To some, countertops are the Holy Grail of any kitchen. Most would at least agree that kitchen countertops are character-defining. We live, breathe, and spend most of our time around them, even if we’re simply appreciating them unknowingly… who doesn’t love the look and feel of freshly cleaned, shiny kitchen countertops?!
Over the years, countertops have evolved from simple surfaces to functional design elements with contemporary fittings, storage, sinks, and even designated seating areas. And if your current countertop doesn’t give you that “buzz” well, as singer-songwriter Bill Withers succinctly puts it… this house just ain't no home!
How to Select Kitchen Countertops
So, how do you go about choosing kitchen countertops?
From sticking to a certain price point, to appeasing your home’s current aesthetic, selecting the right countertops can be overwhelming! These four key factors will help filter your choices from the get-go:
1. Maintenance – Easy to clean, stain resistant, stain proof, heat resistant, heat proof – what does all of this mean, and what does it mean for you?
2. Space - How much space are you working with? Is it a new build or are you renovating an existing room?
3. Budget - How much of your budget are you willing to allocate for?
4. Design - What is your personal aesthetic? Do you prefer contrasting colours or mute tones and patterns?
Sound simple? Great! We’re on the right track. Now the next step is where most people become overwhelmed. Why? Because the options are endless!
Types of Kitchen Countertops
Countertops come in a wide variety of colours and patterns. On top of that, technological advancements provide customers with even more options than ever before. Companies like Select Surfaces Corp blend engineering with classic design sensibilities, and quality craftsmanship.
Let’s get into it! Below are a few types of countertops you should be aware of when selecting the right one for your kitchen!
Natural Stone Countertops
These countertops are classic, timeless and lavish... so naturally, a majority of these stones are on the expensive side. Now that’s not to say that all natural stone is pricier, in fact certain natural stones can be affordable and more reasonable in price compared to man-made options! Granite, marble, quartzite and soapstone are the most common natural stones used to make countertops.
As these stones are handcrafted by nature, there are slight limitations when it comes to patterns and colour selections since you get what Mother Nature gives you (think whites, greys, yellows, blues, blacks, and browns). However, some natural stone is softer and require more maintenance than others. For example, marble requires sealing & regular maintenance – and develops a gorgeous patina overtime with use. But not everyone loves the patina process or look, an expert Kitchen Designer can guide you towards the best stone to suit your lifestyle, cooking habits and aesthetic, while keeping maintenance factors top of mind.
Man-Made Stone Countertops
Engineered to perfection, quartz is one of the most durable countertop materials on the market today!
These man-made stone countertops are typically crafted in solid colours and come in a wide variety of patterns. They are stain and heat resistant, and require low maintenance (BONUS!)
Very simple and chic, these countertops evoke an ultra-contemporary look.
Sound too good to be true? Well, there IS a downside to quartz countertops! Quartz is a porous stone, meaning it can easily absorb and stain! So if you’re a fan of cooking with turmeric or chili powder you may want to think twice about investing in Quartz countertops! Remember… we said these countertops were heat and stain resistant, not proof!
Ever heard of porcelain countertops? No? You’re not alone! When we think countertops, obvious choices like quartz or granite instantly come to mind… but people often forget about porcelain! Our 2020 Kitchen Display at the Interior Design Show featured a new high-tech porcelain stone installed and sourced by Select Surfaces Corp.
While quartz is stain and heat resistant, porcelain is heat and stain PROOF! This easy to clean stone is extremely durable, while embodying the beauty of natural stone. The downside? You’re only limited when it comes to countertop edge type! Porcelain must have a square mitred edge because the stone’s pattern is only visible in the top layer. On the other hand Quartz is solid, with the pattern going all the way through, meaning the pattern is visible from all angles, so you have more edge profile options!
If you’re on a budget, you may have considered engineered laminate countertops. These surfaces come in sheets and are cut into small labs; hence, their joints are sealed and are detachable.
The downside? Though laminate surfaces are affordable, they don’t react to heat well and are easily scratched. Once the seal on a laminate countertop is scratched, or damaged it cannot be repaired or resealed! This means that you will have to replace the countertop eventually.
Our opinion? You’re better off saving and investing in a natural or man-made stone countertop that’s highly durable! Our motto has always been “Do it once, do it right!”
Wood countertops evoke an authentic, rustic look. Surprisingly, they’re making quite the comeback among urban youth living in studio apartments and design enthusiasts looking to experiment. A butcher block top in the island also provides a great work surface for prepping and chopping veggies.
Wood countertops not only provide an old-world charm, but they age gracefully. These countertops are typically made of rock maple, walnut, white oak, and cherry. Finished with either a furniture-grade finish (like your dining room table) or with a food-safe butcher block finish for chopping all those tasty ingredients. Relatively low maintenance, although you should be careful of heat and water marks on furniture finish pieces.
Now when it comes to wood countertops, there are often a lot of misconceptions and questions! Can you cut on wood countertops? How are they cleaned? Are they easily susceptible to bacteria?Canadian Butcher Block Company is one of our absolute favourite businesses to work with when it comes to wood countertops! They answer a whole host of these questions on their website! We know you’ll be surprised by a few of their answers!
With endless access to a variety of materials, finishes, colour and pattern, it’s worth investing a great deal of consideration into countertop selection. The benefit of Bloomsbury is that our designers will oversee your entire kitchen project from design to installation. You can think of us as your biggest design resource and asset… countertop stone advice included! Our designers will help guide you through the process, ensuring that together we select the best countertop that best fits your space, budget and personal design aesthetic!