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Which Kitchen Countertop Material Should You Pick?

August 18, 2020

What’s the “best value-for-money option” might not be the right choice for your kitchen. We unpack it all here!

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're 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.

Clementi Avenue 4 by Lemonfridge Studio

Interior Firm: Lemonfridge Studio

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. Here’s a guide to help you find the right surface for your kitchen.

1. Laminates

In general, laminates are made from several layers of kraft paper boards and melamine resin. This makes them more affordable compared to other surfaces. So, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, this is the right one for you.

Commonwealth Drive by The Local INN.terior 新家室

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.

  • Direct impact with a sharp object like knives and scissors can result in chips
  • Prolonged contact with hot cookware can cause it to melt
  • May become warped over time

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 durable material that you may wish to consider for your kitchen.

Henderson Road by Adroit ID

Interior Firm: Adroit ID

You don’t have to hack away your existing countertop finishing to install it either. The KompacPlus can be conveniently mounted over the current counter.

  • Scratch-, heat-, impact-, bubble- and stain-resistant, waterproof and non-porous
  • Can also be installed on your floor, walls and furniture
  • Installation can be completed within 3 working days
  • Keeping it clean is easy – wipe it down occasionally and you’re good to go
  • Slim build of 3mm and 6mm in thickness
  • Limited in design
  • Visible joint lines
  • Prolonged exposure to sun can lead to discolouration
  • Direct contact with hot objects can result in cracks

Get a KompacPlus countertop if…

You are looking for minimum fuss and maximum flexibility.

Local Brands & Suppliers:

3. Engineered Quartz

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

Alkaff Crescent by Zenith Arc

Interior Firm: Zenith Arc

However, unlike their natural counterparts, engineered quartz surfaces is non-porous. With this surface, you’ll almost never need to worry about tough-to-remove stains or bacterial growth because of water exposure.

  • Impact-, scratch- and stain-resistant
  • Wide range of colours, can emulate the look of natural stone like marble
  • Non-porous and hygienic
  • Durable and less likely to chip or crack
  • Pricier than other alternatives
  • Visible seam joints
  • Direct contact with hot objects can damage the surface because of the resin

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)

Since engineered quartz can closely mimic the veiny look and smooth feel of natural stone, are there actually any perks in choosing a granite or marble surface?

Jalan Tupai by Summerhaus D’zign

Interior Firm: Summerhaus D’zign

We'd say yes. Natural stone countertops are mostly cut from pure stones, they’re eco-friendlier. If you’re someone who’s more environmentally conscious (and have a bigger budget to work with), this is a great option to consider.

  • Unique veins and grains for a one-of-a-kind look
  • Durable and can last for years if taken care of properly
  • High-end look
  • Wide variety of colours
  • Edgings can be crafted
  • Can be quite costly
  • Highly porous, will require sealant upon installation
  • High maintenance, spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible to prevent staining
  • Must be installed professionally

Get a natural stone countertop if…

You want the real deal and don’t mind routine maintenance.

Local Brands & Suppliers:

5. Solid Surface

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

Crawford Lane by Happe Design Atelier

Interior Firm: Happe Design Atelier

Solid surface countertops aren’t the toughest material among the options presented but are the easiest to repair. Simply scrub or sand away the scratched/burnt layers to get an (almost) brand-new look!

  • Durable
  • Can integrate your sink and backsplash for a seamless look
  • Wide variety of colours and patterns
  • Can mimic the look of other materials such as marble and concrete
  • Easily damaged by heat and impact
  • Not stain-resistant

Get a solid surface countertop if…

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

Local Brands & Suppliers:

6. Wood (Butcherblock)

Just like how no two pieces of natural stone look the same, almost no two pieces of wood share a similar pattern. You’ll definitely get a unique look with wooden/butcherblock counters.

Mei Ling Street by Urban Home Design 二本設計家

That said, it shares the same weakness as natural stone: porous layers. Like always, you can prevent water seepage with a non-toxic sealant.

  • Sustainable alternative
  • Available at a wide range of prices, depending on choice of wood
  • If sealed and maintained correctly, it can last you for up to 20 years
  • You can use household cleaners to clean it
  • Easily stained
  • Using a cutting board is a must in order to keep your surface dent- and scratch-free
  • Prone to water damage
  • Expands and contracts depending on temperature it’s exposed to

Get a wooden countertop if…

You like the warmth of real wood.

Local Brands & Suppliers:

  • Custom manufacturers
  • IKEA

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