Installing a new countertop can make a hefty improvement in the life of your kitchen.
But where do you start?
A countertop that is durable and matches your sense of style can bring you one step closer to having the perfect kitchen.
Photo credit Paul Kuehnel
When choosing a new countertop, you’ll want to make some careful considerations:
- Durability: Does it scratch easily? Will it dull or wear over time?
- Maintenance: Does is need yearly polishing? Should you avoid certain chemical cleansers? Will it stain?
- Practicality: Can you place hot pans or frozen items on the countertop? Can it withstand extra weight?
These four products are some of the most durable, exquisite and popular materials available today.
Armed with this knowledge, you can be one step closer to creating the kitchen of your dreams.
It’s known as the hardest surface available for countertop use. It looks natural, with veins of different colors and textures available.
Attributes: Durable, you can put hot dishes from the oven right on top of it, and it is scratch resistant. Granite can stain easily if not sealed correctly.
Maintenance: You need to seal it once a year to hold the polished finish.
From the expert: “Since it is harvested internationally, it can add an exotic touch to your kitchen,” said Jack LaCesa, president of Rojahn Custom Cabinets in Dallastown.
Generally the most affordable, quartz countertops are made by many companies with several varieties to choose from. Its texture is consistent because of the compression used in the production process, creating a smooth, tailored look
Attributes: Heat, scratch and stain resistant; since it’s man-made, there are many color combinations to choose from and some specialty lines with semi-precious stones in them.
Maintenance: It never needs to be sealed.
From the expert: CaesarStone, one of the top brands, comes with a lifetime warranty, said Carmine Pantano, of Frank’s Granite & Marble in Red Lion.
Known as a more luxurious choice, marble is made from limestone that is treated to heat and pressure, said Mark Clayborne of Atlantic Custom Granite in Yoe.
Attributes: The treatment brings out the patterns in the stone and hardens it for extended use. Marble can add a classy touch to a kitchen, lending a European flair to the space.
Maintenance: This surface can dull and possibly scratch over time.
From the expert: “It should be used in the kitchens that see less intensive food preparation,” Clayborne said.
Green products are rapidly coming to the forefront of consumer products, and countertops are no different. “IceStone is made with 100 percent recycled glass,” Pantano said.
The glass is mixed into cement to create a recyclable concrete surface.
IceStone is manufactured, Pantano said, “by an environmentally friendly manufacturing process in a day-lit factory in New York.”
Attributes: IceStone countertops are strong like granite, not as porous as marble and heat-resistant like stone.
Maintenance: Manufacturers recommend that residential owners seal and wax the surface every two to five years.
From the expert: “It’s the first and only Cradle to Cradle certified surface,” Pantano said, which is defined by environmentally intelligent design and composition of materials.
Our “Smart” experts:
- Jack LaCesa, president, Rojahn Custom Cabinets
Visit: 33 W. Maple St., Dallastown; or at www.rojahnkitchens.com
- Carmine Pantano, Frank’s Marble and Granite
Visit: 125 Householder Ave., Red Lion; or at www.franksgranite.com.
- Mark Clayborne, owner, Atlantic Custom Granite and Marble
Visit: 165 S. Orchard St., Yoe; or www.atlanticcustomgranite.com