Kitchen Design Options - Choose Your Countertop Material

Your kitchen design project is getting underway. You've got choices when it comes to countertops. Think about your budget and your tastes - then pick the countertop material that's best for you.

Granite

Polished granite is a favorite among homeowners. It's durable and good-looking with a sophisticated style, if that's what you want in your kitchen design. Granite is a natural material, so there's tremendous variety in the patterns. For some homeowners, this one-of-a-kind look is part of granite's appeal.

To clean granite, use dish detergent and warm water. Rinse away any soap, and then dry so water stains don't form. Steer clear of harsh cleaners like ammonia, bleach, or any kind of abrasive cleaner. If you want to disinfect your tops, mix up a solution of water and 91% isopropyl alcohol. Clean the area, then rinse with water and dry.

Quartz

Quartz is close to granite in popularity with a variety of color and patterns. Quartz is non-porous, so it doesn't have to be sealed. It resists stains, acids, scratches, heat, and impact. While quartz is heat resistant, it is not heat proof, so be sure to place a potholder under a hot pot before you set it on the counter. Quartz and granite are similar in cost.

To clean quartz, all you need is a damp cloth or damp paper towel and mild soap. Avoid using bleach or any kind of abrasive cleaners on quartz.

Laminate

If you are looking for a more budget-minded choice in countertops, laminates are a good pick. They also come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. There are even color patterns in the laminates that look like the natural stone or quartz tops.

To clean laminate, use warm water and dish soap. You can also use white vinegar to clean laminate. Wipe dry after cleaning, so no water seeps into the seams. For stubborn spills, make a paste of white vinegar and baking soda and use that as your cleaner.

Marble

Marble, like granite and quartz, is both elegantly beautiful and durable. It wears well and hides stains. Marble is porous (more porous than granite), so you have to be careful about staining. Some people consider marble to be a better choice for use in the bathroom than the kitchen.

To clean marble, wash with a mild detergent and warm water. Wipe off the soapy water with a clean cloth and then dry the surface. Don't use harsh cleaners or even vinegar on marble.

Solid-Surface

Solid-surface countertops are man-made acrylics, composed of minerals, resins, and pigments. They are a pleasing alternative to stones and you can find them sold under several different brand names. This non-porous, seamless material is low maintenance and durable. If scuffs or marks occur, you can buff or sand out the marking. Solid-surface countertops are resistant to heat, light, stains, and moisture. The cost for solid-surface tops usually falls between the stones and laminates.

To clean, use a mild detergent and warm water. Dry completely because water leaves a film on solid surfaces. For stubborn spills, you can use cleaning products with ammonia or bleach.