Continuing our review of the vast options available for kitchen counter top materials, let’s take a closer look at solid surface, tile and laminate.
Corian: A trademarked brand of solid surface material, this type of counter is made of solid synthetic sheets formed by mixing a mineral compound with polyester and/or acrylic resins and is color consistent
Upside: custom-made to fit your space; any nicks and scratches can be sanded out and is stain-resistant. Available in a wide range of colors, textures and patterns
Downside: Can be expensive; doesn’t have the same look and feel as natural stone. May crack when exposed to hot pots, will stain or scratch but can be scrubbed or sanded out
Cost: About $40-$90 per square foot.
Choices are ceramic, porcelain and quarry tiles. Unglazed tiles (which generally have a matte finish) must be sealed; glazed tiles are impervious to water. For a customized look at a reasonable cost, combine hand-painted, vintage or imported tiles with inexpensive, monochromatic tiles.
Upside: Economical, durable and heat/ moisture resistant. You can create some interesting and unique designs. Lower cost alternative.
Downside: Can chip or crack. Grout lines can be hard to keep clean and will require regular maintenance to prevent staining. The tile surface won’t be smooth enough for cutting or rolling dough.
Cost: About $5-$100 per square foot, depending on how decorative and unique a look you want.
Laminate is a synthetic material made up of several layers of kraft paper, a decorative paper and a melamine plastic coating. A great cost savings tip is to use natural stone on an island or bar top with a coordinating laminate on the remainder of the counters.
Both Lowes and Home Depot carry standard sized pieces in a handful of neutral colors that are easy to install yourself.
Upside: Economical, comes in a variety of finishes and some look like stone, granite or solid surface; easy to clean
Downside: Not scratch resistant and may chip; not heat resistant
Cost: Expect to pay about $10-$45 per square foot.
In case you missed it, here’s Part 1: Natural Stone:
Some important things to consider when making your choice: