Pros, cons of materials, from granite to laminates
IF you’re remodelling or designing a kitchen from scratch, you can be sure counters will eat up a healthy chunk of your budget.
There are many options, with varying price points, in the marketplace. Some are shiny, heavy and pricey, including colourful granite, while soapstone and concrete create a subdued impression that’s more country than urban glam. There are fragile performers and the almost indestructible laminates that should be the solution for busy families where knives nick and tear.
Often, you can end up with a combination of surfaces in one kitchen, meaning it’s important to know what best suits your lifestyle and budget. We spoke to kitchen-design companies to understand the pros and cons of various surfaces.
Here’s what we found: Some warn the counter may crack if a hot object is placed near a weakened area or hidden fissure, or if the counter has not been installed properly.
A wet cloth cleans this surface easily. It has the second-highest hardness rating after diamonds.
Requires some maintenance, including a sealer. Some stone absorbs stains if not sealed, and knives can become dull if you cut on it.
$55 to $200 a square foot, installed.
Granite is the top material of choice if budget is not an issue. Left: adding a different texture, such as this wood table surface next to a stone counter, adds interest
and depth to a kitchen.