When you’re shopping around for countertops, it can be tempting to get whatever looks great and in trend right now. But trends fade and some materials don’t necessarily stand the test of time, while some may be extremely difficult to maintain. So what looks great right now can cause intense headaches in the future.
That’s why besides looks and cost, you should also consider factors like durability, maintenance, resale value, and more. Here’s a quick guide of the factors you need to consider to choose the right countertop:
1: The Look You’re Going for
Of course, aesthetics is usually the top concern because you want your kitchen to look exquisite and fit your overall style. Do you want something that’s warm and inviting? Maybe you’d want to consider a butcher block countertop. Perhaps you want a sleek and modern finish instead, in which case stainless steel works great.
First, consider the look you’re going for and see which countertop materials can give you that look.
2: Current Trends
Current trends are another important consideration because you don’t want something that’ll make your kitchen look dated. Marble and lava stone are huge right now because they both provide a sleek and luxurious finish. The only problem is they’re slightly on the pricier side, but they could still make an excellent long-term investment because these are both highly durable materials.
While you want something that’s in trend right now, you should also consider timelessness. This will decide the resale value and long-term cost savings. Ideally, you need something that you won’t have to replace for years and will still be in trend even if you plan on selling your house.
Marble once again fits the bill here, as it’s one of the most classic countertop materials. Granite is also a good option, though for both options, you’ll need to seal them regularly to avoid staining.
Durability is a major concern especially if you’re thinking of resale value. You need something that can withstand heat, knife nicks, and other wear and tear. Plus, it should stand up well to spills and splashes so it doesn’t stain very easily. Lava stone and engineered quartz are some of the best countertop materials in terms of durability.
Granite can be just as durable, provided you seal it occasionally to prevent stains. Stainless steel also has some durable qualities, but it can be prone to denting and etching.
Some materials may look great but require extensive upkeep. For example, butcher blocks need thorough oiling every once in a while to protect the surface. And porous materials like marble, granite, and limestone will need annual sealing if you want to keep those stains at bay. Even with regular sealing, marble is still extremely prone to staining so it needs more maintenance than most materials.
Lava stone is another winner here, though solid surfacing and engineered quartz can be just as good. These are all non-porous materials so they won’t stain easily and they don’t need any special cleaning or maintenance.
6: Resale Value
Of course, resale value should be a major concern especially if you plan on selling your house in the future. Some materials may be more expensive now but they might offer long-term benefits if they have a higher resale value. Granite and quartz tend to offer the best resale value due to their looks and durability.
7: Cost and Budget
If you’re working with a limited budget, cost will be another major factor to consider. Laminate is one of the most affordable countertop materials, usually costing between $10 and $30 per square foot installed. At the same time, it’s prone to scratches and burns so you should take that into consideration as well.
The Bottom Line
With so many factors to consider, it’s perfectly understandable if you get a little overwhelmed. To reach an easier decision, think of the top three concerns for you and then choose a material that meets those needs. This means you’ll also have to make a few sacrifices.
For example, let’s say you want something like marble to get an elegant and luxurious finish as well as a timeless look. That means you have to be willing to spend a little more as well as put in the extra work for maintenance.
You could even mix and match two different materials for different parts of your kitchen. For example, you could have a butcher block countertop for your kitchen island and use an easy-maintenance material like solid surfacing for the rest.
Most importantly, don’t be too quick to make a decision. Since countertops are a big investment, you have to treat them as such. Take the time to carefully consider your options and assess the pros and cons of each material before you can choose the perfect countertop.