Selecting the Right Countertop Material
Selecting the Right Countertop Material
April 20, 2022
Architects and interior designers share their views on what they look for in a kitchen countertop and what is their favourite countertop material, to Mrinmoy Dey
Countertops set the tone for the kitchen, so it is important to choose materials and a look that not only reflect the client’s style but also is in line with how the client will use the kitchen. Kitchen countertops are a quintessential kitchen interior material without which the design would be essential incomplete.
But there are so many options available in the contemporary market these days – there’s quartz, laminates, marble, granite, Corian and so many more, each with sub-categories of their own. So while it provides plenty of options it also makes choosing the perfect countertop for the project a bit more cumbersome.
Photo Courtesy: Classic Marble Company
Granite is on the must-have list for many homebuyers. But engineered stone products made primarily of quartz are replacing granite in high-end design today, and their functionality as a stain-resistant, durable, sleek-looking surface fulfils lifestyle and aesthetic prerequisites for many. Meanwhile, concrete has come a long way. With more colours and a sleek finish, today’s concrete surfaces are more durable. Crushed glass surfaces provide an opulent focal point.
Granite: Riding a wave of popularity for the last several years as the surface for countertops, granite is available in several grades, patterns, colours and thicknesses. It is more durable than marble, won't scratch, is resistant to stains, heat and water if sealed, is low maintenance and have high resale value. However, the material is expensive and requires sealing about once a year.
Engineered stone: These are quartz surfaces composed of 93% quartz particles and available in a larger range of colours than granite. It is nonporous, resists scratches and stains, is easy to maintain, and no sealant is required. However, it is not entirely heatproof.
Laminates: This material is stain-resistant, waterproof, has lots of colour options, is low-maintenance and inexpensive. However, it is soft, can crack and scratch and is not heatproof.
Ceramic tile: On the positive side, the material is durable, easy to install and clean, heat and moisture-resistant and has a wide range of colours and textures available despite being inexpensive. However, tiles do crack and get scratched. And perhaps the biggest downside: tiles require grouting.
Concrete: Cast concrete counters can be poured to suit countertops of all shapes. They can be cast in the kitchen, or produced off-site and installed after the fact. The great thing about concrete is its durability. Plus, today’s concrete is even stronger because of treatments that eliminate cracking and seal the surface so it’s less porous. This style suits a modern kitchen—concrete can be dyed in a range of colours.
Solid surfaces: Solid surfaces offer the same seamless look as engineered stone, except these are not resistant to stains and can scratch.
Stainless steel: This industrial-strength surface provides a sleek finish in modern kitchens. It’s easy to clean and heatproof. But stainless steel can scratch and dent, so you can’t cut on stainless.
The first quality that I will look for in the countertop would be the durability of the material. How sturdy it is and how resilient it is to abrasion and heavy usage and overall the longevity of the product. As such, Indian kitchens are heavily used and countertops are subject to wear and tear due to heavy usage.
Even if the kitchen ages by 10-12 years, the countertop is the first thing you look at. Joints, where dirt can stick, are another aspect. While making a countertop with stone the joints come into play. Even in Corian sometimes after expansion, the joints start showing up. Besides the cleanliness and hygiene aspect, it also affects the look of the kitchen.
Other than this, the brightness of the material is also a factor. The countertop should make the space vibrant and lively. Mostly, we go for neutral plain colours for the countertop. White and shades of bright colour are preferred over black or brown. This is because utensils look far better against the white backdrop rather than black. However, grey has been a widely used colour on the countertop!
As a countertop material, Quartz is our most preferred option. Solid surface has been around for a long time and is continuously getting renewed. So we can always have a look at what they are offering. Concrete is a new material that has come in the last 4-5 years – more so internationally. In most of the Italian shows, I have visited concrete is a dominant material in contemporary kitchens, especially as a countertop material. Be it cast on-site or Enamel. It’s a very interesting material and lively to play with! It offers many design possibilities and gives the kitchen a fresh look.
FOAID Design Studio
The kitchen per sq ft has more storage space than any space in the whole house. So, it needs to be very carefully designed. Attention has to be given to all the materials and also their positioning in the Kitchen. For example, take the cupboards to the top level; make sure the flooring is non-skiddy.
And, as far as I am concerned, nothing can beat black granite as a kitchen countertop material, especially for Indian Kitchens. This is because Indian cooking involves a lot of masalas, oils etc which stains the material. It is also subject to heavy usage. Considering the Indian cooking habits, black granite is the only one that can sustain all those pressure.
CCBA Designs Pvt Ltd