Picking a countertop is important not just for the aesthetics of the kitchen, but also in regards to functionality. The reality is, there are over a dozen different materials you can use to make a kitchen countertop, but examining and comparing each of those would be an exercise in futility. Instead, consider granite, marble and concrete, three popular countertop options that offer some different experiences.
In order to compare the three, remember that durability in a kitchen is very important, just as the ability to clean and maintain the surface is important. Perhaps a greater consideration for most home owners, cost is also a major factor. Finally, the issue that most people put as primary is the appearance and how it fits with the rest of the kitchen. After all, when you renovate a kitchen every aspect must work with one another to ensure not only the best function, but also the best form.
The most expensive option out of the three, granite has remained as the top tier of kitchen countertops for many years. One of the major reasons that granite has such a hefty price tag and a strong allure is the fact that no two pieces of granite are the same. You can order granite in virtually any kind of color and design, but no matter how much you get none of the individual sections will be identical.
With this unique visual appeal, granite makes for some of the most beautiful countertops. In addition, this natural stone is relatively durable, but acidic foods should be handled with care around them. Exposure to these foods can stain and dull the natural beauty of the stones, which is what scares many potential buyers.
Overall, granite is heat and scratch resistant, but the price is definitely one that raises eyebrows. If you need the unique look and price is not an issue, granite is definitely a contender. Just remember to care for these countertops, as regular maintenance can help greatly extend their life.
Like granite, marble is a natural stone, so it has some definite weaknesses when it comes to caring for these countertops. In fact, out of the three listed here, marble is the one that will need the most attention and the most regular maintenance to ensure that they remain clean and usable. What makes this more difficult is the fact that you will need specialized cleaning products in order to keep these countertops at their best.
Of course, the lower tolerance for stains is backed up by a significantly lower price. In most cases, marble will be the cheapest option you are going to find for countertops. Another plus is that marble is still relatively heat resistant, but the tradeoff for this is that it does not resist scratches. Also, like granite, marble surfaces should not have direct exposure to acidic foods as it can cause damage and staining.
Overall, marble is still a very beautiful option for kitchens, and the look is unmistakable. It can certainly provide a highlight in the right kitchen, and with such a low price it does make a strong argument. By taking the necessary precautions when handling food over these countertops, marble could definitely be a contender.
Concrete is a man-made material and out of the three it definitely sounds the least sexy. Contrary to that though, concrete can make some of the most beautiful and functional countertops on the market. Of course, with a more attractive and artistic concrete design comes a much more expensive price.
Out of the three options, concrete probably has the most variance in price. The reason for this is because the concrete can come with any sort of other material mixed in to help with the design. This is what puts concrete in as the most versatile overall. If you want a completely different look to your kitchen, concrete can provide that. At the same time, it can be used to make a very simple and elegant countertop for a modern kitchen.
For functionality, concrete is less resistant to heat than the natural stones, but more resistant to scratching. It is very easy to clean and you do not need to worry about buying special chemicals. Instead, simple soap and water will do the trick. Overall, concrete is a solid option that can fit a wide variety of budgets.
For price, the cheapest countertop is usually marble and the most expensive is granite. Of course, price isn't your only concern, but it is the easiest one to measure in an absolute fashion. Durability is a slightly different issue, as concrete is the most durable and marble is the least durable. Also, heat resistance is actually the best on granite, and the worst on marble.
Still, though these are all important factors, there are unmeasurable variables such as how well it matches you cabinets or goes with your wall color and these bring up an entirely different issue. In order to get a good idea of which one is best for you, remember to consider each of these factors in accordance with your needs.
Which is Best?
As with any home improvement question, the answer to this depends heavily on your own preference. Obviously, concrete is the cheapest of the three, so if price is your only concern then the choice can be made fairly easily. On the other hand, style is usually going to be the deciding factor in this decision making process.
If you have brand new wooden cabinets, you might want to consider getting either granite or marble that will work well with your color scheme. Instead, if you decide to do something artistic to overhaul the look of your cabinets, such as refinishing them yourself, concrete might work better. You can make your own countertops out of concrete, which offers a unique artistic touch.
When it comes down to it, just remember to prioritize for your own need. Put your needs in order of importance, and choose the countertop that matches them. In the end, your kitchen should be a room that you enjoy being in.Posted by: TrustedPros