Once seen everywhere, standard kitchen countertops of black granite are now passé. Designers are now opting for a wide range of versatile, durable and aesthetic options for countertops. The options available are mind-boggling, and you can be forgiven if you’re having a hard time making your decision!

All the same, your countertop plays a very demanding role in your kitchen—and needs to be chosen with extreme care. We’re here to help you make an informed decision! So here it is, the ultimate guide to choosing the best kitchen countertop.

What is a Kitchen Countertop?

Your countertop is the surface that’s used for food prep and cooking and is installed on top of the lower cabinets in your modular kitchen. The standard width is 2 feet, while the height can be 2 feet 9 inches or higher. The counter runs along one, two or three sides of your kitchen. An island kitchen has an additional counter in the middle as well.

kitchen countertop buying guide
Pick the Right Countertop Materials!

There are some very important criteria to keep in mind when you’re choosing the material for your countertop. Do think of:

Functionality:

What is the kind of usage you expect? Are you someone who cooks only once in a blue moon, or an enthusiastic home chef who whips up elaborate meals seven days a week?

What kind of cuisine does your family prefer? Italian food involves a lot of baking and your countertop should be able to withstand the heat of baked dishes being put down, while Indian food uses a lot of turmeric and spices that could stain the countertop if you’re not careful.

Keep your convenience in mind when you narrow down your choices.

Aesthetics:

What is the theme of your home décor? The materials you choose should suit the styling of your interiors, and the colours should fall in line with the overall palette. You can even mix and match. Use quartz for your galley counters, for instance, and opt for warm wood tones for the central island or breakfast counter.

Engineered stones, granite and marble are available in a wide variety of colours and finishes.

Installation:

Uneven kitchen countertop with ups & downs can always be a spoiler, after all those efforts to get your perfect dream kitchen done. It becomes even worse if there is a leakage problem. It is thus so much important ensure finding the right & skilled team to install it as much as you choose the best design or colour. Pioneers in the market prefer standardized installation solutions from market leaders like Roff Masterfix to fix the counter-top. This provides the right seating of the Counter-top and an everlasting bond with the base.

Also, for Quartz and other stone finishes, there is no other better way to seal your stone-to-stone gaps with the global leader Tenax Mastic Solid stone joint filler that also comes in different pigments to match your Counter-top to provide a seamless finish to the surface.

Budget:

For some, this could be the most important consideration. If you’re working on a low-cost budget, granite countertops are the most cost-effective. Engineered stones like quartz, Corian and steel could fall at the higher end of the pricing spectrum.

You will also need to think about the cost of the backsplash. For an integrated look, some designers like to use the same material on the backsplash too, and this will add to the cost.

Durability:

For the countertop to last long and continue to look good over the years, it should be resistant to wear and tear and should be stain-proof and impervious to moisture. You might be chopping up onions on the surface if you’re in a hurry and can’t lay hands on the chopping mat—so it should be scratchproof as well.

Maintenance:

The countertop material should require minimum maintenance and ideally should be something that can be wiped clean with just soap and water. White colored countertops could stain with acidic spices, turmeric, saffron, and so on; so make sure to wipe up spills immediately.

If you are using a soft stone like marble, the surface should be sealed every few years to make it water-resistant and to prevent any pitting. There are also advanced stone protection solutions such as Tenax Ager which also gives a dazzling shine to the counter-top. No wonder the guests would be surprised to see it as good as a new top whenever they visit!

how to maintain kitchen countertop

Pros and Cons of Each Material:

Granite Countertops

One of the most popular options, granite countertops look great and are very durable. Available in a wide variety of speckled, veined, and solid colors, every countertop is unique as it is a natural material.

Polished granite, which is the texture most suited for kitchens, is shiny and reflective and completely impervious to water. It is also scratchproof and literally lasts forever! Prices range from INR 80 sft and above for a 19 mm thick slab.

pros and cons of kitchen countertop

Marble Countertops

Marble is a natural stone used in high-end kitchens. It is a soft material that is not as resilient as granite, and needs to be polished and sealed to render it impervious to moisture. It looks very luxurious, hence the high price tag. Any spills on marble should be wiped up as soon as possible, failing which it could stain and get pitted over the years.

Also available in a variety of colours, marble prices start at INR 120 per sq ft and above. Be prepared to shell out even INR 10000 and up for fine Italian marble.

marble countertop

Engineered Stones (Quartz)

Quartz is an engineered, man-made material that is manufactured from quartz stone chips, pigments and additives (like glass) and a binder. Quartz countertops look stunning and deliver high performances.

With prices starting at INR 200 per sq ft, quartz countertops are durable, stain-resistant and scratchproof. Some varieties of quartz are not completely resistant to heat, so do check before you buy. A professional installer is needed for the best finishing.

Steel Countertops

Almost all industrial kitchens use stainless steel countertops, and with good reason! High on hygiene and durability, steel is resilient enough to stand up to virtually anything. Completely non-porous, these countertops are resistant to water, heat and stains. It is also possible to integrate a stainless steel sink into the counter without any messy edges at all. Steel surfaces can get scratched, so avoid chopping right on the countertop.

Perfect for contemporary home kitchens as well, stainless steel countertops differ in pricing based on the size and gauge. They are priced based on the weight, and prices start at INR 350 per kg, which could translate to INR 7000 per sq ft and more.

Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface countertops like Corian from Dupont are becoming increasingly popular. They are versatile and can be moulded for a seamless finish without any crevices. It is also possible to create an integrated sink and backsplash of the same material. There are a lot of lookalikes available in the market which might not match up to the durability and quality of Corian.

Greater colour choices and increased durability are among the reasons why this material is preferred by many for modular kitchens. While it is completely nonporous, it lacks the warmth and unique look of natural stone. The surface is matte and cannot be polished to a reflective sheen. Corian prices range from INR 750 to 1500 per sq ft on average.

Tips to Maintaining your Kitchen Countertops

  • Avoid doing any food prep directly on the countertop. That includes chopping, slicing, kneading dough and rolling out your parathas!
  • Vinegar, turmeric, and citrus juices are acidic, and some ready mixes have coloured additives. In case of spills, always wipe down at once.
  • Natural stone countertops should be polished and sealed to add resilience. Reseal once a year or whenever you feel the shine has reduced.
  • Avoid cleaning solutions and scrubbers that are abrasive or acidic. Use warm water and organic cleaners to wipe down thoroughly once you are done with cooking. Always wipe again with a dry cloth to seal in the shine.
  • Never allow food spills to set and harden on the surface.
  • Dust with a damp microfiber cloth on days when you are not cooking.
  • Always use a professional installer, to get the most seamless finish and avoid ill-fitting edges where grime can accumulate.
  • When installing the counter, always ensure that there is at least a 2-inch overhang over the cabinets. A tiny groove that runs all along the edge, below the countertop, can prevent water from the top from dripping into your cabinets below.

So now that we’ve done your homework for you, have you zeroed in on the right choice of countertop for your kitchen? Don’t forget to check out the latest modular kitchen designs from HomeLane and make the right choice for your home!

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