I love a beautiful, durable, granite countertop as much as the next person, but there’s more options than most homeowners assume. Below are some of the many popular options courtesy of Yahoo! Homes…
Beyond granite, there are a multitude of countertop options available, and their number just increases over time. If you’re in the market for a kitchen makeover, you may find that one of these great nongranite surfaces is just what you need:
Marble countertops are softer than granite, which means they stain and scratch. “But [marble] creates its own patina when it does that,” says Alan Zielinski, immediate past president of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and president and CEO of Better Kitchens Inc. in north-suburban Chicago. “That aging process gives the marble a nice, warm look. That warmth appeals to some people – if you’re not one of them, you probably should avoid marble.”
Wood countertops are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, largely due to their durability and style. Adding a wood top to an island, while using a contrasting material for perimeter counters is a great way to add interest to the kitchen.
Soapstone is a smooth, matte natural stone that comes in a hues ranging from soft grey to charcoal. It is one of the only natural surfaces that is not affected by acids, so spilled coffee or orange juice won’t leave a stain. Soapstone countertops are also heat-resistant.
Although some quartz countertops are actually made of quarried slabs of stone, the new engineered material is created through a manufacturing process that mixes approximately 95 percent ground natural quartz with 5 percent polymer resins. The result is a super-hard, low-maintenance, natural-looking countertop that’s available in a wide range of colors.
New colorizing and stain techniques have made concrete counters more popular than ever. Skilled craftsmen can create beautiful concrete countertops in any color, shape and size. Embedded stones, tile or even silicone chips can be added to the mix to create a piece of art. The result is a beautiful counter that’s durable as well as scratch- and heat resistant.
Glass countertops can endure high heat without cracking or scorching, they won’t stain and they’re nonporous, which makes them very hygienic. “I really like glass because it’s so versatile,” says Zielinkski. “You can laminate three pieces together and use a crackled surface or other art layer between the top and bottom. They can be painted on the back, or lit. They’re very high-end and very versatile.”
Stainless steel countertops can be found in any style of kitchen, from contemporary to traditional, because they complement many of today’s appliances. Stainless steel is stain- and heat-resistant, but it’s susceptible to scratches and dents. Of course, steel isn’t the only metal countertop material on the market. You might also consider copper, pewter or zinc.
Solid-surface countertops (such as Corian, for example) can look like natural stone, but they’re generally less expensive and require less maintenance.