Investing in new countertops

IO - Decker

Because they take up so much visual space, countertops are one of the keystones of kitchen design. It’s amazing to see the difference that new countertops can make in a room, even if all of the other elements (such as flooring or cabinetry) stay the same. On the flip side, damaged or dated looking countertops can drag down the aesthetics and functionality of your kitchen. If you only have the time or money to make a single upgrade in the kitchen, chances are that investing in new countertops is a smart way to go.

When selecting new countertops, the first thing you’ll need to consider is the type of material. Each material has certain positive and negative aspects that you should be aware of before making a purchasing decision. Stone (such as granite and quartz) has become one of the most popular choices for homeowners looking to upgrade their kitchen countertops. Stone is easy to clean, durable against heat and resistant to bacterial buildup. It is also scratch-resistant, while other options are not.

While stone is a popular choice, it’s far from the only choice. Also available on the market are solid surfaces and laminates. Solid surfaces are engineered from acrylic or polyester plastics, while laminates are made from a plastic that is adhered to particleboard. These physical properties are important to know, because they play a big role in affecting the functionality of the material. In terms of functionality, stone options are inherently more durable than solid surfaces. Because laminates and solid surfaces can scratch, dirt and bacteria can hide in these crevasses.

The decision comes down to your personal preference. Great looking countertops can be made from any of these materials. However, if you are willing to make the investment, choosing a stone material may pay off in the long run. Stone materials are generally more expensive than other options, but they are typically more long lasting and valued by potential homebuyers. If you know that a move might be coming in the near future, stone might be the way to go.

With all these options and considerations to weigh, selecting new countertops can be a difficult task. If you’re looking for a little guidance, The Affordable Companies Website is a great resource full of blog posts, links and photos that can help you make the best selection for your home. No two homes require the exact same solution, so get creative and search for a countertop that will improve the look and functionality of your kitchen.

David Decker is president of The Affordable Companies, which provide affordable luxury in kitchens, bathrooms and flooring. They are based in Carmel (575-9540, www.the-affordablecompanies.com). E-mail home improvement questions to david.decker@the-affordablecompanies.com.