One of the key decisions homeowners have to make when remodeling their kitchen is what type of countertop to have installed. While this may seem like a pretty straight forward decision, there are actually quite a few choices out there. With this in mind, it is important to consider what each type of counter material has to offer and how different materials compare to each other. To help you in your search, we’ve outlined some of the pros and cons for the most popular types of kitchen countertops: Laminate Countertops

Laminate is the most inexpensive and widely used material for kitchen countertops. While laminate countertops had fallen out of favor for awhile, they have made a strong comeback in recent years. Essentially, a laminate countertop is made from an application of a decorative color or pattern over a base material. This is then sealed under a layer of plastic resin. The availability of colors, patterns, and styles is virtually limitless, making laminate countertops easy to fit into any kitchen aesthetic. Like any material, laminate countertops do come with a few drawbacks. They can be scratched or cracked and are susceptible to burning or melting from hot pots and pans. Unfortunately, once the damage is done, it usually cannot be fixed. Laminate materials, however, are highly resistant to stains and even grease. They are easy to clean, require no maintenance, and are easy to replace.

Granite Countertops

For many years, granite was considered by many to be an extravagant countertop material found only in the kitchens of wealthy homeowners. However, in more recent years, granite has found its way into the mainstream. Granite is a naturally existing stone that makes for a strong and beautiful countertop. If properly cared for, granite can literally last a lifetime. Because it is stone, it is resistant to heat. However, it is slightly porous and needs to be periodically sealed with a wax-like material. If you don’t maintain this sealant, granite can fall prey to stains by grease, wine or many other kitchen items. If you love the look of natural stone and do not mind some minor upkeep once or twice a year, granite could potentially be a great choice for your home.

Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface countertops are available from a number of different manufactures such as Corian. A solid surface countertop is an engineered product that is made of a solid piece of plastic resin. Like laminate countertops, solid surface countertops can be made in many different colors, textures and styles. They can be made to look like stone or simply be solid in color. These countertops can be installed by professionals in such a way as to eliminate seams, giving a very streamlined look. With this material, the color goes all the way through the countertop, meaning that even a counter that has been through years of use can usually be refinished to look beautiful. Solid surface countertops are susceptible to heat damage and to cuts and scratches, although they are typically stain resistant and can be coated with an anti-microbial treatment to help make the kitchen environment more sanitary.

Quartz Countertops

Quartz is possibly the strongest material available for countertops. Quartz countertops are an engineered material created with over 90% crushed quartz aggregate, with the rest being pigments and the polymer that is used to bind the aggregate together. As a result of the polymer that is used in its manufacture, quartz is a non-porous surface that does not require sealing and will not stain when exposed to things like grease. Quartz is also a very strong material, even stronger than natural granite. These qualities make quartz particularly appealing for the kitchen. However, the quality of quartz countertops does come at a price. Generally speaking, quartz countertops are in the same price range as granite, with the exact price being dependant on the specific countertop selected.

Wood Countertops

Wood countertops are an affordable way to bring a unique quality to your kitchen or to help maintain the original charm and feel of kitchens in older homes. Though wood requires regular maintenance through surface treatments and is susceptible to water damage, cuts, and dents, it is also easily repaired through sanding or recoating.

Stainless Steel Countertops

Though most often found in restaurants, stainless steel countertops can be a striking addition to residential kitchens. Stainless steel can be expensive and difficult to find, but it is a unique, attractive surface that is heat-resistant and anti-microbial. Owners of stainless steel appliances already know that it is a surface that easily shows fingerprints and watermarks, but it is extremely easy to clean.

Marble Countertops

Marble is undeniably one of the most beautiful stones in the world used for countertops. It is important to remember, though, that although it is hard to the touch, marble is a very soft, very porous stone that is highly susceptible to stains and cracks. Because it is so easily damaged, and because kitchens are high-traffic areas where spills and cuts are a constant hazard, many people prefer marble counters in their bathrooms. However, they can – and are – still used in kitchens, but do require a great amount of care.

Concrete Countertops

For custom countertops that can be designed to almost any shape or style, daring homeowners choose concrete.  Concrete can be expensive, and it is a surface that is easily damaged and stained, but, many consider the look that can be achieved with concrete to be worth the risks.

Choosing the best kitchen countertop for you can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s best to turn to an experienced kitchen remodeler like Legacy Remodeling in Pittsburgh. Before redesigning your kitchen, Legacy can give you more information on materials available for countertops so you can make an informed decision and choose a countertop that you can enjoy for years to come.