If you’ve just bought a home or you’re doing a renovation, replacing your countertops should be a top consideration. Whether it’s your bathroom, kitchen, or other room in your home, the countertops you choose can make or break both the design and the upkeep requirements of that space. Making the right choices can boost your home’s value and help create a space that is just right for you. There are many things to consider – price, design, maintenance, durability, and many more. To help you make the best decision possible, we’ve rounded up countertop experts from California to Pennsylvania. Read on for tips and tricks straight from the countertop professionals that know best!
James Freeman, Colonial Marble and Granite: If you’re most excited about showing off your brand-new kitchen to future guests, then pick materials that can withstand mixing and mingling. A durable but less-porous natural stone-like granite can endure party mishaps like hot dishes or the inevitable spilled glass of wine. It’s formed deep in the Earth’s core into a highly dense material, and no single slab looks exactly alike.
Bust out your Top Chef skills in a space tailor-made for gourmet cooking. Establish the golden “kitchen triangle” by positioning your sink, fridge and oven between 4 and 9 feet apart. The not-too-close, not-too-far arrangement helps your workspace flow that much better.
Ryan Burden, Countertop Specialty: The biggest mistake homeowners make when choosing new countertops is failing to investigate durability, maintenance, and ease of repair thoroughly. This research is especially crucial for kitchen countertops, which get heavy use. We consult with countless homeowners frustrated by unexpected cleaning issues or damage to new countertops. All countertop materials can be damaged or stained in one way or another. Each requires care and cleaning specific to that surface. Some countertop materials are easy to repair while damage to other types can be permanent.
For instance, marble will scratch and etch and needs more upkeep, but it is repairable. On the other hand, some popular man-made countertops are more durable, but any damage may be permanent. You want to be aware of these facts up front. Relying on general advice is a mistake. Avoid future surprises and disappointment with your countertop investment. Take the time to learn the finer details of proper maintenance, product use, and potential problems of each material you’re considering before purchasing.
Paresh Shah, AA Granite Fabricator Direct: Don’t sacrifice a surface you love because you’re afraid it won’t last. All countertops perform whether it is granite, marble or even wood, although wear can develop over time. For those who know they won’t enjoy anything less than a bulletproof surface, we recommend going with quartzite or quartz.
Sinan Sepkin, Academy Marble & Granite: Natural stone materials, such as granite and quartzite, are highly durable countertop materials. Aside from the periodic sealing and wiping up of kitchen debris, these countertops are made to last. Marble, also a natural stone, is softer, but that does not mean it’s not a great option for kitchen and bath applications. It just depends on the wear and tear you expect it to endure and how much maintenance (sealing and cleaning) you are willing to put into it. Sealing slows down the etching, but if spills are left on the surface, it can still be damaged.
Quartz is incredibly easy to clean and requires minimal maintenance compared to other natural stone options. It also requires no initial or periodic sealing. Of course, whether you have quartz countertops in your kitchen, bathrooms, or other areas of the home, regular cleaning is a must to maintain a healthy environment and keep your countertop surfaces looking brand-new. The main difference between quartz and other types of stone when it comes to maintenance is that quartz is a non-porous material, thanks to the resins and polymers that bind it together.
Dave Brassard, RE Marble & Granite: There is no way to control or know what a given single buyer will be attracted to, when and if you put your home up for sale. They may have exactly the same taste as yours, or they may have completely different tastes. Therefore – the best answer is this: you are making a big investment in your home, BUY THE PRODUCT THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY! That way, for all the time you live with your new kitchen, YOU will love it, and that’s something that you can control.
Dhruv Kar, Stoneland, St. Louis-based granite and quartz distributor: Natural stone is the most common material for countertops. However, quartz has also been gaining steam over the last 5 years, especially in the Midwest. Recently, quartz prices shot up, because of the ongoing tariff war with China (surprise, a lot of quartz is made there) and because of this uncertainty in the supply chain, significant capital is required to start a production run, further limiting the supply. If you can source quartz locally or find a deal, quartz is still worth it, since it doesn’t require sealing and has been shown to be more durable than granite.
John Vatis, SurfaceLink: First, you have to consider how the countertop will be used. If heavily used, such as a lot of cooking and food prepping, then Granite may be the right choice due to its heat resistance to hot pots/pans placed on its surface and how well it stands up to daily wear and tear. If basic cooking, normal family use, then a medium to light-colored Solid Surface countertop, Quartz (Engineered Stone,) or Granite are all excellent choices. If more of a low use kitchen, then choosing a dark color or high gloss surface in any of the surfacing products would be a great fit. Dark colors/gloss surfaces aren’t suited for heavy use, so this is a good fit for low use kitchens.
Secondly, you should consider the color or pattern of your countertop. If a random natural look is desired, then Granite is a great choice. If you need a particular color or pattern, then the wide selection of Quartz (Engineered Stone) and Solid Surfaces will make the decision much simpler.
Jennifer Crawford, American Marble & Granite: Granite is making a comeback as people are looking for more color and movement in their countertops. Quartzite is harder than granite with unique patterns from creams to dark gray.
Kate Young, Solid Rock Custom Homes: As a luxury home builder, we help our clients find the most stylistic countertops for their home while ensuring that they are durable for everyday living. Quartz on the perimeter cabinets, awe-inspiring granite islands, backlit onyx… there are so many options. Your home-builder should help you select the best material for you that fits your style and desired functionality, while durable enough to suit all of your needs, now and for generations to come.