How to Choose Your New Kitchen Countertops
Kitchen countertops are an option when you choose our budget-friendly kitchen makeover. There are subtle differences between kitchen countertop materials to consider before you decide which style is right for you.
Quartz, Granite, or Porcelain?
Beauty and extreme durability make quartz, quartzite, granite, and porcelain the most popular kitchen countertops among homeowners, and the only styles we install as part of a kitchen makeover project.
Ultimately, you should buy the one you like best, and then learn how to care for it properly. Maintenance is not difficult or expensive, no matter which product you choose.
Quartz countertops are a manufactured product. They are made by grinding up hard, natural, almost colorless quartz crystals.
Depending on the desired texture, the quartz is ground as fine as sand or as coarse as gravel. Next, the manufacturer mixes the ground quartz with a binder and other stone materials to create the desired color and pattern.
Then, they pour it into molds. Finally, it is baked hard and polished to a high gloss. Now, the material is ready to use in your new kitchen countertops.
Granite, on the other hand, represents natural stone taken straight from the Earth in large blocks. These blocks are cut and polished into slabs for countertops.
Granites come in a vast variety of colors and textures and each individual slab is unique. Unlike quartz, where manufacturers can control the amount of grain or texture and color in the slabs, granite slabs can be difficult to match and often have irregular, but highly interesting, patterns in them.
Besides varieties of granite and quartz, porcelain is fast becoming a popular choice in kitchens. Porcelain is an extremely durable and beautiful manufactured material. Once installed, it is strong, chip resistant and non-porous, which makes it virtually maintenance free.
Many of the current popular colors are bright, true whites or those patterned like expensive marble. Porcelain is better than marble in both price and durability with none of the maintenance marble requires.
Considering a Kitchen Makeover with Cincinnati Cabinet Refinishing?
We offer a turnkey solution for countertop installation. First, we'll send you off to one of our local slab yard partners. You'll want to see the full design of a slab and confirm your color choice.
It's very important to let the slab yard know you are working with us when you tell them your final selection. They do not sell direct to the public, and we receive discounted contractor pricing that we gladly pass on to you.
Our fabricator works with the slab yard, handles the complex measurements, demos your existing countertops, unhooks the plumbing, installs your new kitchen countertops, and reinstalls the plumbing.
Interested in a new sink and faucet as part of your kitchen makeover? Make your selections from Ferguson's at build.com and let us know what you've chosen. We will ensure the product you want is of good quality and will fit properly. Again, we pass our contractor discount on to you.
The Pros and Cons of Each Kitchen Countertop Material
Quartz will give you the bright whites trending these days. They also give you very consistent color patterns, with little deviation from one section of the countertop to the next, no matter what color you choose. Keep in mind that glue color matters, especially for white countertops when the glue isn't as white as the quartz itself.
Granite patterns are often darker, with one slab exhibiting many shades of color. These can range from browns, grays, and reds, to greens and blacks. Granite slabs formed over eons when quartz and other minerals cooled and pressed together under the Earth. These minerals like Olivine, Feldspar, Mica, and Garnet give each granite deposit its own unique look. Because they contain so many minerals, granite slabs will never have the crisp white look that you can get with quartz countertops.
Porcelain slabs can be made in any color and pattern. The most popular patterns copy natural marble and stone with bright, light base colors. Others repeat geometric or other stylish patterns.
Quartz countertop manufacturers control the color palette and texture, thereby producing consistency.
Granite countertops have the unique swirls and patterns that many homeowners love. But you won't be able to match those cool swirls in multiple sheets of granite installed in your kitchen.
Porcelain is manufactured with an endless variety of patterns and textures.
Durability of Your Countertop Installation
Quartz and granite are extremely durable, hard materials, but they can chip or crack if hit by items like heavy pans or glass bowls. Once cracked or chipped, it is difficult, but not impossible, to repair them. However, a good fabricator can fill the chips or cracks and make them less noticeable.
Porcelain can also chip, but it is difficult to do much damage. Because the color of porcelain is on its surface, chips will be more noticeable–you will see the inside gray or white color rather than the surface color. Granite and quartz are the same color throughout the depth of the slab, so chips here will be less noticeable.
Which are Heat Resistant Kitchen Countertops?
Do not place hot items on quartz countertops. The resins that bind the quartz material together can become discolored or damaged.
In theory, you can place hot pans and dishes directly on your granite countertops without worry of damage. However, these are natural stone products, and you should protect them from extreme heat and cold as much as possible.
Porcelain countertops are extremely durable and can handle hot items placed directly on their surface without concern of damage.
Can I Use my Countertop as a Cutting Board?
NEVER cut directly on your porcelain, quartz, or granite countertops.
Quartz is a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means it is extremely hard. This does not mean it cannot be scratched, it is just hard to scratch it. Granites fall somewhere in the 6 -7 range.
Porcelain is scratched with ceramic knives easily so these should never be used directly on your countertop.
Another major problem with cutting directly on your quartz, granite, or porcelain countertop is that you will ruin the cutting edge of your knife. The metal edge sliding along the hard quartz means the blade will dull and chip quickly. Save your knives, your fingers, and your countertops by investing in a quality cutting board!
Kitchen Countertop Maintenance
Both quartz and granite are very durable, yet they can stain if products like red wine or olive oil are left on their surfaces for too long. Always clean up spills promptly.
Quartz countertops need to be resealed at least every 10 years, preferably more often. This is because they are made of a consistently non-porous material.
Granite, because it is a mixture of different types of stone, may have both porous and non-porous materials. You only need to seal granite every 10 years if the proper sealer is used. Our fabricator uses a quality, lasting sealing product.
Porcelain is a non-porous material so you will not need to reseal it.
NEVER clean your porcelain, quartz, or granite countertops with abrasive products. Use mild soap and water or other cleaners recommended by your countertop installation team.
Seams will be visible in any porcelain, granite, or quartz product. Our installation crew plans for this by putting seams in less conspicuous places in your kitchen whenever possible.
People often say that seams appear less noticeable on granite countertops. But that's not because the seams are smaller or less visible; it's because there is often more “movement” happening in the countertop pattern that distracts the eye away from the seam.
Most porcelain countertop patterns are designed to make seams less visible or to “break” at natural points along the material.
Choosing a New Kitchen Sink and Faucet for your Kitchen Makeover
Both granite and quartz are perfect for undermount, drop in, and farmhouse sinks. Both quartz and granite material sinks are available to coordinate with your countertop colors.
Having a good quality, durable sink is important. They are one of the most used areas in a kitchen, so don’t skimp in this area. We can help you choose the best sink to match your unique needs.
Like your sink, a quality faucet is sure to be noticed and appreciated. At Cincinnati Cabinet Refinishing, we only recommend quality products with stainless steel fittings–no plastic parts.
Faucets can make a statement and even become a centerpiece accent in your kitchen. Go to Build.com to look at the quality faucets we use in our kitchen makeover projects. You will find exactly what you like and the quality you deserve.
Kitchen Countertop Pricing is Almost All About Patterns
So, now for the bottom line... price. We know this is an important factor when deciding which kitchen countertop is best for you.
At the base level, granite countertops will be less expensive than quartz (because of quartz's time-consuming manufacturing process).
As you start to move up to fancier or more uniquely patterned granite, you can quickly exceed the price of even the most expensive quartz. Remember, quartz is manufactured and easily replicated. But colors, textures, and patterns of granite are unique - no two slabs are alike.
Porcelain comes in a range of prices depending on the complexity of the pattern but is typically around the price of mid-range quartz or granite.
Kitchen Countertops Overall Comparison
You just learned a lot about quartz, granite, and porcelain and the options for your kitchen. It can seem overwhelming. Most of the differences in kitchen countertop products come down to the look and feel you want in the space.
All are durable, beautiful, and affordable. Before you set your mind on one, look at these products in a showroom kitchen to get a feel for how they present in an entire room. Remember, a bright, simple patterned quartz countertop will open up a room, where a complex patterned granite on your island will become a focal point. It’s all about how you envision your dream kitchen.
Here is a quick summary of the three countertop materials.
- Midrange material quartz is less expensive than granite.
- Light, bright colors available–including the whitest white.
- Very consistent textures and patterns.
- Hard and durable.
- Don't put hot items on a Quartz countertop surface.
- Low maintenance. Reseal every ten years when you use the right sealer product and take good care of your countertops.
- Price varies from budget-friendly to more expensive, depending on the complexity of the pattern.
- You won't find a bright white in granite.
- More texture and color variety in each unique slab.
- Hard and durable.
- Use caution when putting hot or cold items directly on a granite countertop surface.
- Low maintenance. Seal every 10 years with a quality sealer.
- Pricing is comparable to mid-range quartz and granite, depending on the pattern you choose.
- Light, bright colors available, including very white.
- Because it is manufactured, the pattern and color choices are endless.
- Very consistent texture and patterns, often with the look of marble.
- Hard, durable, and pretty tough to damage. Note, however, that colors and patterns are only surface-deep, so if it does chip, you will see the interior white or gray.
- Maintenance-free. No sealing needed.
It's Hard to Like Your Kitchen if You Don't Like the Kitchen Countertops
Cabinet painting or refacing alone does wonders for the style and mood in your kitchen. Installing new kitchen countertops takes it to that next level of joy. Imagine prepping food on durable quality counter surfaces, or showcasing your personal decor on the exquisite designs of quartz, granite, or porcelain.
Get in touch to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to talk about your vision for an affordable kitchen makeover that includes cabinet refinishing, a dressed-up island by our talented carpenter, a new backsplash, custom cabinet trim and molding, and gorgeous kitchen countertops.
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