One important feature of a kitchen is the countertop.  Is it functional, easy to maintain, does it look nice and will it last? Before you buy new countertops for your kitchen consider these important points about Granite, Quartz, Corian and Laminate countertops.

Granite Countertops

*Granite is Natural Stone and nothing matches the beauty of natural stone.
*Granite is very hard and does not scratch easily.
*Granite countertops should be sealed once a year, unless you get the sealer that is guaranteed for a lifetime.  If it stains after this treatment the sealing company will remove the stains for free.
*The seam on a granite countertop is not invisible.
*Granite has pockets and fissures in it.  If you put food directly on it, the stone can absorb some of the food particles and become unsanitary.
*Even sealed Granite is not 100% stain proof.  Spills should be cleaned up right away or they could soak into the granite and stain it.
*Fissures in the granite should not be exposed to hot pans as they can cause cracks in the countertop.
*Granite countertops have become more affordable.  A small kitchen top can be as little as $2,000 with an undermount sink.
*Undermount sinks with a Granite countertop makes for a much cleaner look.  (Undermount sinks are installed so the rim of the sink is below the countertop)

Quartz countertops

·     Quartz counter tops are made with approximate 90% to 93% quartz crystals. The quartz crystals are held together with a resin that is hard as stone.
·     Quartz is very hard and does not scratch easily.
·     Quartz counter tops have the appearance of granite without any of granites issues. Some of the new quartz countertop colors are hard to tell apart from granite.
·     Quartz  countertops, like granite countertops, can be installed with an under mount sink so that the rim of the sink is below the countertop. This makes for a much cleaner look.
·     Quartz countertops never need sealing because there are no pockets or fissures in them.
*   Quartz countertops are smooth as glass, you can put your food directly on it   and not worry about any of it absorbing into the top.
·     Quartz countertops, like granite countertops, are not designed for hot pans to be placed on them, They are not warrantied against damage by heat.
·     The quartz countertop seam is not invisible
·     Some quartz countertops actually have a bacteria inhibitor built right into them.
·     Quartz countertops cost a little more than some of the granite countertops but are still affordable.

Corian countertops

·     “Corian” is actually a brand.  The type of countertop that Corian is, is a ½” thick solid surface “Acrylic” countertop.
·     Corian countertops are 100% acrylic.
·     Acrylic countertops are 100% stain proof.
·     Acrylic countertops have invisible seams.
·     Acrylic countertops can have a “coved” backsplash which means that the backsplash is attached to the top so there is no seam.
·     Corian countertops, like granite countertops, can be installed with an under mount sink so that the rim of the sink is below the countertop. This makes for a much cleaner look.
·     You can install a Corian sink which is bonded to the countertop so that it is all one piece. The Corian sink is also ½” thick acrylic so the surface of the sink can always be restored.
·     Acrylic countertops are ½” thick countertops with the color all of the way through. If the counter top ever gets scratched the surface can be buffed out restoring you top to the original finish. If you were somehow to break off a corner it can be repaired so you can’t even see the break.
·     Acrylic countertops can get scratched but buying the lighter colors with patterns can make the scratches not appear as bad. Acrylic countertops are not as hard as stone, so they can get scratches. A dark color will show the scratches more than a lighter color.
·       I have had Corian countertops in my house for 15 years and they look as good as the day they were installed. We have the lighter colors with patterns.
·     Corian countertops are one of the more affordable solid surface tops.

Laminate Countertops

·     Laminate countertops come in many different colors. Some of them even have the “Granite” look
·     Laminate countertops are the least expensive.
·     Laminate countertops are made of laminated paper with a plastic top covering, hence the name laminated plastics.
·     Unlike solid surface, laminate countertops can not be repaired if scratched or damaged.
·     Laminate countertops will show the seams.
·     Laminate is a good choice of countertops because it is affordable, hard to scratch or stain and bacteria resistant.
·     Laminate countertops are not heat resistant.

To summarize: I don’t think one kind of top is better than  another one. The kind of countertop someone chooses for their kitchen depends on their lifestyle and how much they can afford to spend. Do you want the natural beauty of Granite, realizing it requires some maintenance?

Do you want the natural beauty of Quartz (almost as pretty as granite), without any of the maintenance issues? Do you want a Corian countertop which will be softer and warmer than granite and have invisible seams? (Even though some people do not like that Corian is Acrylic.)

If you come into either of our showrooms we would love to give you a personal tour and let you pick out the countertop that best fits your lifestyle and budget.

Thanks for taking the time to decide which countertop is best for you.

Dave Warren
Member, Kitchen Concepts Northwest, LLC