While we were doing renovations in our kitchen I did an extensive amount of research to come up with the best material to use for our countertop in the kitchen (read here to find out what that was). Here are some options I considered and the pros and cons that I have encountered along the way of each one.
-Since it’s not fully natural, Quartz is one of the strongest materials available on the planet.
-Quartz is extremely durable.
-Non-porous so it won’t stain and bacteria will not get inside the stone.
-Also, since it is non porous, it does not need to be sealed.
-It is very easy to clean and requires no maintenance. Mostly because it is non porous and hence when something spills, all you need to do it wipe it down with a cloth or paper towel and it’s like brand new!
-It’s not natural. Yes, it’s called natural Quartz, but it’s actually fabricated using quartz crystals and bonded/mixed with resin to create a solid and durable material. It’s still natural mostly (about 95%), but not as natural as granite for example.
-100% natural stone.
-Still very strong and very durable to heat and knives/sharp objects.
-One-of-a-kind. Since the rock is natural, it comes in different patterns and colors. It is nearly impossible to find an identical slab of granite.
-One-of-a-kind. I included this one here too, as there are two sides of this characteristic. Some might like the uniqueness of it, but others might not. Also, this means that most likely you will not get the same exact counter as the one you saw in the showroom.
-It’s a porous material. This means that if you spill something (wine for example), it can stain the counter. Also, bacteria, germs, mold etc. can potentially seep through and abide in the material. To prevent this, you have to seal the counters when they are installed, and then every year they need to be re-sealed.
-Gorgeous! The unique pattern of the NATURAL stone offers an elegant and timeless look.
-Lower side of the cost spectrum. Although there are some types of marble that are actually quite pricy, for the most part, marble is low in cost.
-Durable to heat.
-Scratching. The soft material is very prone to scratches and also etching. Anything acidic, like lemons, can etch the material. Small spots can often be polished out, but otherwise nearly impossible to fix. Sealing yearly can help prevent this a little.
-Staining. Since marble is porous, it stains very easily. Again, can be prevented by sealing.
-Chipping. Edges can easily be chipped by pots/pans.
*SIDE NOTE: Would not recommend these for the kitchen! We had these at my parent’s house, beautiful, but a complete nightmare in the kitchen! After a few years, they were scratched, etched and no amount of cleaning could make them look new again. The lower cost is not worth it, as you will want to replace them very soon. I’d recommend spending a little more on a quartz countertop and having it fabricated to a marble look if that is what you are after. IF YOU MUST GET THEM, look for a more expensive marble, or use it in places that are not vulnerable to food and spills (anything acidic really) and even cleaning supplies. The backsplash for example.
-Available in many different colors and patterns.
-Non-porous, so it is stain resistant and also germs, bacterial, mold etc. will not get inside. Also, it does not need to be re-sealed.
-Not natural. Corian is man-made material.
-Generally has an artificial look to it.
-Scratching. It is not a hard material, and is prone to scratches that for the most part is permanent. You cannot polish it out because it is a man-made material.
-Not heat resistant. Can crack or be damaged with contact of high temperatures.
-Costly when taking into account the disadvantages of it.
-Low cost. Probably the least expensive material you can put in your kitchen, so it’s a great option if you’re on a tight budget!
-Easy to install. Can even be done by yourself, another plus for someone who is on a budget!
-Large variety of styles. Can be fabricated in a large variety of colors, patterns and finishes. I’ve even seen some that look nearly identical to marble!
-Not heat resistant. Anything hot can burn through or damage the material.
-Scratching. Prone to scratches left by knives and other sharp objects, it is in most cases not repairable.
-Fading. The patterns and colors will fade with time.
6. Butcher Block
-Looks nice and adds a rustic/cozy look and feel to a kitchen.
-Can add warmth to a modern cold looking kitchen. I have really been loving the look of this in the modern kitchens! Especially when used on the island, or with white cabinets.
– High maintenance. Needs to be sealed, sanded and re-oiled often.
-Scratching. Knives and sharp objects can leave cuts in the counter.
-Not water resistant. Spills can greatly damage countertop.
-Very durable. Much like concrete, the material is heat resistant and also scratch-proof.
-You can add any color you would like when creating the counter. Pigment it to any shade!
-Staining. Concrete is porous and can stain very easily. Especially if not sealed frequently.
-Needs to be sealed and resealed very often.
-Cracking. Concrete can develop small cracks with time.
*SIDE NOTE: Do your research before trying to DYI this! Although it is a popular project for the DIYers out there, it is very messy and difficult to do. Also, since the material is very heavy, you need very sturdy and strong support underneath, and this can get expensive. Do not be deceived into thinking that this is a cheap and budgety option.