy, other surfaces are changing things up. Honed and leathered surfaces provide options with a lower sheen for a more rustic or toned down look. A honed finish provides a smooth, low-sheen surface for a less polished look. A leathered finish offers a soft sheen that retains the stone’s natural color and hides fingerprints and water spots. Both surfaces have a natural, toned down appearance in comparison to polished finishes.
Finding beautiful, professional countertops that will increase the value of your home without breaking the bank can seem difficult, but it’s not impossible. If you’re seeking new countertops in the St. Louis, Missouri area, explore the extensive gallery of beautiful selections from Arch City Granite & Marble. Our professional team can help you find the look that will transform your entire kitchen at a price you can actually afford.
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