Walking into any kitchen remodel showroom or general contractors design showroom, and you’re likely to find various vinettes set up to show you the possibilities for your next kitchen remodel. Cabinetry, fixtures, flooring and countertops that all coordinate beautifully together, and probably even lighting upgrades to shine light on particular focal points. All of these are integral parts of your kitchen remodel and play an important role in the overall feel and functionality of your space. You can easily get overwhelmed with so many material choices available to create the distinctive look of your dream kitchen.
You are likely to see color and material samples that jump out at your and scream “Choose me!” and your general contractor can certainly design around the choices that you are drawn to, but are they right for you? There are a couple scenarios that can cause the need for a remodel that will play a part in the decisions that you make.
- If you plan to sell your home. Color is more of a personal preference choice, unless you are doing the kitchen remodel for resale purposes. If you plan to move in the near future, you’ll want to consult with your kitchen designer about common materials that appeal to the masses and require low maintenance in order to attract buyers in your market. Real estate professionals are also a good resource, as they can tell you the styles of kitchens that recent buyers are currently seeking in your neighborhood. The last thing that you want is to upgrade your kitchen beyond the comparable sales market. Your goal in this scenario is to choose the materials and style that make it a cinch to get list price offers!
- If you plan to turn your home into a rental property, yet it is in need of updates first. As a busy homeowner, we find that we don’t always keep up with current styles and trends, and maybe have let our home get outdated over the years. Renting homes out in lieu of selling them has become a common practice for many to bring in additional income or for investment purposes. If your kitchen remodel is focused on the rental market then you will want to pay special attention to materials that are not only price competitive for your budget, but can withstand renters. Durability and low maintenance are key in this scenario because not everyone cleans like you do or worries about safeguarding to preserve your countertops for the long haul if they only plan on renting for a year or two.
- Remodeling for you, and only you. We’re talking homeowners that plan to stay in their home and are in need of a kitchen remodel solely for their pure enjoyment. It could be for added functionality, new layout, updated materials, more storage space or any other reason that will make you fall in love with your kitchen again. Remodeling in this scenario is easier and much more fun! It’s all about your taste, your style,your preferences and choosing a material that is in your comfort level to care for. Plan on spending a little extra time with your general contractor or kitchen designer if this is your motivation for remodeling. We all tend to put a bit more care and thought in making our choices when it’s for ourselves.
Now that you know the drive behind doing your kitchen remodel, the fun begins. It’s time to schedule a consultation with your general contractor and/or designer to begin the process. Explaining your reasoning and goal for this remodel is key, so that they can better guide you through the process. You’ll see an astounding number of countertop options to choose from, each with their own pros and cons that you’ll need to consider based on your circumstances. It’s critical to know things such as sensitivity to stains and spills, if one material requires special or extra care versus another, the likelihood of breakageand chips, and how easy each are to keep clean on a daily basis. A new countertop can take your kitchen from dull and dated, and transform it to dazzling instantly. Any countertop material that you choose will look outstanding when installed, but it’s a matter of keeping it that way for years to come. We’ve outlined the top selections in the market below, starting with the most budget friendly choices and have included the pertinent pros and cons that you need to know about before you start your kitchen remodel.
As a budget-conscious countertop choice, there have been many noticeable improvements over the years to laminate. Most commonly labeled as the base choice in standard tract homes, many homeowners still have laminate or formica countertops. They are easy to clean and maintain, as well as lightweight making them an economical countertop choice for your kitchen design. On the flip side, chances are that you will need to replace them much quicker than the other countertop choices because they are subject to stains, burns, scratches and chips. Be sure to utilize cutting boards, trivets and hot pads in your kitchen if this is the route that you choose. They are also not as durable in wet areas as they tend to peel if exposed to too much moisture. Mild cleaners, soaps and clothes are all safe to use for cleaning purposes on this material. You’ll want to stay away from using harsh acidic products, scouring pads and steel wool on them though. The top pros for laminate countertops would be their affordability level and the array of color/design choices available that give it the appearance of a being higher end material, such as granite. (Picture: Todd Whittaker Drywall Inc./ Kitchen Remodel Gallery)
Utilizing tile in your kitchen design can allow for more creativity. Mixing and matching tiles and colors can result in a distinctive look that you will not see in your neighbors home. Mediteranian and Spanish themes tend take advantage of the bold color palettes that tile has to offer. Tile is durable and stain-resistant making it a viable option in kitchens. The primary benefit though is that should a tile get chipped or cracked, it is easily repairable as long as you kept a few of the tiles from your initial installation. The broken tile can be removed and replaced with a new one without having to replace the entire countertop like other material choices. The prime demise though is actually the grout because it can soak up stains and bacteria if not properly and regularly sealed. (Picture: Lind Nelson Construction Inc./ Houzz)
Quartz countertops are characteristically engineered from a combination of resin and quartz giving them an appealing look and charm. They are known for their extreme durability and easy maintenance. No sealing is required to keep these man-made tops looking good. Regular cleaning can be done with soap and water or a nonabrasive cleaner. The only real downside to quartz is they are a little higher priced than other options primarily due to them being an engineered product. (Picture: Todd Whittaker Drywall Inc./ Kitchen Remodel Gallery)
Limestone carries a very natural attractive look to your kitchen design. This material choice is exceedingly resistant to heat making it a good choice in the kitchen from that aspect. Honestly speaking though, that is its only pro. Alternatively, this product is exceptionally easy to scratch, cut, stain or nick by any of your common household utensils and chemicals that you use in your kitchen on a daily basis. Be prepared to perform regular sealing and immediate clean up of any spills making it a higher maintenance choice. (Picture: MS International Inc., Pietra Cardoso)
Over the last few years, butcher block and solid-wood countertops have become increasingly popular for islands and prep areas in a kitchen remodel. There are various species and shades of wood available to choose from that will add charm to any style of kitchen from old world to rustic or country. A few of the noteable pros to wood tops are it’s ability to add warmth to your space, they are repairable, and the fact that they do scratch. Yes, you heard that right. Most countertop materials that you are looking at for your kitchen remodel, you automatically cross off the list due to the fears of scratching. Butcher block on the other hand is the one material that actually looks better the more worn in it gets. Should it get too many scratches for your liking, it’s easily fixable simply by having it sanded down to remove marks and resealed/oiled. It’s not all pros though for this natural product. From a con standpoint, there are a few you’ll want to make note of. With it being natural wood, you won’t want to keep it wet or exposed to extreme moisture as the wood can discolor, swell and warp as it takes in moisture. Butcher block does need to be disinfected to ward off any bacteria and kept clean. A non-abrasive cleaner can be used or a mixture of water and distrilled white vinegar. Just be sure to wipe dry after cleaning so there is no standing liquid left hanging around. You will want to make sure the surface is sealed, plus oiling it can assist in protecting the surface. A less toxic oil such as a food-grade oil is your best option for this.Without this proper upkeep wood tops can become dull and crack in time. Overall, butcher block is a wonderful addition to your kitchen design … in moderation. (Picture: Jennifer Baines Interiors / Houzz)
Granite is a highly sought after countertop choice for Phoenix homeowners looking to do a kitchen remodel. It can withstand cuts, stains (if properly sealed), scratches and heat without worry. Like concrete though, it is a tough-as-nails durability does cause it to be a heavier material that does require a good support. Every day cleaning can be done using a mild dish soap and water. If you are noticing water spots after cleaning, a simple microfiber cloth will do the trick. For those looking for a maintenance free product, granite may not be a good fit for you as it does require regular sealing to keep it looking fabulous and repelling stains. This should be done on an annual basis. Make note that you do not want to use any abrasive or acidic cleaners on your granite as they can strip your sealer leaving your countertop at risk of stains. Granite comes in an assortment of color schemes with characteristics to make your kitchen look and feel top of the line. (Picture: Todd Whittaker Drywall Inc./ Kitchen Remodel Gallery)
If you are looking for a colorful countertop material, recycled glass may be just what you have in mind. They add a beautifully bold focal point for your kitchen design. As a green product, recycled glass does keep old beverage containers, liquor bottles and the like from making their way into our landfills making it an appeasable choice for many earth mindful homeowners. Glass is heat, scratch and cut resistant, but can stain easily depending on the chemical which can pose a problem in a kitchen setting. The higher cost associated with this material is outweighed by the fact that it requires little to no maintenance at all and is long lasting, so you’re less likely to have to replace it as quickly. (Picture: Todd Whittaker Drywall Inc./ Kitchen Remodel Gallery)
Marble countertops, while popular in a bathroom design, can also be used in kitchens as well. They carry a classical look and are available in a slew of veined color choices. It’s noteworthy to say that marble does tend to remain cool to the touch making it an ideal surface in the kitchen for someone that loves to bake. The downfall to marble tops though is that they are prone to chips and stains making it problematic in high mess areas. For this reason, many general contractors and homeowners tend to shy away from it in this application, though love it in a shower or vanity setting. (Picture: MS International Inc. / Augusta White)
Concrete is an extremely common building material used widely in residential builds, however many homeowners do not think of it as a countertop material. In fact, a concrete countertop carries a high amount of durability. It can be color tinted, stained and dyed to match the scheme in your home or have additives such as glass, shells, or other mixed in to create a one-of-a-kind truly unique selection. The most well known place that you’ve probably seen this used is on DIY or HGTV shows as a do-it-yourself project. Yes, they are completely customizable, however definitely not as easy as they portray (like most of projects they do!). One major con against cast-in-place or precast concrete countertops is their weight factor. They will be substantially heavier than any other material, so you’ll need to make that you work with an expert to have a proper support base for it. Anyone that has walked outside knows that concrete cracks. This is just a fact, so be ready to see hairline cracks form on your countertops which are a result of curing and any possible settling movement. Similar to other materials that we’ve discussed, concrete countertops will need to be sealed. Though concrete is nearly indestructible, the sealer on the other hand is not and can be compromised and stained by cutting, acidic chemicals/foods and harsh cleaners. (Picture: DIY and Crafts Magazine / Pinterest)
We understand that countertops are just one piece of the puzzle in designing your ultimate kitchen remodel that you have been dreaming about, but it’s important that they suit your needs and ultimate goal for your home. At Todd Whittaker Drywall Inc. (TWD) our team will take the time to get to know you and your plans for your home, so that we can assist you in these important decisions. Our desired end result is for you to love your kitchen again and confidently know that you made the best decision … to hire TWD! You can visit our website (https://www.twdaz.com) for additional information on our company, the services that we offer with a full photo gallery of ideas to get you started, and while you are there you can request your free consultation. For over 20 years we’ve been remodeling your friends and neighbors homes, now it’s your turn to get the kitchen you’ve been wanting!