Choosing a Kitchen Countertop

Kitchens are no longer spaces reserved solely for food preparation and dining. Nowadays, kitchens are rooms built for entertaining, family gatherings, and general conversation. This is especially apparent when you consider how many kitchens have adopted an open concept floor plan, making them easily accessible from other rooms in the home. Ultimately, however, the kitchen is still a functional room. So, why not make your kitchen both functional and beautiful, increasing your enjoyment of it on multiple levels? Start by examining your kitchen countertop options. Here are the top three most popular countertop choices amongst homeowners with big and small budgets:

1. Granite/Natural Stone: Although it can be pricey, granite is, by far, the most popular choice amongst homeowners shopping for countertops. Granite comes in a wide variety of colours, to suit the theme and feel of your kitchen. Before it makes its way to your home, granite is treated with a special sealer that lasts up to 15 years and makes the countertop stain resistant. However, granite should be maintained on a regular basis, using a stone cleaner. Once installed in your kitchen, a granite countertop is a beautiful addition to your home, but it comes at a price. Depending on the type of granite, you can expect to pay anywhere between $70 to over $250 per square foot.

2. Plastic Laminate: If you’re looking for something in a lower price bracket, but still want that aesthetic appeal, plastic laminate countertops are a potential option. Despite what you might think, laminate is highly resilient and durable. Like granite, laminate is available in hundreds of colours, patterns, and textures. Easy to clean and inexpensive, laminate is the material most commonly used by homeowners on a budget. In recent years, laminate has also made vast improvements in scratch-resistance. Depending on pattern and colour, most laminate countertops range in price from $5 to over $20 per square foot.

3. Wood: Wood is a traditional countertop that is both aesthetically pleasing and highly functional. Despite some perceptions, wood is not a breeder of germs and bacteria. In fact, studies show that wood cutting boards are safer than plastic ones.  Wood countertops are produced from dense wood, such as walnut, oak, cherry, or rock maple. They are the only countertops recommended for cutting and chopping upon. Although they have many appealing features, wood countertops often require high maintenance, as they are prone to warping and cracking. In terms of price, wood countertops vary by type, but are usually on par with high quality granite countertops.

It can often be tempting to choose a countertop based purely on looks and, in some cases, looks and durability coincide. However, do your research before selecting a kitchen countertop. You might be surprised at what you find, both functionally and economically.

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