For most North Virginia homes, the kitchen is the heart of the home. No matter how great your living and dining areas are, when guests come over, somehow they all end up in the kitchen! When remodeling or building your dream kitchen, one of the most noticeable aspects beyond your cabinets will be your countertop. While matching these to your décor and overall look will be a factor, most people want kitchen countertops that will still look good years from now, even though they are used everyday. Three materials give both the look and the durability that most people are looking for: quartz, granite and tile.
Gain Durable Beauty with Quartz
Quartz is quickly becoming one of the most popular materials for kitchen countertops. This durable, versatile stone can withstand heavy use and will maintain its beauty with very little maintenance. Although not quite as expensive as its rival, granite, there is not too much difference in price between the two.
Quartz countertops are made of about 93% quartz and the rest is resin. The resin acts as a binding agent to hold the stone together. Once these two elements are hardened and polished, they make a beautifully hard substance. The result is a smooth, non-porous surface that is perfect for kitchen countertops. There are several reasons people choose quartz over other materials.
- Durability. Quartz stands up to most punishment families can dole out: scratching, staining, heat and even knife cuts won’t phase this surface.
- Nonporous. Being naturally waterproof and non-porous makes this a perfect surface around sinks and in areas like the kitchen where spills are bound to happen.
- Low Maintenance. Quartz does not need to be sealed (unlike granite and marble) and cleans easily.
- Variety. Quartz can come in a large selection of colors and patterns.
The only drawbacks to quartz would be that it does not resist impact as well as granite and it is certainly not the least expensive material out there. But beyond those two things, quartz makes an ideal kitchen countertop surface.
The Natural Elegance of Granite
When you see Washington DC lifestyle magazines depicting beautiful kitchens, most of the countertops will be made of granite. This natural stone is beautiful and durable, but beyond that, it is unique. Since every slab is made naturally, just like snowflakes, no two will ever be exactly the same.
Granite kitchen countertops are made from large slabs of granite that are taken from quarries and cut and shaped. Although porous, once the tops are polished and sealed, water and other liquids will bead up on the surface for quick and easy cleanup. There are many benefits to granite, making it one of the most, if not the most popular choices in counters.
- Durability. Like quartz, granite will withstand cuts, scratches and heat. It is also less likely to chip and is more resistant to impact than quartz.
- Uniqueness. For those who want something that is truly like no one else’s, granite countertops are an excellent choice.
- Easy cleaning. Once sealed, the tops are easily cleaned with a pH neutral granite cleaner. Note: Harsh ingredients like ammonia and bleach should never be used on granite. Any cleaner with citrus ingredients should also be avoided as they can damage the finish.
- Beautiful. Granite is a beautiful material that dazzles when the sun hits it. It can come in a large variety of colors to match any décor.
Although granite is near the top of the price range in countertop materials, the price of granite has come down significantly in recent years, making it much more affordable.
Tile Adds Creative Flair
While tile may not be able to claim that it came directly from a quarry, it still can make absolutely beautiful countertops with a much different appeal. With so many choices of styles and colors, it is one of the most versatile materials for those who want a creative yet durable countertop.
Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are man made and have been around for centuries. They can be cut into many different sizes and shapes and even imprinted with patterns. Although they are durable, it they do break, they are easily and inexpensively replaced. Some other reasons people choose tile for their kitchen countertops:
- Durability. While they may not stand up as well or as long as granite, they are durable and resist scratching and heat.
- Versatility. Probably one of the greatest things about tile is how creatively they can be designed. The tiles themselves can come with designs or can be laid into patterns as well. The only limit is your imagination.
- Economical. Tile has durability and beauty, yet it can be less expensive than granite or quartz.
While tile can break and scratch when put to the test, it is non-porous, however the grout around it is not and needs to be sealed regularly to protect it from staining.
All three of these kitchen countertop materials can make beautiful additions to any North Virginia kitchen. They each have their own beauty and will last for many years, and in some cases, even decades and beyond.