As the heart of the home, a kitchen is a bustling place, and your kitchen countertops will almost definitely take a beating on most days. A bottle of grape juice gets knocked over by a backpack. Kids go to slice cheese without using a cutting board. Hot pots are set on top of the countertop to make room on the stove. Platters get dropped onto the countertop from the high cabinet above the refrigerator. And so. Much. More.
The durability of a countertop is based on its ability to withstand hazards from stains, cuts, heat, scratches, and impact, and below are some of the most durable kitchen countertop materials on the market today.
Quartz, or engineered stone, is an ingenious product that has won over homeowners the past two decades. It is made from a mix of natural ground quartz and polymer resins. The result is a countertop superhero – extremely durable and low, low maintenance.
Pros: Quartz is non-porous, so it resists staining much better than other materials and does not require regular sealing like natural stone materials. Quartz is extremely hard, so it stands up to cuts, scratches, chips, and cracks quite well.
Cons: Quartz isn’t as heat-resistant as granite – the resins in the mix can burn if the temperature gets too high, causing permanent discoloration. Quartz also isn’t as suitable for outdoor installations because the sun’s rays can break down the resin in the countertop, causing it to warp and fade.
Granite is a natural stone made of quartz, feldspar, and mica and mined from around the world. Every slab is nature-made, resulting in unique and elegant patterns, veins, and colors found in no other material. Granite also is extremely tough.
Pros: Granite is extremely heat resistant, so brief encounters with a hot pan won’t hurt it. However, after repeated or lengthy exposure, excessive heat can weaken sealants. Granite also will stand up to slicing and dicing without scratching.
Cons: Because of its crystalline structure, granite can chip if subjected to extremely hard objects, particularly at the edges of the countertop.
Crushed (Recycled Glass)
Recycled glass is a relatively new and interesting countertop material that appeals to homeowners interested in an eco-friendly yet durable solution. Recycled glass countertops are made up of commercial and industrial recycled glass held together with a cement or resin binder.
Pros: They are unique, beautiful, and keep old glass out of landfills. If you choose a resin-based recycled glass, you won’t have to seal it, and it will be quite resistant to staining. Recycled glass countertops also won’t chip or burn easily.
Cons: If you choose a cement-based recycled glass countertop, you must seal it regularly.
Laminate countertops are made from multiple layers of resin-soaked paper, applied by rollers, and set in a drying oven for strength and thickness. The decorative pattern of the countertop is made from a high-grade print paper with a protective overlay.
Pros: Laminate countertops can mimic the look of more expensive countertop materials but at a fraction of the price. They are easy to install for do-it-yourselfers.
Cons: Laminate countertops need to be protected from burns and scratches using trivets and cutting boards.
Finding the Best Countertop for You
Regardless of what countertop material you choose, proper maintenance is essential for keeping your countertops looking beautiful for years to come.
Read all manufacturer’s instructions regarding the cleaning and maintenance of your countertops and do not put anything on your countertops that might cause you to void the warranty.
If you'd like see the options in person, feel free to come by our showroom. Kitchen & Bath Center has dedicated designers that can show you all of the different options and figure out what works for your situation.
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