What Countertop Materials Are Best For You?

Lisa Zompa, Kitchen Views at National, Warwick, RI

Lisa Zompa, Kitchen Views at National, Warwick, RI

With 8 years of experience in kitchen and bathroom design, and an interior design degree, Lisa joined Kitchen Views in early 2010 to serve the Rhode Island area. Lisa is currently working out of the new Warwick, Rhode Island showroom, which opened in May 2010.

What Are Your Choices in Countertop Material?

IceStone Countertop at Kitchen Views Showroom, Newton, MA

IceStone Countertop at Kitchen Views Showroom

Today, there are so many types of finishes to choose from, when determining what to put into your project.  Laminates are a great inexpensive way to update any area as they have come a long way from the boomerang patterns of the past.  They have come up with patterns to mimic metals, granite, and marble.

You can purchase pre-made countertops and install them yourself; or you can purchase sheets from a variety of sizes and have custom tops made on-site, or use it as a backsplash.

Solid surface countertops are another option to consider.  It is a soft material that is easy to clean, and appears to have no seams.  You have the option to have a stainless steel under-mount sink; or a seamless integrated sink.  Typically, the purchase of this type of material will include having a company to come to your house, make a template of the area, then come back and install it.  There are a variety of manufacturers to choose from including DuPont Corian, Wilsonart, Formica, and LG Viatera, just to name a few.

Quartz is becoming the popular man on campus.  It is a man-made material consisting mostly of quartz, and epoxy.  It is similar to granite in that it is a hard material, cool to the touch, heat resistant, and comes in slabs.  It is superior to granite in that it is 4 times stronger than granite, easier to maintain, and colors are more consistent from slab to slab.  Colors are offered in a range from solids to mimicking granite and marble. Some brands in this category include glass in the mix to give a reflective value to the countertop.  Brand names include, but are not limited to:  CaesarStone®, Cambria, Silestone®, and Zodiaq® from DuPont.  Pricing will vary and include having the fabricator to come to your home, take a template, and install it.  Material warranty will vary by product.

Granite and marble are natural products.  Granite in the past used to be expensive, but has drastically come down in price.  Granite comes in light to dark colors and can come in wild and exotic patterns.  The beauty of granite is the natural pattern flow in the product.  Some have described as “works of art.”  Granite and marble are mined both locally and all over the world.  A simple sealant is required to be applied to the tops every 6-12 months, while some brands will include a sealant impregnated into the stone to help repel stains.  Fabricators will purchase large amounts of popular colors to keep the price down and pass those savings along to the end consumer, while exotic patterns will be more expensive.  Pricing will include the fabricator to come to your home, take a template, and install it.

Concrete is popular for outdoor kitchens in general, and inside the home in the South West and Western part of the United States.  Concrete is custom-made for your project.  You can choose the colors, and even add metals and other materials into the top to create different patterns and visual flow.  Pricing will vary and will include the installation.

If you want a more sustainable and green product, then recycled glass may be for you.  Recycled glass is mixed with cement and other additives to create the perfect countertop.  Manufacturers take recycled glass from beer bottles, sea glass, and even traffic lights to name just a few examples.  Depending on the manufacturer, you can get points towards your LEED certification.  Some brand names include IceStone, Vetrazzo, and EnviroGlas.  Pricing is in the high range and will include template, and installation.

Wood tops are a great way to add warmth into any kitchen project.  Typically customers will put them on islands for an accent.  Butcher block is great for cutting, while smoother surfaces offer a table-grade beauty.  Familiar wood tops would include maple or oak butcher block, but there is so much more out there.  You can now get wood species like: Cherry, Beech, Black Walnut, Canary Wood, Hickory, Iroko, Padauk, Purple Heart, Sapele, Teak, Wenge, and Zebrawood.  Pricing will vary, as you can purchase straight stock of Maple and Oak butcher block and install it yourself; or have custom tops made. If you want a “green” certified wood, Bamboo, Lyptus, and reclaimed woods are available.  As you can see, there is something for every project.

Lisa Zompa
Kitchen Views at National
3356 Post Rd, Warwick, RI 02886
Phone: 401.921.0400
lzompa@kitchenviews.com

With so many beautiful choices, Kitchen Views designers will help you select the product that works best for your particular requirements. You can find more information on the benefits and limitations of various countertop materials in the Kitchen Views Design Guide (PDF).

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4 Responses to “What Countertop Materials Are Best For You?”


  1. 1 Ray St. Gelais April 13, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Lisa,
    This was very well done. I have read many countertop reviews online and there always seems to be a slant to one product or another. Your comments were unbiased and informative.
    I recommend that your clients do their research…don’t rely on just the manufacturers’ comparison charts. They will always make their product seem like the best.
    They will need to find the choice of material or materials that best suit their lifestyle. There are pros and cons to each product and they will need to decide which benefit is most important to them.

  2. 2 Rob Levesque April 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Lisa, you’ve laid out a nice representation of the countertop choices available to clients. Well done. It’s always nice to say hi to a New Englander as well (I was born and raised in Rhode Island). Good luck with the new Warwick, RI Kitchen Views location.

  3. 3 Garden State Soapstone September 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Very accurate review on how countertops should be. I really enjoyed reading you thoughts on countertops.


  1. 1 recycled glass kitchen countertops Trackback on November 1, 2011 at 6:34 pm

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