Just when you assumed only two real countertop options – natural stone and quartz – to choose from for your renovation, the industry has introduced and reintroduced even more choices. And, while having more materials to select from can be a good thing, it can also add to the confusion. Here’s a look at some of today’s countertop options:
Natural Stone – still among the favorites, nothing beats natural stone for its uniqueness. No two slabs will be identical in color or veining. And – if you don’t mind inherent imperfections, regular maintenance or showroom visits for slab selection – granite, marble, travertine and soapstone are worth a second look. Today, more exotic stones – including onyx and quartzite – and semi-precious, resin-infused agates (some even back-lit) are finding their way into kitchen and bath transformations.
Quartz – this man-made material, comprising roughly 95 percent natural stone and 5 percent binding agent, continues to be a remodel favorite based on its durability, low maintenance (no sealing required) and consistency (all slabs in a collection are identical). Manufacturers continue adding new colors and patterns to their portfolios, including book-matched patterns where two mirror-image slabs are installed side-by-side to create a single image. Moreover, new “jumbo” sizes are available to accommodate extra-large areas where seaming would be otherwise required.
Large-Format Porcelain – a newer, thinner material than quartz (4, 8 and 12mm versus 2 and 3cm) that features similar colors and patterns as the latter. Not only is this durable, low-maintenance and light-weight option great for countertops, but also for backsplashes and floating shelves.
Live-Edge Wood – a horizontal wood slice is sanded and sealed to enhance holes, cracks and raw edges. Fabricators will often infuse the wood with resin to fill “imperfections” and to smooth outside edges. Walnut, maple, cherry and oak are beautiful options for live-edge countertops as well as for floating shelves and furniture pieces.
Butcher Block – is back. This time, in either darker or more natural colors. Another low-maintenance option, butcher block only requires the occasional coating of mineral oil to keep it looking great.
As with all remodel material selections, it’s best to take your time and do your homework. Only then can you feel truly confident you’ve made the right choice given your specific design, budget, maintenance and lifestyle criteria.
Did You Know…
The design team at Renovations by Hearth and Home can help you find the ideal countertop material. Many of the options are on display at our newly renovated design center.