Five alternatives to granite countertops

Wood countertops can add warmth, balance and beauty to any home. - Dreamstime , TNS

Granite countertops have long been a favourite of homeowners and designers alike. But as styles evolve, other choices are growing more popular. Here’s a look at five materials giving granite a run for its money.

1. Engineered quartz

Granite’s top competitor, engineered quartz offers the beauty of stone without the maintenance. It’s tougher than granite, and it’s highly resistant to scratching, cracking, staining and heat. Unlike granite, which offers the unique qualities of natural stone, engineered quartz is largely uniform; because it’s engineered, there’s no choice of one-of-a-kind slab. There are, however, a number of colours and designs available, from stark modern whites to options closely resembling marble. And, because engineered quartz is non-porous, it never has to be sealed like natural stone.

2. Wood

Increasingly, homeowners seek and appreciate natural wood countertops — particularly easy butcher blocks and those custom-created by quality craftsmen. While wood countertops can add warmth, balance and beauty to any modern home, they also require a fair amount of maintenance. Because wood is susceptible to damage from heat and moisture, it must be sealed about once a month. The best part about wood, though, is that it can be refinished in the event that damage does occur.

3. Soapstone:

Soapstone is an attractive, natural quarried stone that ranges from light grey to green-black in colour. While the material is soft and pliable, it’s also nonporous (i.e., it doesn’t require regular sealing like granite). Soapstone is also resistant to stains and acidic materials. The downside to soapstone is that it is susceptible to scratches and deep indentations. Light grey soapstone will also weather and darken over time, occasionally developing a patina finish. The material comes in smaller slabs, so seams will be visible in soapstone countertops longer than 7 feet.

4. Concrete :

Concrete countertops have evolved a lot since their debut in the 1980s. These days, precast concrete countertops are available in numerous colours. Generally, they’re flat and smooth. While concrete countertops have historically cracked and chipped easily, recent innovations have made them less prone to damage. Concrete is naturally strong and heat-resistant, and slabs can be sealed to prevent staining.

5. Stainless steel :

There’s a reason restaurants use stainless steel countertops in their kitchens. It’s heat-, rust- and stain-resistant; it’s easy to clean; and it won’t absorb or harbour even the toughest bacteria. The downside is that they scratch easily. For this reason, it’s best to use a cutting board any time you’re prepping food on a stainless steel countertop. Also, it’s a good idea to choose a brushed stainless finish that will help conceal marks.

Not sure which countertop to choose?

When you’re remodelling your kitchen, the most importantquestion is: are you remodelling for yourself or a potential buyer? If you’reremodelling for yourself, go with what you like best. But if you’re remodellingwith an eye toward selling, it’s best to go with a more neutral option. You’llget the upscale look you’re going for without alienating granite-tired buyers.

Source:  by HomeAdvisor HamiltonSpectator

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