Happy Thursday. I am excited to have Tali Wee of Zillow on the blog as a guest today. We use Zillow often. We are still looking for that perfect place to move into. Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, Tali is sharing kitchen countertop alternatives to granite.
Granite continues to be the most popular material for countertops in updated kitchens, with its tremendous range in color and quality. If homeowners are considering remodeling their kitchens, they may be heavily swayed by the resale value on their steep investments, leading them to select granite countertops with its widespread appeal. Home shoppers looking for move-in ready homes are willing to pay more for granite counters.
One deterrent of granite is it remains one of the most expensive countertop materials on the market. Granite ranges in price from $50 to $250 per square foot installed. Besides its mass appeal, beautiful, natural colors and flecks of sparkle, granite is also majorly resistant to heat and scratches. These counters can withstand a hot pot and a slice of a knife. The downside to granite is it has tendency to chip which requires a professional to correct. These countertops need to be sealed one to two times annually with a protective sealant to prevent stains and damage from acidic liquids such as coffee and orange juice.
Although granite is the most popular countertop material, there are some alternatives for cost savings, functionality improvements, reduced maintenance and/or more modern styles.
1. Carrara Marble Countertops
The next most frequently selected countertop material is marble, known for its luxurious patina. Marble is only slightly less expensive than granite but is offered in several grades, averaging $80 to $220 per square foot installed. Unfortunately, marble is soft and tends to scratch, chip and crack. Like granite, marble can easily be damaged by acidic foods and liquids. Although, wear marks on marble create a warm look as opposed to requiring professional correction. Maintenance is still necessary; the countertops should be sealed at least four times each year, which is a simple do-it-yourself project.
2. Butcher Block Countertops
Wood countertops in the kitchen or as island surfaces is a trending new look. The price on these counters varies based on the type of wood used but ranges between $50 and $200 per square foot installed. Wood surfaces are easy to scratch, burn or damage with moisture but are similarly simple to sand back to a smooth surface. Maintenance is high, and highly important on these surfaces. They must be regularly treated with oil to prevent drying or developing bacteria. Also, avoid wood counters near the dishwasher or sink as they can be damaged by humidity. Wood counters provide a natural, eco-friendly and stylish choice when maintained properly.
3. Stainless Steel Countertops
To incorporate an industrial look or even to better coordinate with appliances, homeowners are opting for stainless steel countertops. Prices are not inexpensive but cheaper than the aforementioned surfaces, ranging between $100 and $150 per square foot installed. These counters are highly durable, resisting both heat and stains. Hot pots placed directly on the steel surfaces do not create damages. The counters are easy to wipe down, waterproof and seamless. Alternatively, stainless steel does scratch, dent, stain with watermarks and show fingerprints. Stainless steel is timeless for appliances, and gaining popularity in residential kitchens.
4. Engineered Quartz Countertops
Another option is engineered quartz, made from 95 percent ground natural quartz and 5 percent polymer resins and pigments. The resin strengthens the quartz and improves its resistance to heat and scratches. This material can withstand a hot pot directly on its surface. Because the surface is engineered, manufacturers are able to create a plethora of colors, sparkles and veining to simulate the natural look of granite. But it’s not as natural looking as 100 percent quartz. Engineered quartz is the least expensive material mentioned thus far at $60 to $150 per square foot installed. Plus, the material is nonporous making it extremely low maintenance with no sealing required.
5. Concrete Countertops
One of the newer countertop styles gaining popularity is poured concrete. This surface is extremely durable and both scratch and heat resistant. However, the solid concrete forms can crack under high heat as well as chip or crack with heavy use. Concrete countertops are also susceptible to stains from acidic liquids and foods. As long as the surface is sealed regularly, the porous material resists absorption and staining. Seams are visible on concrete countertops which some homeowners dislike. However, concrete is easy to clean and ranges in price from $80 to $140 per square foot installed. These surfaces are offered in a variety of colors and marbled stains.
6. Soapstone Countertops
Lastly, soapstone is a kitchen countertop surface which has withstood the test of time. This materials’ longevity stands up against acidic fluids and has an extraordinarily high stain resistance. Soapstone holds up against high heat and scratches can easily be sanded out of the material, which is helpful since its scratches fairly easily. These countertops are the lowest maintenance alternative mentioned, requiring no sealants. Though, some owners prefer to buff the stone occasionally with mineral oil to enhance its natural colors. Soapstone runs about $60 to $120 per square foot installed.
Although granite is the go-to selection for new kitchen countertops, homeowners may consider these other six alternatives to benefit their wallets or complement their styles. Thanks Tali for sharing some great information. This time next year, I hope to be in my new home celebrating the holidays in a beautiful kitchen. I love the Carrara Marble and Soapstone. What’s your favorite countertop?Photo credits: Digs™