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The Hottest Choices for Countertops
November 19, 2012

There is definitely no shortage of kitchen countertop options. Some may be more popular than others, and some may not get the recognition they deserve. It seems that these days there is a kitchen countertop material that fits perfectly into any home design style and need. Over the past decade, granite has become the standard in luxury kitchen countertops with solid surface and engineered stone at a close second. And, although it is not as alluring, laminate countertops have been around for many years and continue to improve in style and function.

Granite has become a standard for most kitchen countertops and can be incorporated into most design styles. Its strength and beauty are unmatched in the world of countertops, making it one of the most popular choices in a wide array of kitchens. Granite is a natural stone that is found in quarries around the world. Some granite colors and patterns are more exotic, while some tend to have only one or two colors. Since it is a natural stone, the colors and patterns of certain granite slabs will vary.

Granite’s natural beauty will last a lifetime if cared for properly. Cleanup is as simple as wiping the surface clean with a damp cloth and keeping acidic foods and harsh chemical clear of the countertop. When your granite countertops are installed, a sealant is applied to help protect and prolong the life of the stone. A well-kept granite countertop will help add to the value of your home.

Countertops made from engineered stone are easy to care for and durable due to their high composition of quartz particles. Engineered stone surfaces are comparable to sealed granite in their resistance to staining and appearance. Since it is engineered, this countertop surface is available in a wide array of colors and is non-porous and heat resistant for a low-maintenance option.

Similar to engineered stone is solid surface countertops. This countertop option is non-porous and low-maintenance and can be made to mimic the appearance of stone and wood. Germs and other damaging materials are unable to penetrate the surface of these countertops, making it a very reliable option for busy households. Like engineered stone, solid surface is available in a wide array of colors and patterns for any kitchen style.

Having been around for many, many decades, laminate countertops remain one of the most popular choices for kitchens today. I’m not talking about the orange laminate countertops your grandparents had in their 1950’s kitchen, but the new and improved laminate with more to offer than past choices. Laminate is inexpensive and can be made to look like almost any stone, wood and decorative pattern imaginable with different edge treatments and finishes to match. Textures are also being implemented into laminate countertops to make the surface feel a bit more realistic.

Laminate may be low in cost and offer many style options, but it has some fallbacks. Sometimes seams may be visible, ruining the illusion of natural stone or wood. It is also not indestructible and can scratch and stain easier than other surfaces. With all of this in mind, the decision of which countertop would work best for you comes down to price, maintenance and availability. Make sure to do your homework when choosing a new countertop because there are many other options that may be more suitable for your household. Talking to a design professional or installer will help you better understand the options for your project.