Pros reveal most popular countertops for remodels
The striations in this bathroom's granite countertop give the appearance of movement. Countertop materials differ by cost, plus advantages and disadvantages. (Photo courtesy of member Laura G. of Tampa, Florida)
When it comes to your kitchen, the countertops play a big role in functionality and appearance. It's one of the most important areas to consider during any kitchen remodel. Just like everything else, trends come and go as technologies improve.
Currently, trends in kitchen countertops favor the most durable, affordable and aesthetically pleasing materials. Experts agree granite is the most requested material for countertops in today’s remodels.
Granite's pros and cons
“Granite is the most popular trend to date,” says Dewayne Randle of highly rated Irving Counter Top in Irving, Texas. “Granite is a natural stone that comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. The colors naturally vary throughout, making it unique. You won’t find a piece of granite that’s identical to another. It’s highly resistant to heat and scratching, making it the most durable countertop material available.”
The Dallas-area countertop installer says granite has become more affordable to homeowners during the past several years, which has been a contributing factor to its popularity.
“The price varies between $38 and $75 per square foot,” Randle says.
“Because it’s porous, it has to be resealed,” Jeffers explains, noting the process is relatively easy. “Simply wipe the sealant on, let it set and wipe it off.”
Jeffers suggests resealing granite once a year, while other professionals might recommend every two or three years, depending on what type of sealer you use.
The second most popular countertop material used in kitchen remodels is quartz, Jeffers says.
“It doesn’t have the natural varying colors that granite does, but the selection of colors and patterns is getting better,” he says. “Some types of quartz are even made to look just like granite.”
Randle says quartz and granite run similar in terms of cost.
It runs at about $42 to $80 per square foot,” he says. “It looks and performs just like granite, except the color consistency is always the same and it’s manmade.”
A big advantage to using either granite or quartz is the ability to install undermount sinks.
“When you have an undermount sink, the transition between countertop and sink is seamless, so you can wipe all the crumbs from the counter right into the sink,” Jeffers explains, adding the lack of a dip or a crack between the countertop and sink makes cleaning much easier.
If you’re remodeling on a budget, experts agree the most affordable option is laminate, a material that Randle says has “been a popular choice for countertops since 1958.”
“The price runs from $12 to $15 per square foot,” he says, noting durability is its only downfall.
“It’s not nearly as durable as others,” he says. “If you take a hot pan off the cooktop and put it on the countertop, it won’t hurt granite but it will burn laminate. Granite does not scratch, but laminate does.”