It’s no secret that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s the proverbial watering-hole: A space to gather, a space to prepare food and eat, and ultimately, a space to bond. Whether you’re buying or selling, your kitchen can be the determining factor in sealing the deal. So, how important are your countertops? Many experts argue that if you remodel your kitchen, you should allocate about 10-15% of your budget on countertops. 10-15% can be a lot, or very little, depending on the size of your budget. With countertops being a feature that many homeowners lust over, it’s important that you select the right material. However, going through the list can be quite frustrating. Below is a simple breakdown of the benefits, and the arguments against, the three most popular countertops.
A few years ago, granite countertops were all the rage. However, granite’s popularity is slowly beginning to wane, mostly due to the cost and upkeep. What makes granite unique? The natural beauty. Since granite is extracted from a quarry, it has the perk of being made by nature. Moreover, each slab of granite is unique, which adds a polished, earthy look to your home. Granite countertops become the centerpiece of your kitchen, especially if it is locally harvested.
Granite is made from igneous rock, which means it’s tough. It can usually withstand the normal wear and tear from daily life. It’s also a great choice if you tend to be forgetful. If you accidentally place that hot pan on your granite countertop, you won’t have to worry a bit. Granite is known to resist heat. Probably because it was made from the slow cooling of magma. Since your temperatures won’t be to the level of magma, your granite countertops are safe from heat rings.
If you plan to upgrade your countertops, then you can consider granite as an investment. One of the primary reasons you don’t find granite in the common Western Slope household is the price: It can cost anywhere between $55-$150 per square foot. Secondly, you have to seal it regularly. Experts recommend that you seal your granite countertops once a year. If your granite countertops are not sealed properly or have not seal at all, they will absorb liquids. It would be a shame to spend an exorbitant amount of money towards a beautiful slab of granite, only to have a merlot stain in the center.
Another reason granite countertops have been taking a backseat to kitchen remodeling designs is the rise of quartz. While quartz itself is a natural substance, the countertops are a man-made product. In fact, quartz countertops hold a ratio of 93% crushed quartz, and 7% of the resin that binds it together. In fact, quartz is one of the most abundant minerals on earth, making this countertop also eco-friendly. Another great feature is the variety of colors that factories add to the countertops, leaving the consumer to select a countertop that goes with any color scheme. Perhaps the winning feature of quartz is the low maintenance. Unlike its competitor, quartz does not have to be sealed. Let your kids make a mess with the juice because it won’t stain your resin-filled quartz. On top of all that, these sleek countertops are also antibacterial.
The imperfections of quartz are few and far between, which is one of the reasons this contemporary countertop is becoming so popular. One of the major complaints are the visible seams. Let’s face it, the seams will be visible on any material. Just hire a professional countertop installer, so that the seams will be less noticeable. Another ding against these polished surfaces is the cost. While quartz is generally cheaper than granite, it can still range between $50-$80 per square foot.
When you begin touring the homes on the Western Slope, you’ll find that most homeowners opted for laminate. There are two theories behind the popularity of this synthetic material: 1) it’s the most affordable material for your countertops; 2) it’s easy to install, leaving the installation to the average DIY (do-it-yourself) person. Moreover, laminates are pretty durable. Most people don’t know this, but laminate can last for roughly 10-12 years Also, laminate countertops are stain resistant and easy to clean. With all of these benefits, it’s no wonder why these counters are families number one choice.
Some people will actually shudder when they see laminate countertops. While the laminate of the past may conjure up retro color palettes of lime green or pink, today’s laminate has a variety of classy stone and wood options. However, if the laminate is not taken care of properly, it can warp from water damage. Or, if you have a gauge/chip in one area, you can’t refinish it…you’d have to replace the entire countertop. Yet, it’s still cheaper to replace a counter at $40 a square foot then replacing it with quartz of granite.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
When buyers are scanning the market for a new home, they are looking for their ‘ideal’ kitchen. Now, that idea tends to be subjective. What one buyer may view as the ‘ideal’ kitchen, may not work for the other buyer. If you’re preparing your home to sell, or just remodeling, the best way to solve this countertop conundrum is to pick the material that works best for your budget. Also, aim for neutral. Most contemporary trends are leaning towards modern neutrals such as whites, blacks, grays, beiges, and midtones. This allows any potential homeowner to make small modifications, such as paint color, to add personalization. If you really want to be bold, select a richly-veined natural stone. You’ll soon have countertops that everyone will be talking about.