Top Five Countertop Choices beyond Granite

Some interior design experts caution that granite is on its way out, however others claim it’s still a solid choice because it is durable, attractive and becoming increasingly affordable.  Granite aside, here are the top five recommendations for countertops.

This soapstone countertop is featured on ths.gardenweb.com.

This soapstone countertop is featured on ths.gardenweb.com.

  1. Soapstone– Unlike granite, soapstone does not require regular maintenance and sealing like granite because it is nonporous.  This makes it a great option for bathrooms because it is resistant to stains and acidic materials.  On the other hand, it is susceptible to deep indentations and scratches, so it is not the best option for kitchens where it may not withstand chopping and the banging of pots and pans.  Soapstone complements any design, from classic to contemporary.  It is a natural quarried stone available in light gray to green-black colors.  Over time, light gray soapstone weathers and darkens, often resulting in a patina-like finish.  Since soapstone is only available in relatively smaller slabs, its seams may be visible once installed if the countertop’s surface extends beyond seven feet.
  2. Engineered Quartz- Another contender for the top spot in countertop options is engineered quartz which offers the same beauty as stone without the upkeep.  It’s the best choice on the market for kitchens because not only is it tougher than granite, but unlike soapstone, it is highly resistant to scratching, staining, cracking and heat.  Engineered quartz is mainly uniform in design because it’s engineered.  There are no specific slabs from which to choose as with granite, but don’t let that sway you from considering engineered quartz.  There are plenty of options available, from stark modern whites to designs that resemble marble.  Bonus—like soapstone, engineered quartz is non-porous, so it doesn’t require annual sealing like granite.
  3. Butcher Block- One of the latest trends in countertops is installing butcher block which is available in several types of wood and can be stained to complement any interior design.  The only maintenance that they require is wiping them down with mineral oil on a regular basis.  Over time, butcher block can be restored to how it looked originally by simply sanding and refinishing it.  All of those stains and scratches that accumulate over time will disappear.  Bonus—you’ll never need a cutting board ever again.
  4. Laminate- Yes, laminate!  When you’re on a tight budget, check on today’s laminate because it’s come a long way since the Formica you most likely had growing up.  Modern Formica now is available in options that resemble expensive materials such as granite and marble.  They are also available in a wide variety of designer patterns and colors.
  5. Concrete- This countertop option has evolved a lot since it debuted in home interior design during the 1980s.  Flat and smooth, concrete countertops work best with contemporary and modern design styles.  They are available in a variety of colors and run from 1.5 inches to 10 feet long.  Concrete is ideal for kitchens because they are naturally durable and heat-resistant, and slabs are sealed to prevent stains.
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