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6 Best Kitchen Countertop Materials For Your Makeover

January 11, 2018

When it comes to renovating a kitchen, finding the right countertop should be on the top of your list of things to do. If you make your own meals, you are probably aware that this surface is responsible for much of the heavy lifting when things get busy, whether it’s food preparation or serving as a secondary dining table in an open kitchen.

In any case, there are a number of materials that this hardworking kitchen structure can be outfitted with: laminates, KompacPlus, engineered quartz, solid surfaces, wood and natural stone. So before you start your renovation, here’s everything that you’ll need to know about these 6 types of countertop surfaces that are commonly found in today’s kitchens.

1. Laminates

Although the exact ‘recipe’ may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, laminates are generally made from several layers of kraft paper boards and melamine resin, which makes them a suitable choice for kitchens that are all about budget-friendliness.

kitchen countertop materials

Interior Designer: Prozfile

Not only are laminates capable of emulating the look and texture of natural materials, such as wood and marble, this countertop material is also capable of holding up well to accidental spills and stains because of its solid, non-porous nature.

Maintenance is easy and straightforward as well. All you need to keep your laminate countertop in tip-top condition are warm water, soap and a gentle wipe down with a sponge or cloth.

Although laminates are durable for the most part, just be sure to avoid these two common kitchen dangers: direct impact from sharp objects (knives, scissors, etc.) and prolonged contact with hot cookware, which can result in chipping and melting respectively.

Get a laminate countertop if…

You are looking for a pocket-friendly option that is both hygienic and flexible style-wise.

Local Brands & Suppliers:

2. KompacPlus

Touted as “an alternative to conventional kitchen countertop surfaces”, KompacPlus (or KompacTop) is one material that you may wish to consider for your kitchen if you are looking for a durable and simple-to-install option.

kitchen countertop materials
kitchen countertop materials

Architect: FOMA Architects

Have an existing countertop finishing? With KompacPlus, you won’t ever need to worry about hacking (or the ensuing mess) as it can be conveniently mounted over your current counter. If that’s not enough to impress you, this versatile material is also fire-resistant and fully waterproof.

Oh, and did we mention that it can be installed on your floor, walls and furniture as well?

Get a KompacPlus countertop if…

You are looking for minimum fuss and maximum flexibility.

Local Brands & Suppliers:

3. Engineered Quartz

kitchen countertop materials

Interior Designer: LS2 Design & Construction

Although quartz is very much a naturally-occurring mineral that is best described as solid (it rates 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, with diamond being the hardest at 10), it should not be mistaken with its engineered counterpart, which offers much more than just a firm surface.

kitchen countertop materials

Interior Designer: Blackjack Interior

Countertops made of engineered quartz are manufactured by mixing crushed natural quartz with polymer resin – a combination that gives it high durability and a wide range of colours.

However, the greatest advantage that engineered quartz surfaces have over their natural counterparts is their non-porous layers, which means you’ll almost never need to worry about tough-to-remove stains or bacterial growth because of water exposure.

That said, quality comes at a price. Engineered stone surfaces tend to be more expensive than other countertop options, but they certainly offer great value when it comes to style and performance.

Get an engineered quartz countertop if…

You have sufficient budget and want a tough, maintenance-free, natural stone lookalike.

Local Brands & Suppliers:

4. Natural Stone (Granite, Marble)

Given that it’s possible to closely mimic the veiny look and smooth feel of natural stone using engineered quartz, why would you consider getting a granite or marble surface for your kitchen counter? For one, countertops made from either of these natural stones are eco-friendly, and that makes them the perfect option for environmentally conscious homeowners.

kitchen countertop materials

Interior Designer: Third Avenue Studio

Also, remember the problem of natural stone countertops being porous and at risk of deep stains? That can be solved by either enlisting the help of a professional installer to have it sealed or simply getting a pre-sealed slab. Either way, doing so will ensure that your natural stone counter retains its gorgeous sheen in the years to come.

Get a natural stone countertop if…
You want the real deal and don’t mind routine maintenance.

Local Brands & Suppliers:

5. Solid Surface

kitchen countertop materials

Interior Designer: Aiden T

As their name implies, solid surface countertops are made out of a thick layer of synthetic acrylic, and that makes it non-porous, germ-resistant and an overall great choice for homeowners who want a zero-maintenance countertop.

kitchen countertop materials

Interior Designer: Aiden T

In the style department, solid surface counters don’t disappoint either; if you prefer a single block of colour over the look of natural stone (although such options are available too), this is the material for you.

And while they may not be the toughest material among the options presented, solid surface counters are perhaps the most easy to repair. Amazingly, scratches and burns on solid surface tops can be easily dealt with by just scrubbing or sanding away the affected layers (!), giving your counter an almost brand-new look.

Get a solid surface countertop if…

You have young children, pets, or just accident-prone.

Local Brands & Suppliers:

6. Wood (Butcherblock)

kitchen countertop materials

Interior Designer:The Local INN.terior

Just like quartz and marble tabletops, wooden or butcherblock counters (named as such for their use in butcheries) share the same weakness of having porous layers.

Once again, this problem can be simply countered with a non-toxic sealant, which will prevent water seepage. That said, this is an important aspect of care that you should never forget, unless you wish to see your wooden counter literally split apart at its seams.

kitchen countertop materials

Interior Designer:The Local INN.terior

Common weakness aside, the beauty of having your countertop made from non-artificial materials is that it’ll be truly unique. Almost no two pieces of wood (or natural stone) share the same pattern, thus allowing them to double as distinctive, one-of-a-kind statement pieces in your kitchen.

Get a wooden countertop if…

You like the warmth of real wood.

Local Brands & Suppliers:

  • Custom manufacturers
  • IKEA

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