Nowadays there is no shortage of choices when it comes to choosing a new countertop for your dream kitchen. When doing so, make sure to take into consideration the durability, maintenance, and overall look of the material in combination with your kitchens design aesthetic and be sure to choose a material that best suits your personality and your lifestyle!
Here is some basic information to consider about the different materials to help you in your decision making process.
Engineered Quartz – A composite of rock, aggregate, resin, and pigments. It can withstand heat up to 400 degrees (although sustained heat can cause cracking). Quartz is non porous so it will resist scratching, staining and corrosion. There is usually no need for periodic re-staining. Chips, stains, and scratches are rare, but irreparable; and dark colors tend to be less susceptible to them.
Wood – Wood varieties will range from exotic to domestic. Remove light stains with a damp cloth and a mild dish washing soap. Rinse, then follow with a cloth dampened with with vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Even if you choose a hard maple butcher block, use a cutting board for food prep as it will keep the counter top clean and help it to last longer. Wood finished with Tung Oil requires no additional re-touching. Wood finished with mineral oil should be refinished approximately once per month.
Soapstone – Soapstone is made of mineral talc, quartz, and other minerals. It is a mainstay in science laboratories. Softer yet less porous than granite, it is extremely heat resistant; hot pans can be placed directly on surface. Apply Mineral oil weekly to monthly until the surface stops darkening – this may take up to a year or more. Then reapply every six months.
Granite – Granite is a a hard, volcanic rock. It is heat resistant & durable, but may crack when exposed to heat repeatedly, so trivets should be used. Granite comes in a wide variety of colors and no two pieces are exactly the same. Consistent Granite has the same pattern throughout; variegated granite has veins. Maintaining granite is fairly simple – dust as needed and clean with a damp cloth and a pH-neutral cleaner formulated for stone. When water droplets no longer bead on the surface, it needs resealing.
Stainless Steel – Rugged and easy to clean, it is a must have in professional kitchens due to the fact that there are no seams to trap grime and bacteria. Simply us spray cleaners designed for stainless steel to remove finger prints and water marks. Always wipe with the grain. Camouflage minor scratches by rubbing them with a gentle nylon abrasive pad. Deep scratches are unfortunately likely there to stay.
Marble – Beautiful and long lasting, but easier to chip and stain than granite as it is a softer and more porous stone. Many will confine it to a center island or baking center. Since it does not conduct heat, it is ideal to roll out dough. Keep Marble clean by wiping with a damp cloth and a pH-Neutral cleaner formulated for stone and reseal when drops of water no longer bead on the surface. Protect from acidic foods (lemons, tomatoes, & vinegar) which can etch it.
*some information was gathered / quoted form Martha Stewart Living