How to Choose the Best Kitchen Countertops
Selecting countertops for your kitchen can be daunting. Here are five questions to consider for a successful outcome.
Which Countertop Material Is Right for Your Kitchen?
Whether you’re remodeling your current kitchen or building a new one, it looks like you need some new countertops. Now that the old countertops have been removed, there's a lot to consider when trying to find the right material or color — from practical elements to design. We’ve put together a list of questions with the help of Megan Lee and Lindsey Breuler at Odell Construction, Inc. to help you find the right fit for your needs and taste.
5 Questions to Ask When Choosing New Kitchen Counters
1. How Will You Use Your Countertops?
The first thing you'll probably think of when trying to choose the best countertops for your kitchen is how they look. If you don’t pick a material that can withstand your daily use of the space, your money will be wasted. So ask yourself, how do you and your family use your kitchen?
"Do you cook a lot? Do your counters see wear and tear from hosting parties or from having children in the home? How long do you plan on living in your home?"
One way to accommodate different uses of your kitchen is to get more than one type of material. If you chop a lot of things when you cook, you may want to go to with butcher block for part of your counters to create a built-in cutting board. Or maybe you bake often and could use a marble countertop section to work with dough.
Mixing and matching kitchen countertop materials will also help you spend less. For example, if you have a large island, you may decide to install a less expensive material here. Then, you can spend a little extra money on adjacent countertops that take up fewer square feet.
2. How Much Maintenance Are You Willing to Do?
Be honest and realistic about this one. Before you fall in love with the look of a material, know the demands involved with its upkeep. Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Butcher block is durable, but it also requires bi-annual sealing to avoid excessive damage.
- Porous materials, like marble, limestone and granite, require oiling and sealing once a year.
- Other materials, like quartz, take just a simple wipe down.
Not sure which material is right for you? Jump to our breakdown of the most popular countertop materials.
"Quartz is a popular kitchen countertop material because there is no maintenance required. It’s non-porous and durable. Granite is also popular, but it’s softer than quartz and may require some resealing and refinishing."
3. How Much Space Do You Need?
Knowing how many linear feet of countertop space you have will help you create an estimate of the amount of material you’ll need. Take this to different companies to compare against their various options and brands. This will give you a rough idea of how much money it will cost you to buy a certain material or brand over another.
4. What’s Your Budget?
The cost of materials ranges widely but if properly maintained, good kitchen countertops can last you indefinitely. Decide on your ideal countertops, and then find a version that fits your budget. For example, maybe you love the look of marble but it’s a bit out of your price range. Quartz has a similar look with a slightly less expensive price tag.
Depending on the differences between your ideal countertops and the less costly version, it may be worth spending a little extra on something you’ll be living with for years.
A good rule of thumb is to spend about 15% to 30% of your budget on the kitchen countertops. If you're spending less than 15%, the quality might be inferior to the other materials you're using, but if your countertops cost significantly more than 30%, you might be overdoing it.
Learn to stay on-track and on-budget with our helpful home remodeling tips, whether you're tackling the project yourself or hiring contractors.
5. Which Materials and Colors Fit Your Home’s Aesthetic?
And now for the question that’s always top-of-mind: what will look best in my kitchen? Here’s a list of questions to help consider which kitchen countertop material and color will fit your design:
- Do you like a particular countertop color?
- Do you foresee your paint and hardware choices changing?
- How does your choice look against your existing kitchen walls?
- Are you happy with your current kitchen style or do you want to switch it up?
Things to remember:
- Pick a material with veins or splashes of color to help keep your options open.
- Choose a neutral color. Paint and accessories can change over time, so it’s a good idea to have counters that will match anything.
If possible, take samples home. Looking at the material in the unique light of your kitchen and against the colors, woods, accessories and flooring in the room will help you decide whether or not it really fits your vision.
According to Breuler, quartz has beaten out granite for the past decade as the most popular kitchen countertop material. Quartz is preferred in the kitchen because it's stain-resistant, strong, easy-to-clean and comes in multiple colors and designs. Plus, it doesn't need to be sealed.
Looking to new developing trends, Breuler says nature seems to be an inspiration.
"Earth tones are emerging, and natural elements such as wood and stone are currently trending. Incorporating earth tones or natural materials in a space can create a calm and comfortable environment."
Time to Choose Your Kitchen Countertops
Now that you know what to ask yourself when selecting the best countertops for your kitchen and the pros and cons of different materials, you’re ready to start your search. Wherever you decide to purchase your countertops, make sure you are buying from a reputable brand and company so you end up with quality materials.
"Prepare a list of wants and needs, as well as goals to achieve. Are there any issues that need to be solved within the space? Pain points from current or past countertops? Do not be afraid to share your opinions with the contractor or designer. Communication is key to a successful outcome."
Lindsey worked for Odell Construction, Inc for over a year as an interior designer in the Cleveland area. She continues to collaborate and design for the Cleveland Clinic, where her skills have helped shape several key projects.
With over 13 years of experience in marketing and branding, Megan is passionate about creating and executing effective strategies that increase brand awareness, customer loyalty and business growth. She works primarily as a marketing director in Long Beach to help drive positive outcomes for various businesses, such as GreenCal and Odell Construction, Inc.
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