The key to choosing a countertop material that is right for you is to assess the way you live. The needs of a family with young children who want to learn to cook would completely differ from an empty nester couple that eats out three nights a week. The materials appearance, durability, maintenance, and, naturally, cost, will all play a role in your choice.
Do you like the warmth that wood counters bring to a room, the modern feel of stainless steel, or do you want to make a color statement with quartz, an exotic marble, or a solid surface material? Perhaps a timeless look and feel are more to your taste. Do you like a glossy or matte finish to your countertop? What type of edge do you like on your countertop? Buyer’s remorse on countertops can be very costly to get over, so be sure to choose a look that will make you happy for many years to come.
Durability & Maintenance
If you have several cooks in the family, teenagers that snack every day, or you run a catering business out of your home, your need for durability and low maintenance would be much higher than someone who warms up pre-prepared meals regularly. How much cutting and chopping do you do? Do your kids do their homework on the kitchen island? Do you eat at restaurants often and no longer host Thanksgiving dinner? Kitchens with lower use can withstand a softer material that might need re-sealing from time to time. Cooks that are heavy hitters will need a surface where they can place a hot pan without a trivet and spill olive oil without staining the counter.
The budget is a real concern for many projects. The good news is, there are attractive options, no matter your budget. Laminate counters are the least expensive option and have come so far aesthetically, that they can mimic granite, quartz, and other materials. Stone product pricing varies widely based on if they are native to the area or shipped in from a distance.
Communication with the store providing your countertop is vital in keeping the price reasonable. Be clear about your budget. Have them show you materials in your price range to avoid falling in love with a material that is unaffordable. Ask about the thickness of the countertop, the price differential based on the edge profile you choose, and lastly, make sure to ask about the cost to install the product. The labor portion of the expense shouldn’t be a surprise after you have finalized your material choice.