Auburn Custom Kitchens
Auburn Custom Kitchens
Custom Cabinets without the Custom Price
COUNTERTOPS 101
BACK
There are lots of options on the market for kitchen countertops. Our list of top picks gives the pros and cons of
the top 10 choices so that you can make an educated choice when you remodel your kitchen.

1. Granite Counters
Granite is the countertop material of choice when there are no other things to think about - like money. It defines
elegance in a kitchen. As the use of granite becomes more widespread, the price comes down. The beauty of the
stone contributes to the beauty of even the most modest kitchen.
Pros: Holds up to heat; comes in a range of almost 3000 colors; looks permanent and substantial; will last
         a lifetime; new sealers are almost maintenance-free; 2nd highest hardness rating after diamonds; has
         a high value to home buyers.
Cons: Expensive, but becoming more affordable; requires some maintenance; some stones absorbs stains
          if not sealed; knives can become dull if you cut on it; can crack if stressed or improperly installed and       
          grain can differ from samples, so it's best to choose at the stone yard.

2. Engineered Stone
Engineered stone is composed of 93% quartz particles. It is available in a larger range of colors than granite and
has a nonporous surface that resists scratches but can appear more uniform than natural. It's easy to maintain,
without the annual sealing required by natural stone. Some brands on the market include DuPont Zodiaq®, LG
Viatera®, Cambria Quartz, Silestone®, CaesarStone®, Hanstone and Technistone®.
  
Pros: Resistant to stain and acid; easy care.
  
Cons: Edges and corners can chip.  Rounded edges help.  Expensive.

3. Solid Surface
Because solid surface counters are just what they're called, solid, any scratches can be sanded out. The
countertops are custom-made to your specifications by companies such as Avonite, Corian, and Swanstone.
  
Pros: Comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns; seamless; stain resistant.
  
Cons: Vulnerable to hot pans and stains which can damage the surface; can be moderately expensive.

4. Ceramic or Porcelain Tile
Tile is durable and easy to clean. Add to that inexpensive and you've got a really good choice for countertops for
the average home. Because it's installed a section at a time, it can be done by most resourceful homeowners.
  
Pros: Takes hot pans; easy to clean; wide range of price, color, texture and design.
  
Cons: Counter surface is uneven; tiles can easily chip or crack; grout lines become stained and is prone to
             mildew, even when sealed and poor installation can increase those problems; custom-designed tiles
are                 very expensive.

5. Laminates
Laminate counters bear trademarks such as Formica, Nevamar, and Wilsonart. They're made of plastic-coated
synthetics with a smooth surface that's easy to clean. The pieces are cut to size and finished on the ends.
  
Pros: You can buy laminates in lots of colors; easy to maintain; durable; inexpensive.
  
Cons: Scratches and chips are almost impossible to repair; seans show; end finishing and front
             edge choices can be pricey.

6. Wood or Butcher Block
Wood countertops offer a beautiful warm look and are available in a wide range of colors and finishes. Hardwoods
such as maple and oak are most often used as countertop woods.
  
Pros: Easy to clean; smooth; can be sanded and resealed as needed.
  
Cons: Can be damaged by water and stains over time; scratches must be oiled or sealed according
             to manufacturer's instructions.

7. Stainless Steel Counters
For a really contemporary and industrial look for your kitchen, stainless steel is a good choice. They are heat
resistant and durable. Because they're constructed to your specifications, you can have a seamless countertop.
  
Pros: Takes hot pans; easy to clean.
  
Cons: Expensive; noisy; may dent; fabrication is expensive; you can't cut on it.

8. Soapstone Counters
Soapstone is generally dark gray in color and has a smooth feel. It is often seen in historic homes but is also used
in modern homes as both a countertop and sink material.
  
Pros: Rich, deep color; smooth feel; somewhat stain resistant.
  
Cons: Requires regular maintenance with applications of mineral oil; may crack and darken over time.

9. Marble
Because of it's extremely high price tag, marble is not often seen on the countertops of whole kitchens. To get the
luxurious look, use it on an island or inset at a baking center. Marble requires constant maintenance, as it easily
stains. Some new sealers retard staining.
  
Pros: Waterproof; heatproof; beautiful.
  
Cons: Expensive; porous; stains easily unless professionally sealed; can scratch; may need
             resealing periodically as per manufacturer..

10. Concrete Counters
If you have countertops in unusual shapes, concrete may be a good choice, as they're often cast right in your
kitchen. The high price tag may be beyond most people's budget.
  
Pros: Heat and scratch resistant; can be color-tinted; looks exotic and unusual; new treatments
             eliminate cracking; additives reduce porosity; new finishes are more decorative.
  
Cons: Mid to high range on cost due to custom work; cracking is possible; can look somewhat
             industrial; porous but can be sealed.
Top 10 Kitchen Countertops
Pros & Cons
Guide to Ratings:
Scale is from 1 (Lowest) - 5 (Highest)
Stains
shows reistance to 20 common foods and household products for kitchens; in baths it also
includes cosmetics and toiletries.  
Heat gauges how well materials resisted damage and discoloration from a pot filled with oil heated
to 400 F.  
Cutting reflects resistance to damage from weighted chef's and serrated knives used in slicing and
chopping motions.  
Abrasion is resistance to damage from a weighted sanding block.  
Impact reflects ability to withstand blunt and pointed weights dropped from up to 3 1/2 feet.  
Price is the typical range per square foot, including installation.
KITCHEN COUNTERTOP RATINGS
BATH COUNTERTOP RATINGS
Material
Price/sq ft
Stains
Heat
Abrasion
Impact
Tile (ceramic and porcelain)
$10-30
3
5
4
3
Laminate
$10-30
5
5
3
4
Butcher block (oil finish)
$30-65
2
4
2
1
Butcher block (varnished)
$30-65
5
1
1
1
Solid Surfacing
$35-100
4
4
2
4
Granite
$45-200
4
5
5
2
Quartz (engineered stone)
$50-100
4
5
5
2
Paper composite
$50-100
4
4
2
4
Marble
$50-140
3
2
1
1
Limestone
$60-100
2
5
2
1
Concrete (penetrating sealer)
$80-120
2
5
2
1
Concrete (topical sealer)
$80-120
5
2
3
1
Stainless steel
$100-150
4
5
2
1
Material
Price/sq ft
Stains
Heat
Abrasion
Impact
Tile (ceramic and porcelain)
$10-30
3
5
4
3
Laminate
$10-30
5
5
3
4
Solid Surfacing
$35-100
4
4
2
4
Granite
$45-200
4
5
5
2
Quartz (engineered stone)
$50-100
4
5
5
2
Marble
$50-140
3
2
1
1
Limestone
$60-100
2
5
2
1
Concrete (penetrating sealer)
$80-120
2
5
2
1
Concrete (topical sealer)
$80-120
4
2
3
1
Stainless steel
$100-150
4
5
2
1