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For most people, the kitchen really is the heart of the home. And it is certainly the space that Waterloo Region homebuyers tend to pay most attention to first during an initial viewing. It’s for these reasons and many more that many homeowners will consider commissioning a kitchen remodel to help increase its visual appeal, its practically and the perceived value of their home should they ever decide to sell it.
The countertops in a kitchen, big or small, have to take a fair amount of punishment on any given day, especially in the average busy family kitchen. However, as they are almost always also one of the most prominent visual features in the space they need to look good as well. And they need to be able to do so for years. Quite a tall order, which is why anyone about to embark on a kitchen remodeling project needs to give their choice of countertop material some serious thought before making a final decision.
To complicate matters making that choice is probably harder than ever these days as there are so many popular options to choose from. Here, to give you a little inspiration, are, in no real order, our top ten kitchen counter material choices:
The Natural Stone Family; Granite, Marble, Soapstone and Limestone
It is granite that often comes to mind for most people when natural stone kitchen countertops are mentioned but as popular as that beautiful material is, other forms of natural stone are making a big splash in the world of kitchen design right now as well.
Although they all have unique characteristics of their own these forms of natural stone share some of the same pros and cons when it comes to using them as a kitchen countertop material. On the plus side, they are all visually stunning, offering all kinds of colour and texture choices. They are also all extremely long lasting and durable, often making the higher initial costs a great investment in the long term. On the downside however they do require a little more care, attention and maintenance to keep them in beautiful condition although doing so is not as hard as many people imagine.
A man-made twist on a natural product cultured stone counter tops are compromised of crystals cultivated in a laboratory rather than by Mother Nature. This means that colours and patterning can be created on a consistent basis, something that is, of course, impossible with natural stone, to create a more uniform looking countertop. Cultured stone is always usually less expensive than its all natural counterpart, although not by a lot.
Laminate countertops have got something of a bad rap in the past but usually from people who have not taken a closer look at the laminate countertops available in the 21st century. It is true that the laminates used in the 1970s and 1980s were generally not very lovely to look at or very durable but the new generation is tougher and prettier. Modern laminate counters can be found mimicking other materials quite well too, meaning that you can get the look of granite without the high costs.
Stainless steel kitchen countertops are some of the most durable and easy to take care of you can find, the reason why they are installed in most restaurant and commercial kitchens. In a residential kitchen, they can look rather cold and stark, unless you add the right design elements around them. Zinc, which has also been used commercially for decades, is gaining popularity for use in residential kitchens as well, thanks to the fact that it is beautiful when installed and as it gains a patina it only becomes even more appealing.
Chunky wooden butcher block counters are a kitchen design classic, especially if you are going for the rustic look. They do of course scratch and mark more easily than some other options, even when very well finished, but by the same token offer the advantage that such things can usually be quickly sanded away rather easily.
Of all of the green kitchen countertop options bamboo is by far the most popular and for good reason . It is eco-friendly because bamboo is a grass, albeit a very tough one, rather than a timber so it can be renewed very quickly. It is also very, very durable (they make scaffolding out of it in Japan) and it has strong natural antibacterial qualities that make it perfect for use in a busy kitchen. The fact that it is also extremely attractive helps a great deal as well of course.
If you really want something very different for your kitchen then recycled glass countertops may be just what you are looking for. Literally made from recycled glass mixed with a durable resin these counters are often very colorful, very unusual and surprisingly tough. And as a wow factor for potential homebuyers if your Waterloo Region home is on the market for sale? A real show stopper for sure.