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Pros and Cons of Counter Materials

What You Should Consider

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A counter is a very important feature in any property. It can change the aesthetics of a room and can even help increase the value of a property. Choosing the wrong countertop can have the adverse effect and turn away potential buyers and tenants. Since a countertop can have such a major impact on a property, it is vital to choose the right one. Here are some popular counter materials along with their pros, cons and best places to use them.

Benefits of Updating Countertops

  • Transform a Space- A countertop update is one of those additions that can truly revive a space.

  • Potential to Increase Property Value- Choosing a higher end counter material, such as granite or quartz, can help increase the value of your property.

  • Less Maintenance/More Durability- Choosing the right countertop material for the function of the space can help cut down on maintenance.

Pros and Cons of Counter Materials

  • Granite

    Granite is a very hard stone and is therefore a popular countertop choice.

    Pros:
    • While granite is pricey, you can find more affordable options because granite is available in a multitude of price points.
    • Many colors and patterns available and each stone is unique.
    • Granite is a very hard so it is less likely to chip or crack.
    • Good resistance to heat.
    • Good resistance to stains when sealed.
    • Good resistance to scratching.
    • Resistant to mold and mildew.
    Cons:
    • Must seal it every six months to a year to prevent staining.
    • If you have to put two pieces of granite together, seams are usually visible.
    • Can be expensive.
    • Can crack if too much weight or stress is put on it.
    Best for: Kitchens, Bathrooms, Bar

  • Marble

    Marble is a natural stone, but it is much softer than granite.

    Pros:
    • Elegant, timeless look.
    • Surface remains cool, great for baking and pastry making.
    • Resistant to water.
    • Resistant to heat.
    Cons:
    • Expensive.
    • Porous- Can stain easily. There are sealers on the market which claim to eliminate the staining.
    • Etching- This is a chemical reaction when acid comes into contact with the stone, leaving a permanent mark.
    • Polished marble scratches easily.
    • Softer stone, so it is more prone to chipping.
    Best for: Bathroom, Kitchens if owner is ok with natural patina that develops from staining and etching.

  • Concrete

    Pros:
    • Can be custom set to fit irregular size countertops.
    • Available in custom colors and several finishes.
    • Resistant to heat.
    Cons:
    • Expensive.
    • Heavy- Thick slabs could put a strain on cabinets.
    • Requires Maintenance- Must be sealed and waxed several times a year to avoid staining.
    • Can etch.
    • Can warp due to abrupt changes in temperature..
    • Can still be susceptible to cracking even though new technology claims to eliminate cracking.
    Best for: Kitchens, Bar

  • Stainless Steel

    Pros:
    • Heat resistant.
    • Mold and mildew resistant.
    • Does not harbor bacteria like salmonella.
    • Can be repaired.
    • Easy to clean.
    Cons:
    • Can look industrial and cold.
    • Scratches easily.
    • Dents if it is not thick enough.
    • Expensive.
    Best for: Kitchens, Bar.

  • Butcher Block

    Pros:
    • Many different wood types and stains available.
    • Warms up a space.
    • Can be affordable.
    • Easy to clean.
    • Can be refinished.
    Cons:
    • Scratches.
    • Needs to be oiled frequently.
    • Can be susceptible to water damage if not properly sealed.
    • Harbors bacteria.
    • Not resistant to heat.
    Best for: Kitchens

  • Ceramic Tile

    Pros:
    • Affordable.
    • Durable.
    • Heat and stain resistant.
    • Tiles are easy to clean.
    Cons:
    • Does not have a high-end look.
    • It is easy to stain the grout between the tiles if you spill something.
    • Tiles can pop up.
    • Uneven countertop if not installed correctly.
    Best for: Kitchens, Bathrooms, Bar

  • Laminate

    Laminate is a manufactured plastic material. Formica and Wilsonart are two major laminate manufacturers.

    Pros:
    • Affordable.
    • Comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
    • Easy to clean.
    Cons:
    • Not heat resistant.
    • Can scratch easily.
    • Seams are very apparent.
    Best for: Kitchens, Bathrooms

  • Engineered Stone

    Is a mix of stone aggregates, often quartz, resin and pigments. Because it is man-made, it tends to be tougher than natural stone. Cambria and Silestone are well-known manufacturers.

    Pros:
    • Comes in endless colors.
    • Stain Resistant.
    • Scratch Resistant.
    • Heat Resistant.
    • Does not harbor bacteria.
    • Resistant to mold and mildew.
    • Easy to Clean.
    Cons:
    • Expensive.
    • Can have a manufactured look unlike the beauty of real stone.
    Best for: Kitchens, Bathrooms, Bar

  • Solid Surfaces

    Solid surfaces are a mix of acrylic and materials derived from stone. Dupont Corian is a popular manufacturer.

    Pros:
    • Good resistance to staining.
    • Mold and mildew resistant.
    • Can refinish.
    • Easy to clean.
    • Many colors available.
    • Seams are not easily detectible.
    • It is sustainable material.
    Cons:
    • Can scratch- but scratches can be buffed out.
    • Can be susceptible to heat.
    • Can look manufactured.
    • Can be expensive.
    Best for: Kitchen, Bath, Bar
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