Kitchen & Bath - Kitchen

Kitchen countertops: Pros and cons

Scott McGillivray weighs the pros and cons of installing kitchen countertops.

There’s no design element more stressful than kitchen countertops. With all the options for material and colour, the choices seem endless. While I believe you can have a great looking kitchen on any budget there are things to take into consideration, and navigating the selection of countertops requires weighing the pros and cons of each.

Big budget
Nothing screams money in a kitchen quite like natural stone counters, and it’s hands-down the number one request I get from homeowners on Income Property. Stone looks and feels expensive because it is. The cost is easily the biggest drawback to this material. Ranging from $100 to $250 per square foot, stone countertops take a big chunk out of your budget. On the other hand, stone surfaces are unique, durable and heat-resistant. They do need to be sealed periodically to avoid staining, but they can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Marble scratches and stains more easily, so it might not be the best option for a home with young children (or clumsy adults!).

Small budget

If you’re working with a smaller budget or stone just isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options out there. Laminate is fail-safe and has come a long way in recent years. There are lots of laminates to choose from and a custom laminate counter is a fraction of the cost of stone. The downside? While laminate is durable and stain-resistant, it isn’t heat-resistant like stone. Another inexpensive option is ceramic tile, which can cost as little as $10 per square foot. It comes in a wide variety of colours and finishes, so it’s adaptable to any kitchen style. It’s just not the best choice for avid cooks or bakers, as it’s prone to chips. Butcher block also has become more popular in the last few years. People like the natural look and the character it develops over time, and many big-box stores are now carrying it more inexpensively. That said, butcher block is relatively high maintenance, requiring frequent disinfecting and oiling to keep it safe and looking great. It’s also prone to burns and moisture damage, so it’s best to avoid installing it around a sink or a stove.

This article is featured on Scott McGillivray's tips and tricks

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