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How To Choose The Right Countertop For Your Kitchen Remodel



Over the past year and a half, we all have spent more time at home. Parents have been working at home full-time, caring for their family simultaneously, 24/7, instead of the traditional "after getting off work" that we were used to before the pandemic turned our lives upside down. While working at home, inevitably so, if you have little ones in school, your kitchen countertop has morphed into their work-desk, drawing table, keeper of explosive science experiments, etc. Moreover, the countertop has endured spilled drinks, dropped plates, banging of pans, sharp knives, and the constant cleaning with wipes, rags, and harsh chemicals.



black gold pendant lighting over white marble kitchen countertop and black gold counter stools houston tx
Marble Kitchen Countertop. Image Courtesy of Hudson Valley Lighting Group


That's why, if you are thinking about renovating your kitchen any time soon, choosing the right countertop should be a top priority. Of course, this surface needs to be durable; it needs to work as hard as you do. But, most significantly, a kitchen remodel is a large investment, so you want this surface to be artistically appealing and strikingly beautiful, as well.


Before thinking about selecting and purchasing material for your countertop, you must first consider your lifestyle and the needs of your family unit. Do you cook a lot? Do you need one or two ovens? Do you do lots of baking? Do you have a professional cleaning schedule? What is your personal aesthetic...do you gravitate towards natural materials such as marble, or can you get along well with an alternative? Are you and your loved ones generally hard on surfaces? What are you expecting from your countertop? Really, really, really think about how you plan to use the space for the coming years...is the use constant or seldom. Let's be honest, some of us, including me, are totally fine with Uber Eats and DoorDash...so the countertop is more decorative than anything else.



white natural stone kitchen countertop with oak wood flooring and white cabinets houston tx
White Calacatta Maximus Stone Countertop - Available in Natural or Polished Finish. Image Courtesy of Caesarstone

With that said, let's dive right in. In this post, we will be discussing the pros and cons of the most common types of countertops. We are kicking it off with natural stones first.



Marble

Hands down, undoubtedly so, this is the most iconic choice for a kitchen countertop. Nothing beats the natural beauty and luxurious finish of marble. However, this surface tends to be the first to stain, etch and scratch. Therefore, it does require sealing upon application. Additionally, it would be best to prioritize regularly scheduled maintenance of the sealing to preserve its beauty. Consult your installer to obtain a high-quality sealant. Marble sealers today will last up to five years for indoor applications and three years of outdoor applications. The countertop finish will also affect the absorption of the sealant; a honed finish tends to absorb more sealant than a polished finish.



black gold polished marble slab for kitchen countertop houston tx
Black-Gold Polished Marble Slab. Image Courtesy of Pomogranit Stones.

Quartzite

Quartzite has a similar look to marble, but it is more durable. Note that this surface carries a higher amount of investment than other types. This is a naturally occurring rock; and, like marble, must be sealed before use and resealed regularly. What makes quartzite especially attractive for the kitchen is the variety of patterns and colors available. When heated, individual quartz pieces recrystallize, giving it a beautiful and decorative sparkling pattern. You can make this selection a unique work of art in your home.




brown tan gold white honed quartzite slab kitchen countertop houston tx
Brown, Gold & White Honed Quartzsite Slab. Image Courtesy of Pomogranit Stones.


Quartz

Easily confused with quartzite. While quartzite is a naturally occurring rock, quartz is manufactured with natural silicon and synthetic materials. This process makes this material readily available in a wide range of colors. Moreover, quartz is less prone to denting and chipping. As a result, it requires little maintenance. Notably, quartz has a range of costs that plays easily well with most budgets, making it the perfect choice for your kitchen countertop.



Granite

Granite has high heat and is superbly resistant to scratches and dents. Just as other natural stone countertops mentioned above, granite needs to be sealed upon application. But, depending on the color of the granite and the wear and tear of daily use it will get from you and your loved ones, the sealant can last up to five years.



gray black ivory tan granite slab for kitchen countertop houston tx
Gray and Ivory Granite Slab Featuring Hints of Black and Tan Grain Lines. Image Courtesy of Pomogranit Stones


Now, let's transition to alternate sources for the countertop surface. Most busy professionals are "super busy" these days with work, networking, leveling up, family, kids' activities, and everything in between. In your life, you are looking for things to be as little complicated as possible, straightforward to maintain, budget-conscious, and above all, luxe and uniquely eye-catching. For a kitchen remodel project, this is where alternative materials shine and take center stage. These alternate solid surfaces mimic the look of natural elements, such as wood, stone, or marble. But, more so, they come with increased durability and affordable price points. We will be discussing some common types along with their innovative benefits.



Concrete

Using concrete for your countertop selection delivers a contemporary and sleek look for your kitchen. In addition, the myriad of customization possibilities is near endless with this material. As the concrete is being mixed, any color or surface material such as stone, glass, or stainless steel can be added to suit your personal taste and style. Furthermore, the countertop's shape, along with its edge profile, can be custom-designed to your liking.


Porcelain

Porcelain has a consistent pattern throughout the slab. It is engineered through compression and then heated at a high temperature. As a result, it is highly resistant to extreme heat, abrasions, scratches, and stains. Most importantly, it is 100% non-porous...yay, bring on the spillage. The makeup of porcelain also guards against the growth of mold, bacteria, or mildew. I mean, come on, this is a WINNER!



white gray porcelain tile to mimic the look of marble for kitchen countertop houston tx
White Porcelain Slab by Corian. Image Courtesy of Corian Solid Surfaces


Neolith

Neolith is an easy-to-clean material as it does not absorb any liquids. For all the cooks out there, you will love that this material does not release harmful substances, making it completely suitable for contact with food. This material is resistant to scratching, ice and freezing, UV rays, bending, and high temperatures. Neolith is the ideal alternative material source for a kitchen countertop if you have an active lifestyle, and your countertop is going to get lots of usage from cooking, slicing, cutting, or just everyday activities. This solid surface itself prevents the growth of bacteria such as listeria and salmonella.



gray countertop and black cabinets in residential kitchen design project houston tx
Neolith Gray Countertop and Black Cabinetry. Image Courtesy of Neolith.



That's it for alternative sources! But, we are not done yet. We know that many of us, including myself, are starting to care for our planet way more these days, and in so, we are asking for more hygienic and eco-friendly options...for everything. So, if sustainability is your jam, oh boy, we have a goodie for you. Silestone has launched the first carbon-neutral collection for quartz and engineered stone surfaces. The collection uses 99% reused water, 100% renewable electric energy, and 20% recycled raw materials.




blue Backsplash Countertop Kitchen Island solid surface material hosuton tx
Silestone Kitchen Design in Cala Blue Countertop. Image Courtesy of Silestone USA


In summary, before deciding on the right countertop for you and your family, think and evaluate your lifestyle needs, especially consider the amount of wear and tear of daily use you will be giving that surface over a period of years. Then, of course, go for one that is both durable and beautiful, and most of all, YOU.


Until next time...


Un abrazo fuerte y mil gracias y mil bendiciones...


-Con much amor, Keesha







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