Compare Kitchen Countertops
(And Bath Too!!!)



Compare Kitchen Countertops
(And Bath Too!)

Nothing says elegance like a solid granite or quartz countertop. (Nor does anything say “ouch!” when you are trying to lift and install it either!!).  When you compare kitchen countertops, you have to look at everything, pro and con.

Arguably the best countertops for your kitchen and bath are quartz; but quartz can be a budget breaker, and not everyone likes the look and feel of quartz. If your budget is tight, you will have to go with laminate countertops for kitchen or bath, but some are so beautiful, they shout ELEGANCE!! to the rooftops as well.

COMPARE KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS - YOUR OPTIONS

When you compare kitchen countertops, you will find the following available:

Laminate Countertop:

A plastic laminate that will be the least expensive for your home.  Any variations from a "standard" top will be an up-charge and cost more, but not near as spendy as granite or quartz.  It should last a while too.  If it's taken care of and not abused, at least 20 years or more.  Click here from our Compare Kitchen Countertops page to our Laminate Kitchen Countertops page for more specific information on laminate.

Choose from an endless selection ranging from basic colors to the granite look with several companies to choose from:

  • Formica
  • Wilsonart
  • Pionte
  • Nevamar

Wooden or Butcher Block Countertops: 

Can be homemade or factory built.  A 2x2 foot chunk can easily cost $75 or more, plus installation.  They are usually made from hard maple, and are usually used as an accent.  For example, butcher block will be used for an island top, or for a 2 foot section right next to your stove.

If you want the look of butcher block throughout your entire kitchen, but can't afford real butcher block, there are several laminate options (laminate comes in almost any color and style).

Marble Countertops:

There are real marble countertops, often a tile.  They look like marble and are very expensive.  You will rarely find a marble countertop in any home.

99% of the time, what people are calling "marble" is the resin formed top that is cultured marble, which is more expensive than laminate, but affordable.  You'll find these tops on bath vanities.

The marble countertop at right is on top of a maple bath vanity that we built and installed.  It is a flat white, double bowl countertop.  The customer choose a flat white so this marble top would look like a solid surface top (and it does), but wouldn't be as expensive as solid surface (about 1/2 the price).  The handles on this top are 8" on center, rather than the normal 4"** If your plumbing fixtures are anything other than "normal", or if you don't know, be sure to tell your cabinet maker or salesperson what fixture sizes you will be purchasing to make sure the holes in the marble top align with the plumbing fixtures.

Solid Surface Countertops: 

Are a resin, but beautiful and less costly than quartz or granite.  They have a softer look and feel to them.  They also can look seamless when assembled and installed.  Another big benefit is that if you scorch or scratch them, the top can be sanded to look like new.  Click here for more information on solid surface countertops.

The picture at right is a solid surface countertop that we installed over an clear alder kitchen peninsula/island. 

Some major companies that manufacture solid surface include:

  • Corion
  • Visioneer
  • Meganite
  • Wilsonart's Gibraltar
  • Avonite
  • Fountainhead
  • Hi Macs
  • Oxfordstone
  • Formica

Quartz Countertops:  

Are about 97% real quartz (the rest is made up of resin binders), and more uniform in color than granite, but about the same cost.  Quartz is clean and easy to take care of.  It doesn't need to be sealed like granite.   (Pictured at right is a stainless steel sink undermounted into Cambria Quartz).

  • Cambria
  • Silestone
  • Caesars Stone
  • Zodiaq

Granite Countertops: 

When you compare kitchen countertops, granite will vary as much as the stones they are made from.  The price can too.  You can be sure it will be expensive, but how expensive depends on what grade you get and who you purchase it from. 

You can purchase granite from your cabinet maker or local granite shop.  Some places that supply or manufacture granite tombstones also offer granite countertops at very reasonable rates, but make sure they are well versed in installation, and request to see some of their work. (Pictured at right are cherry kitchen cabinets we built and installed, with a Blanco granite countertop that was purchased and installed by a tombstone company.  They also used granite to accent the wall area between base and uppers.)

MEASURING IS KEY

Whether you are going with laminate or granite, correct measuring is key. Be sure you or your installer know how much to add to your actual measurements to allow for scribing to walls.

How disheartening to be installing a $600 laminate countertop to find it won’t fit due to poor measurements. With solid surface, quartz, and granite countertops, you have some wiggle room (you may be able to fix mistakes), but you still need to know how to measure correctly.

SINKS

Yes, when you compare kitchen countertops, you need to think about the sink you are going to get.  Your sink options are often limited according to what countertop you choose. 

Cultured marble tops can (don't have to) already have the sinks built in them.

If you want an undermount sink, in the past you could not have a laminate countertop. Today, companies like Wausau Supply Group in Wisconsin, are mounting solid surface sinks right into laminate countertops for kitchen cabinets (like the one shown at right). They look beautiful and are long lasting.

So, think about:

  • Do you want an undermount sink? It costs more, but is attractive.
  • Know that you can have an undermount sink in a laminate countertop now-a-days (not cheap, but it can be done).
  • How many bowls do you want? Single, Double, Triple? Do you have the room for such a bowl configuration?
  • Do you want a “drop-in” or “self-rimming” sink for your kitchen and bathroom countertops?
  • Are you looking for an apron front (farmhouse) sink?
  • Be sure to let your plumber know your decisions. He/she may have bid out a self-rimming sink, and you’ve just found the perfect apron front sink! It will make a difference in the cost.  (The photo at right is of a Karran undermount solid surface sink installed in a Visioneer solid surface countertop for kitchen cabinets.)  Click to go from our Compare Kitchen Countertops page to our Choosing Solid Surface Countertops page for more information.

    Do your homework when you compare kitchen countertops, and no matter what type you choose, you won't be surprised or disappointed.

    We suggest you get more in-depth information about any of these countertops.  Just click the links above or below.

    And remember -

    Have a Happy Kitchen!!!

    OTHER RELATED SITES:

    Cultured Marble Countertops
    Cultured Marble, Cultured Granite. Know what you're getting and where it will be the most beautiful in your home.

    Granite Countertops
    Lower the cost. Care & Benefits.

    Laminate Kitchen Countertops
    Who are the main players, quality, and do's & don'ts (especially, don't get fooled).

    Quartz Kitchen Countertops
    Absolutely Fabulous Darling!! The great qualities of quartz, plus our 3 favorite manufacturers of quartz countertops.

    Choosing Solid Surface Countertops
    The ONLY Seamless Countertop.

     



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