From solid surface to granite to laminates, there are so many types of kitchen countertops to choose from. We pick the most popular types that will make every home chef happy.
A friend bought a resale flat with renovation that was well maintained but not really to her taste. Not willing to spend too much on overhauling the whole house, she had to pick her battles. Eventually, she decided to redo the living room and bedrooms but to keep the kitchen since the kitchen cabinets still looked newish. “The design was simple and evergreen, and it would save me money. My only complaint is the laminate countertop was yellowing and looked ugly and dated,” recalled homeowner Mrs Sandra Tan.
As she wanted to install a new kitchen island, she decided to change the rest of the countertops to match her island’s top. After thinking long and hard, Sandra made a bold choice: a deep red solid surface top. It instantly jazzed up the kitchen and made it look brand new. Sandra chose to use solid surface because she liked the hardy material that is affordable. However, there are many other type of countertops that homeowners can consider.
Classy and elegant, a granite countertop is the dream of many home chefs. This hardy stone is able to withstand heat very well. If it is sealed properly, granite is also one of the most durable options available. Being a natural material, every piece is unique and has its own grain, colours and character. It comes in a variety of colours that can match your kitchen nicely. And when you sell your house in future, having granite countertops will definitely impress potential buyers, thanks to its high-end image.
On the other hand, it has to be sealed properly or it may absorb food stains. If it is not installed properly, there is the risk of cracks. And, of course, it is expensive. If you have a large kitchen with a lot of tabletop space, be prepared to splurge.
Another elegant and beautiful choice though it is softer than granite. Marble instantly makes your kitchen look like a million dollars, even if you can’t cook to save your life! But thanks to its rather exorbitant price tag, marble isn’t commonly seen in the entire kitchen. To get a little of that luxe feel, use marble on an kitchen island instead. Just as well that you don’t blow your whole kitchen budget on it. Marble is a porous stone that stains easily, though there are new sealers in the market that help prevent that. Scratches can show up on it too, and it needs resealing. On the plus side, it’s heatproof, waterproof and of course, undeniably gorgeous.
3. Wood Countertops
For a warm, rustic look, nothing beats wood. You can choose from a wide range of colors and finishes, such as hardwoods like maple and oak. Wood countertops are easy to clean, smooth and can be easily sanded and resealed as necessary.
Unfortunately, that beautiful countertop can be damaged by water and stains over long-term use. Thus, scratches have to be oiled or sealed. Also, a nice wood top isn’t exactly cheap too.
A long-time fave, thanks to its affordability, laminates are easy to clean as they are made of plastic-coated sythetics and have a smooth surface. Laminates are resistant to scratches and the usual impact of regular use. Having a big range of designs to choose from, from solid colours to fancier patterns, also made this popular with home owners looking to customize their kitchen.
Laminates are easy to work with kitchen carpentry; it is easy to cut holes to size for sinks and hobs. Scratches and chip can happen and they are awfully obvious, with hardly any way to repair them.
5. Kompac Top
Made from wood composite, this stylish material looks like real wood, down to its woodgrain-like finishes. It is non-porous, stain- and heat-resistant.
Built to resist cracks and years of heavy cooking, it is very sturdy even though it looks slim. It also has a tongue and groove jointing technique to ensure it is watersealed. Installation is easy too. Kompac Top can be fitted directly on the counter carcass, or even over existing countertops.
6. Ceramic Tile
Ceramic Tiles are hardy and easy to clean, though the grout lines can get icky over time and heavy use. Because tiles are generally inexpensive, they make a good choice for the budget conscious. Being heat proof, you can even put hot pans on them. They also come in a great range of colours, textures and designs across different prices.
Cons include possible chips and cracks. And though tiles are generally affordable, if you pick custom designed imported ones, they can be costly too.
7. Engineered Quartz
Engineered Quartz is made of 93% quartz particles, which makes it look very natural. You also get a wider range of options compared to granite. Engineered Quartz comes in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns ranging from classic to contemporary, its nonporous surface is resistant to scratches, cracks and chips. It’s also easy to maintain – no need to do annual sealing which natural stones often need! It is also resistant to stains and thus easy to clean and maintain.
On the downside, quartz is rather expensive although not as bad as marble or granite. Thus, it has become a popular choice for homeowners who want a touch of class without spending too much.
8. Solid Surface
A very versatile material that is very popular, Solid Surface scores points for being totally customizable. It can be moulded into any 3D shape. This allows you to build a smooth, seamless counter that can even integrate a sink. One of its biggest attractions is its pretty affordable prices. In addition, this resilient man-made material is nonporous so dirt won’t be stuck in it. You still need to be careful with it as it can be scratched or burned by a hot pot. Solid Surface comes in a huge variety, ranging from solid colours, speckled designs and even translucent options. Backlight it and you’ll get a stunning effect. In case there’re scratches, they can be sanded out easily.
9. Stainless Steel
Nothing screams ‘industrial chic’ better than a Stainless Steel countertop. Its sleek, shiny look and neutral colour also goes well with other renovation materials and electrical appliances. Being heat resistant and durable, Stainless Steel – which is actually used in commercial kitchens – can hold up to some major cooking. And because they are customized according to your specifications, your countertop will look nice and seamless.
On the other hand, Stainless Steel can be expensive due to the fabrication costs. It’s also a noisy table top to work on. Although it does not rust, if you drop a pot too often, you’ll likely get a dent!