The kitchen is both among the most popular and the most frequently remodeled rooms in the home. And while the cabinets, flooring, and appliances are all major aspects of a kitchen renovation project, changing a kitchen's countertops is one of the most important factors in making it look new again.
The Importance of Kitchen Counter Tops
Given the wide array of materials available on today's market, selecting the right countertop material for your kitchen can be a challenging task. One has to think not only of matching colors and style to the rest of the kitchen but also of how a material will align with one's lifestyle.
The homeowner may need an expert to help him/her navigate the pros and cons of each material. For those with a little entrepreneurial initiative, however, this "dilemma" of choosing the right countertop becomes an opportunity. There are many kitchen remodeling opportunities that will allow you to meet the needs of a multitude of homeowners. And kitchen remodeling franchises are often successful just because the demand is always high and because most homeowners would rather trust an expert than attempt a "DIY job."
Six Popular Kitchen Counter Top Materials
Here are some of the most popular countertop materials and a quick look at their strengths and weaknesses:
Granite is currently (and has long been) the most popular kitchen countertop material, despite its relatively high investment requirement. It comes it two finishes: polished and honed. Polished is glossier, while honed has a soft, matte finish. Both are highly durable, have a high heat tolerance, and do not easily chip, crack, or scratch. Maintenance is somewhat high, but granite's natural beauty makes up for it.
2. Engineered Quartz
Quartz can be engineered to be as resistant as granite to chips, scratches, and heat, besides better-resisting acids and general staining (due to a non-porous surface). Nor does it need to be sealed and re-sealed like granite and other stone materials. It costs around the same as granite and is nearly as popular.
3. Wood and Laminate
The quaint, cozy look of natural wood gives it wide appeal as a kitchen countertop option, but wood is also popular for its usefulness as a food preparation surface. Wood is also heat-resistant, which lets you lay down still-hot pots/pans on it without even needing a hot pad.
Laminate mimics the look of natural wood and costs much less. It can be damaged by heat, however, if you aren't careful. Today, laminates are coming out that resemble stone as well, and the laminate is on the upsurge in its market share.
For a broken, patterned look, tile is the way to go, and it is also relatively inexpensive (depending on the specific tile material/brand). Tile is fairly easy to maintain, though it can eventually require re-grouting and/or resurface. But the mosaic and other patterns you can create with tile can't be duplicated by other materials.
5. Stainless Steel
A virtual necessity in professional kitchens, stainless steel is making its way into the home kitchen these days. It is shiny and stylish, durable, easy to clean, and very sanitary as a food prep surface due to its anti-bacterial nature.
6. Recycled Glass
If you are conscientious about the environment and want a "modern," classy look, a recycled glass countertop is a prime choice. Glass is stain resistant and easy to clean, and if you get glass that is at least an inch thick and well tempered, it is not likely to break.
Assessing Your Counter Top Options
We haven't covered it all: there are other options like concrete and soapstone, for example. But we hope we have gotten you thinking the right way about how to choose your next kitchen counter top — considering durability, maintenance intensity, and functionality along with style and price tag.
You also need to find a reliable countertop supplier and look for a source of high-quality, unique materials with which you will not be disappointed. On the flip side, if you are looking for kitchen remodeling franchise opportunities, be sure to connect with a known, trusted brand that will give your business a big head start.