How-To Choose the Right Countertop Surface

With so many options for your kitchen countertop surface, choosing the right one can feel a little overwhelming. Good news! Over the last 30 years we’ve learned a thing or two about countertops and we’re happy to share our experience with you. Choosing the ideal countertop depends on your priorities – we’ll explain the key characteristics of each type to help you make the right choice.

1Granite

Choose Granite if:

You love the unmatched natural beauty but are prepared for occasional maintenance to protect your investment.

Material

SyntheticNatural
Natural product quarried into blocks and then sliced into slabs. Granite comes from many different sources including Italy, South America and China.

Durability

FragileDurable
Porous surface requires maintenance (sealant) every 10-15 years to protect against staining and oil penetration. Ask your vendor about a warranty, origin of species and how long before your granite needs to be resealed.

Colour & Pattern

ConsistentVaries
Appearance varies from slab-to-slab. Visual movement and vibrant colours give granite a natural beauty that can’t be duplicated.

Finish

MatteGloss
Range of options from leathered to high gloss.

Price

LowHigh
Moderate to high depending on availability, origin of species and finish.

2Quartz

Choose Quartz if:

You want a high-class look without the high-maintenance. Great if you have a high traffic kitchen or young children and want a surface that is less susceptable to staining and marking. However, Quartz still requires vigilance, especially with lighter colours.

You can find Quartz countertops under product names like Cambria and Ceasarstone.

Material

SyntheticNatural
One of the hardest minerals on earth, this natural product is mined and formed with binders and pigments. Quality varies so be sure that the quartz product you purchase has a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) rating. Look for a composition of 93% natural quartz and 7% binders/pigments for a surface that is more resistant to marking and staining.

Durability

FragileDurable
This is one of the most durable countertop surfaces available today and is rated for commercial kitchens and health care facilities. Nonporous because all of the air is extracted by the vibration, heat and pressure of the forming process. Low maintenance and does not require special cleaners but still needs attention, especially with lighter colours.

Colour & Pattern

ConsistentVaries
Colour is relatively consistent from slab-to-slab but patterns may vary.

Finish

MatteGloss
Almost always glossy.

Price

LowHigh
High with some variations based on manufacturer and colour.

3Marble

Choose Marble if:

You want a classic luxury look in a low traffic kitchen where you are not planning on doing much cooking and meal prep.

Material

SyntheticNatural
Natural stone product from a range of species.

Durability

FragileDurable
Porous surface requires regular maintenance. One of the most susceptible surfaces to staining and abrasion.

Colour & Pattern

ConsistentVaries
Appearance varies from slab-to-slab. Range of colours and veining from subtle to robust.

Finish

MatteGloss
Range of options from leathered or honed to classic gloss.

Price

LowHigh
High to extremely high depending on species.

4Solid Surface

Choose Solid Surface if:

You prefer a surface that is warm to the touch, has a modern matte look and offers seamless molding options for sink and technology integration.

One of our most popular Solid Surface countertop products is Dupont Corian – it is durable enough for medical and industrial applications but offers aesthetics and moldability for unique residential applications.

Material

SyntheticNatural
Synthetic product formed from mineral derivatives and binders into sheets. Quality varies based on composition and manufacturing process. Any seams are almost imperceptible and the surface can be molded and integrated with a sink for a smooth transition.

Durability

FragileDurable
This nonporous surface is stain heat resistant. Minor scratches will appear with use but can be buffed out.

Colour & Pattern

ConsistentVaries
Select a colour from almost limitless options with confidence that it will be consistent throughout your kitchen.

Finish

MatteGloss
Almost always matte.

Price

LowHigh
Moderate to high depending on colour.

5Solid Wood

Choose Solid Wood if:

You like the warmth and character of wood and want to add a furniture-like focal point in a small area of the kitchen.

Material

SyntheticNatural
Wood is one of nature’s finest, strongest raw materials.

Durability

FragileDurable
Wood is great as a focal point or dedicated food prep/chopping station but is not recommended as the main surface throughout a kitchen. Wood requires regular maintenance, scratches easily and is susceptible to damage by water, steam and other household items. However, wood can easily be repaired with a light sanding and an application of oil.

Colour & Pattern

ConsistentVaries
Appearance varies. Range of colours and grain structure based on species and finish.

Finish

MatteGloss
Typically a matte finish, but high a gloss coating can be applied.

Price

LowHigh
Moderate to high based on wood species and manufacturer.

6Laminate

Choose Laminate if:

You’re designing on a budget or plan to purchase your “dream” countertop in the near future.

Common Laminate countertop products include Formica, Wilsonart, Arborite, Nevamar and Pionite.

Material

SyntheticNatural
Synthetic product composed of compressed paper and melamine resins with a plastic laminated finish. Has evolved since the early 1900s to meet modern environmental and aesthetic demands.

Durability

FragileDurable
Resistant to abrasion and very easy to maintain.

Colour & Pattern

ConsistentVaries
Whichever of the virtually limitless colour and pattern options you choose will look consistent throughout your kitchen.

Finish

MatteGloss
Wide range of options from matte to high gloss.

Price

LowHigh
Low to moderate.

 

Have more questions about planning your kitchen renovation project? Stop by our showroom or schedule a personal design consultation with one of our professional designers.

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