Here’s how to fine-tune your home for entertaining and family time.
If you’re in need of design inspiration and advice for your home, why not listen to the voice of experience? Theresa Miller is the Design Consultant Manager for Trendmaker Homes, one of Texas’ premier new-home builders. She manages the company’s design center and her job is to help home buyers sift through a variety of choices so they can make the right one. She can help you too!
Right now, there are so many choices for kitchen countertops. I’m here to provide tips about the most popular countertop materials so you’ll make the right choice for you and your family. Yes, you want to choose a countertop based on the aesthetic, but a material's durability, maintenance, and cost are also important things to consider when selecting a counter, whether it’s in a new home or part of a remodel. The array of choices can make the selection process a bit daunting. However, if you know a little more about the options, it’s much easier to find what fits your style and functional needs.
Granite is definitely the most popular choice among today’s buyers. Granite is a natural stone with a variety of patterns that range from simple to exotic. It also comes in a variety of shades such as blacks, whites, greens, corals, and beiges. Since granite is a natural stone, each slab is unique! Granite is available in two finishes. A polished finish results in a shiny look and often darkens the appearance of the stone, while honing creates a soft and matte look. Costs for granite depend on many variables, including color, finish, and origin of the stone.
Perhaps more importantly, granite is a very durable product that will last a lifetime if properly maintained. Like all natural stone, though, it does require periodic sealing to protect it from life’s little spills and mishaps. Most granite stands up well to scratching due to its natural density. Since granite was formed from the earth’s hot core, it also holds up well to the average kitchen’s hot items. Other natural stone materials, like marble, limestone, and soapstone, are softer than granite and require delicate use and greater care. In the Trendmaker Homes’ design center, we have an assortment of granite selections that range from low to high pricing so there is something for every budget.
Silestone, Cambria, and other manmade quartz products are next in the popularity line for kitchen countertops. There actually are two reasons why manufactured quartz is so popular. Number one, it’s easy to maintain because it’s not porous and doesn’t require sealing like its granite counterpart. Marble counters are always showcased in magazines, but they are just not as practical. Natural marble is very porous and has an inherent chemical that reacts to anything acidic and there are way too many things in a kitchen that are acidic. Customers who love the look of marble should really consider Silestone or Cambria for their counters to achieve a beautiful look without the worry. The only real drawback to this product is that you will still need to use a hot pad for those hot dishes that come off the stove or out of the oven. The second reason customers choose manmade quartz is because they want a clean, simple design that is harder to find within the typical patterning of granite. It is an excellent choice for a modern kitchen with lots of sleek designs to consider. Quartz tends to range in price from mid to high; however, the cost of upgrading for easy maintenance and consistency in pattern might be worth it for your peace of mind.
Natural quartz is beautiful and has a soft pattern similar to that of marble, but it is more durable. The durability and maintenance of natural quartz and granite are very similar except that natural quartz is even denser and slightly less porous than granite. Due to the typical patterns seen with this material, it is an excellent choice for those who enjoy the look of marble but do not want to worry so much about stains and etching that occur with marble. The only reason why natural quartz is not as popular as granite or manufactured quartz is price. Natural quartz ranks as our highest price point for counters. However, natural quartz is gorgeous, so if your budget allows, it could be worth the cost. If you love elegant natural beauty, and durability, then natural quartz would be an investment to really consider.
When it comes to making the right choice, consider what color and style will go best with your cabinets, backsplash, and floors. Look at pictures online and make a file of what stands out. Samples and swatches are your best friend. According to HGTV, “Before making a decision on countertop material, see the surface in person, whether that means visiting a showroom or viewing samples in-home.” Can't decide on just one material? It’s OK to mix and match. Use a different material or color on islands than the rest of the kitchen; it’s a great way to differentiate the space and create contrast.
Counters will always be one of the most important items you’ll select in your home for both aesthetics and functional reasons. Now you can make the right choice!
About the author: Theresa Miller is a Design Consultant Manager for Trendmaker Homes, Houston.