How to Choose the Right Countertop

Posted by Nicole R. Martin
Remodeling Project Specialist, Brubaker Inc.


All About Countertops

Selecting a countertop material is one of the biggest decisions in your kitchen or bathroom remodeling project. The countertop is an immediate attention-grabber when someone walks in the room. With all of the choices available today you can easily find a style and color that fits your budget.

Countertop Comparison Chart

Counter chart

Laminate

Laminate BrubakerLaminate counters are the most cost effective option and are familiar to many people under brand names such as Formica or Wilsonart.

The laminate counters of today aren’t the same boring, worn out counters you remember from 30 years ago. Today’s patterns and colors beautifully replicate marbles and stones while giving you edge options including bevels and crescent, not just the square brown-lined edge you may be living with now.

Laminate counters can even be fabricated with undermount sinks, eliminating the drop-in sink edge that is the bane of any counter-wiper’s existence. When an undermount sink is accompanied by a tile backsplash, the look of the laminate is transformed to that of stone counters for a fraction of the cost. Laminate counters work best in a kitchen or bar area as the high amount of moisture and steam in a bathroom can compromise the counters over time.

Acrylic

Solid surface BrubakerAcrylic solid surface counters, such as Corian and Meganite, are a great option for those who want a completely seamless counter. The acrylic sink can be integrated right into the top and a backsplash can be coved in to avoid any seams at all. Another great benefit is that the color and pattern of the top goes the entire way through the counter so that if you get a small scratch, nick or stain on the top you can buff it out with a scouring pad. Home repair is easy!

Stone
Stone counters have increased exponentially in popularity over the last few years, especially as prices have come down.

Granite
Granite Brubaker
The most well-known of those counters, granite, is a natural stone that is quarried from the ground in large pieces, cut into slabs and polished. There is no factory manipulation to the stone so it tends to be more varied with lots of movement, marbling, variation in color, etc. This uniqueness of each granite slab is what leads many people to choose it as their counter top material. Because it stays unchanged during fabrication, granite does remain porous and requires occasional sealing. The process is quite simple and shouldn’t discourage you from granite: you simply spray on a sealer and wipe it off approximately once every 1-2 years depending on the type of granite. There is even now a 25-year sealer that can be applied by the fabricator before installation so the need to seal granite on a regular basis has been virtually eliminated. Granite slabs should be viewed at the fabrication center during the selection process as small samples are not truly indicative of the appearance of the full slab from which your counter will be made. Because of the variation in granite appearance, where it is quarried, how much is available, etc., price varies widely.

Quartz
Quartz counter wquartz tile
Quartz counters are 93% natural quartz stone. Unlike granite which is unchanged after being quarried, for quartz counters the mined quartz stone is ground and formed into sheets with small amounts of pigments and resins. This process allows for a generally more uniform appearance, although quartz counters that replicate the color variation and movement of granite are now available. Because quartz goes through a manufacturing process, the counters are non-porous and require no sealing. The more uniform appearance allows you to select your counter from smaller samples available in our showroom. Quartz has a smaller price range and is usually equal in price to a mid to lower-mid range granite.

General cleaning for all counters is the same: warm, soapy water will do the trick.

Other counters such as wood, marble, soapstone, concrete, stainless steel and glass are available and can add beauty to your home in the right application. These materials do have some usage limitations so it is best to speak to a Remodeling Project Specialist about the best way to incorporate these looks in your home.

PLEASE NOTE: Brubaker Inc. strongly recommends using a cutting board and trivet/hot pad on ANY counter top surface as damage can occur to the sealer on the stone or to your knives.