The counter tops in any kitchen have to deal with a lot on a daily basis, so the fact that they need to be as durable as possible is a given. As they are such a prominent part of the space as well though they also need to look good and have the potential to provide a number of years of service. These are all things that any sensible home buyer does take into consideration when viewing homes, especially as the kitchen is such a busy place.
How do your current counter tops stack up? Are they likely to help add to the perceived value and appeal of your home for sale or to leave buyers cold? Here is a little about the ten most reliable – and desirable – counter top materials found in homes right now:
Natural Stone, Granite, Marble, Limestone and Soapstone
Natural stone has become the countertop material of choice in many residential kitchens. Although most people think or granite or marble when discussing natural stone counters, less usual choices like limestone and soapstone are also gaining in popularity meaning that when discussing natural stone you are really talking about four different main materials.
All natural stone counters are all very durable and have a gorgeous appearance that will never go out of style and will last for decades if well taken care of. On the downside they do need quite a lot of maintenance to keep them in good shape and they are also the most expensive choice.
This is a manufactured version of natural stone that makes use of crystals created in a lab rather than in nature. Cultured stone has many of the same properties as natural stone but is slightly cheaper and a little easier to maintain. Some people dislike cultured stone however and dismiss it as ‘fake stone’.
Laminate kitchen counter tops tend to get a bit of a bad rap and dismissed as too cheap looking and not very durable. A new generation of laminates is changing all of that however and for those undertaking kitchen remodeling on a budget it can be an excellent choice that will look impressive and wear very well.
Metal countertops – stainless steel usually – are routinely found in commercial kitchens because they are so durable and so easy to keep clean and care for. They are harder to use in a residential setting because they can look very cold and stark but with some clever design tweaks more and more people are finding that metal counter-tops do actually work in their homes.
Traditional wooden butcher block counter tops are another classic countertop material that looks wonderful in any kitchen as long as they are well maintained. Because they can scratch far more easily than other options they do need to be properly sealed but offer the advantage that refinishing them is relatively easy, using a simple sanding and re-varnishing process.
Of all the new ‘green’ kitchen countertop options bamboo is the most popular and for good reason. Bamboo is an easily renewable resource as it is a grass, making it a very eco friendly choice. It is also very, very durable (scaffolding is made from bamboo in Japan, that is how strong it is) and it is attractive and easy to care for. The fact that it also has natural anti-bacterial properties is a plus in the kitchen as well.
Recycled materials are big business these days. All kinds of incredible new products are being made from what was once trash and recycled glass countertops are a great example.
Most recycled glass counters are made form a number of different colors of recycled glass set into a resin base. The end result is a unique look for every single block sold and a kitchen countertop that is very durable, if a little expensive.