Granite has reigned as the king of countertops in upscale kitchens for years, now going on decades, but it isn’t the only option out there. In fact, several materials are gaining in popularity.
Here are six kitchen countertop materials you might want to consider for your Scottsdale home.
Durable and heat-resistant, concrete is also one of the most customizable countertop materials on the market. It can be shaped into almost any form, tinted a variety of shades, and texturized. You can add fossils, stone, and other elements when it’s cast for dramatic impact. Or, simply polish it for a minimalistic look.
The downside is that it is expensive (roughly $100 per square foot) and difficult to maintain. Concrete must be sealed on a regular basis, can crack, and is susceptible to damage from acidic liquids such as vinegar and orange juice- not the most practical choice for a busy kitchen.
If you’re serious about cooking, stainless steel countertops might be a good option. Not only do they look professional, but they are heat-resistant, hygienically non-porous, and easy to clean.
Unfortunately, it does take a lot of effort to keep them clean and looking good. Stainless steel countertops show greasy fingerprints and, contrary to the name, they can stain. They can also dent when banged against (and can be noisy).
Like concrete countertops, though, stainless steel countertops can come in almost any size and shape you can imagine and can be installed without seams.
The classic look of wood works well in almost any kitchen, whether traditional, modern, or somewhere in between. While hardwoods such as maple and oak are popular, you can also get cherry, mahogany, red birch, walnut, and zebra, although these options are usually more expensive.
Wood is easy to clean but does require regular maintenance. Scratches must be oiled or sealed, according to manufacturer’s instructions, and need to be frequently disinfected to prevent bacteria. From time to time, you will also need to sand, seal, and refinish wood countertops.
It’s also important to note that wood is not stain-resistant–meaning spills must be cleaned up immediately–or heat-resistant.
Ranging in color from soft grey to charcoal, soapstone is sturdy and heat-resistant. It’s also one of the only natural materials that is not affected by acids, so if you spill your morning coffee, you won’t have to worry about staining the counter.
Another benefit is that it doesn’t take special cleaners, and if it is scratched, you can buff the damage out.
Soapstone does require oiling to enhance its natural beauty, and it may crack or darken over time.
Countertops made of glass can make a bold, dramatic statement in the kitchen, especially if their surfaces are backlit. They also don’t stain, are non-porous, and won’t crack or scorch if you set a hot pan or tray on their surface.
While they are easy to clean, like stainless steel, glass countertops can be difficult to keep clean. They show fingerprints, and just like the windshield on your car or a glass dish in the cupboard, glass countertops can chip.
Keep in mind, too, that since glass is transparent, you won’t want to install under-mount sinks in a kitchen with glass countertops.
Invented roughly 50 years ago by the Italian company Breton, engineered stone is a conglomerate of 5 to 10 percent resins and 95 to 90 percent stone-like materials such as stone, glass, and mirror. Since these materials are usually waste, engineered stone is a great option for anyone looking for green building materials.
Engineered stone is available in a variety of colors and is non-porous, scratch-resistant, and acid-resistant. It’s also low maintenance and doesn’t need the annual sealing required by its natural counterpart.
Unfortunately, depending on the look you’re going for, engineered stone isn’t always the most budget-friendly option available.
There are many choices beyond the beautiful, yet typical granite countertop. Consider these and give us a call with any questions- with 30+ years in real estate, we’ve seen it all!