If you’re reading this, you may be in the market for new countertops. Luckily, at Cutstone Company we know a thing or two! Functionality can overrule looks, but durability plays a leading role when choosing the best surface for your home or business. Busy kitchens and high traffic areas can take a beating so it’s important to know which countertops will hold up the best against heat, stains, cuts, abrasions, and everyday impact.
You might be surprised to hear that there are surfacing options in addition to natural stone and quartz. The surfacing industry has spent years developing alternative products, utilizing new technology, and a lot of trial and error. Today’s options include porcelain, sintered surfaces, and recycled glass, to name a few. Just as with natural stone and engineered stone, these surfaces come with their own pros and cons for each application.
Although natural granite remains one of today’s most popular countertop choices, it may have met its match with the growing popularity of engineered granite. Like natural granite, engineered granite is extremely durable and is both heat and scratch-resistant, but it's engineered characteristics take it a few steps further. These durable countertops are available in a variety of colors and patterns, and feature a more uniformed and consistent look when compared to natural granite (which is limited to its unique colors and veining).
Quartz Countertops are also a top contender when it comes to both durability and beauty. Quartz countertops are made from crushed quartz crystals that are bound together by an adhesive agent (polymer resin) and mixed with color, resulting in a nonporous product that is strong and easy to maintain – with no sealing required. The engineered characteristics of quartz countertops make them stain and scratch-resistant, and manufacturers can design them in a spectrum of colors that mimic granite and marble. Some experts recommend installing quartz countertops with rounded edges, since corners and edges have been known to chip. Being one of the best options for durable countertops, quartz is also a great choice for commercial areas such as restaurants and bars.
3. Recycled Glass
This exciting countertop option offers a sleek and contemporary look that is durable, sparkly, and stunningly beautiful. Where does this recycled glass come from, you ask? Recycled Glass countertops are composed of 78 percent recycled glass (which comes from colorful beer and liquor bottles) and are combined with man-made stones to create a shiny, eco-friendly finish. They are heat, scratch, and stain-resistant making them the ideal environment conscious choice for remodeling your kitchen, bathroom and commercial space. You can always have the humble brag to your house guests about how many beer and liquor bottles you saved from being wasted by upcycling them to be stunning countertops!
Marble is also a favorite when it comes to countertops due to its clean, light-reflective look. It’s less porous and stronger than limestone, but softer than granite, so it can be prone to more scratches. Because marble is able to withstand extreme heat, it has come into its own as the lowest maintenance, highest beauty option for a kitchen countertop. Now used all over the world, people love how versatile marble is without detracting from the overall look of your kitchen.
Unlike regular quartz, quartzite isn’t heated or poured meaning it’s a stone created entirely by nature. Quartzite is a hard and enduring material that is great for kitchens that see a lot of traffic. For anyone who loves the look of marble but who hates the thought of paying a premium for their countertops, quartzite can be a great alternative. Some look so much like marble that it’s hard to tell the difference! Compared to materials other than stone, quartzite may seem expensive. It’s more expensive than wood or plastic laminate countertops, but it can be less expensive than most marble. When comparing the price to either granite or quartz, you’ll find they fall in a similar range.
With all of these fantastic options, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide what may be the best fit for your project and lifestyle. The main factors to keep in mind are durability, heat tolerance and maintenance. While navigating towards your final choice, check out the Pros and Cons listed by Consumer Report in their “Pros and cons—and costs—of 10 countertop materials” article. We have a knowledgeable and wonderful staff that can walk you through each option that we offer and help you find the perfect match! Schedule your free in-home design consultation today.