Remodeling your kitchen? How do you decide between granite, butcher block, and laminate? Find out about the pros and cons of each at DYM Builders Group.
If you’re thinking of remodeling your kitchen, you’ve likely thought of one of the most important parts: the countertops. These are high-traffic areas that are subject to heat, water, food, and knives on a constant basis. So it’s important to know which type is right for you.
But nowadays, it seems there are more countertop materials than there are letters of the alphabet — and they all come at various price points. But how do you know what the best option for your budget and needs is? Don’t worry, DYM Builders has the information you need to choose what kind of material best suits your needs. Remember, a professional contractor such as DYM Builders can always help you make these choices, source your materials, and install your brand new countertops.
Average Cost: $15-$140 per square foot
Best For: Avid cooks who want a classic look
Biggest drawback: Price
Granite has been popular for years now, and for good reason.
It comes in a variety of colors and styles and is very durable when properly sealed. The material is also heat and knife-resistant, meaning you can cut an apple or place a fresh-out-the-oven pan on it without worry. Prices can vary depending on the exact makeup of your granite — which often includes other minerals and sometimes semi precious stones.
Average Cost: $15 – $190 per square foot
Best For: Upscale looks and a cool surface
Biggest Drawback: Price and extensive upkeep
Marble countertops sound fancy because they are. They come in a variety of colors, but white marble countertops with gorgeous gray veins are undoubtedly the most popular. Bakers tend to like marble countertops for making pastry because they naturally keep cool. However, because marble is a softer and more porous material than others like granite, it is easily scratched and stained. So although pricey, they might not be the best choice for somebody who uses their kitchen for home cooking a ton.
Average Cost: $15-$70 per square foot
Best For: An inexpensive alternative to laminate for those who want the look of stone
Biggest Drawback: Edges and corners can chip
Quartz countertops mimic the look of more expensive stone like marble and granite, but are much more affordable. This is because most quartz countertops are only about 93% quartz, with the other 7% made up of resin and other materials. They are especially heat, stain, and cut-resistant, so they are great for chefs who can’t be bothered to find a cutting board. Plus, they come in a variety of colors and looks, so you’re guaranteed to find one you like. And no sealing is required. To be honest, you’ve probably seen quartz countertops in other homes and thought they were granite or marble. The downsides are that the corners can chip, and they are generally very heavy.
Average Cost: $10-$35 per square foot
Best For: A country-chic look
Biggest drawback: Required routine maintenance
Butcher block countertops are essentially wooden counters which come in a variety of types, colors, and finishes. These can look super cool in a farmhouse-style kitchen, or against cabinets painted with a bold color like cerulean or forest green. However, wood is not resistant to cut marks, but because these countertops are made from real wood, nicks and cuts can be sanded out. Additionally, if the wood is not finished it can stain easily. Those who do not want continuous upkeep might not like butcher block counters.
Average Cost: $1-$28 per square foot
Best For: DIYers on a budget
Biggest drawback: Grout can be hard to clean
Tile countertops toe a thin line between “retro-chic” and “outdated.” But when done right, tile countertops are not only gorgeous, but also super affordable and customizable. You can create multi-color looks, or use patterned tiles to create a funky feel. It’s also easy for DIYers to install themselves — often rare for countertops. Unfortunately, because they utilize grout, they can be hard to clean. Plus, tiles can crack easily if they’re exposed to high impact from knives or pots and pans.
Average Cost: $13 – $30 per square foot
Best For: The budget-minded designer who wants an upscale look
Biggest drawback: Damages easily
Solid-surface countertops basically mean anything that’s not a natural material and not laminate. It may sound weird, but these materials are actually the best of both worlds: good-looking and inexpensive. Lately, they’ve been gaining popularity due to their wide range of looks which can complement any kitchen. Plus, you can use solid-surface in your sink and backsplash as well to create a cohesive look. While they don’t stain easily, they are not resistant to knives.
Average Cost: $8-$27 per square foot
Best For: DIY cooks on a budget who want the convenience of prefabrication
Biggest Drawback: Seams are often visible
We know what you’re thinking… didn’t laminate countertops go out in the ’90s? Well, they’re coming back due to their low costs and new looks. Many new laminate materials — which are made out of plastic — mimic the look of wood, fiber, or stone. Plus, completely solid-color countertops have a chic feel that can complete any modern kitchen. DIYers will also enjoy that they can get this material premade to install without having to provide their kitchen’s specifications. However, these materials are weak to knives and can look cheap if installed incorrectly.
Average Cost: $60-$100 per square foot
Best For: Modern cooks who hate to clean
Biggest Drawbacks: Can easily scratch
Sure, stainless steel is a must-have in any modern kitchen in terms of appliances, but have you considered it for your countertops? Stainless steel appliances must be made custom to perfectly fit your kitchen, so you can design your own plan. That means you can have seamless countertops. They’re also simple to clean, as long as you know how to clean stainless steel. On the other hand, they can be very pricey and might not have the best resale value because of their eccentric look.
Average Cost: $50-$100 per square foot
Best For: Unusually shaped kitchens (and those who hate cutting boards)
Biggest drawbacks: Price and potential to cracking
Because of their weight, concrete countertops are typically made directly in your kitchen, meaning they can be used to complete oddly-shaped cabinets. This industrial-chic material is also resistant to heat and scratches, making it perfect for the avid chef. Plus, the material can be tinted with color, so you’re not stuck with dark gray as your only option. However, you’ll run into the same problem as stainless steel here: if you’re planning on selling your home, it’s not universally appealing.
Can I Install New Countertops Myself?
You definitely can for some materials, but most upscale materials have to be cut exactly to your specifications. This is because they are made from slabs and not from tiles. Because these materials are typically very large and heavy, it’s important to hire a contractor who is trustworthy and knows your vision. The designers, engineers, and architects at DYM Builders Group not only understand your vision, but know the contractors and vendors who can make it happen.