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Counter Culture – a look at different types of countertops

What are dream kitchens made of? Well, a number of things, such as stately cabinetry and plentiful counter space, magnificent lighting fixtures, and top of the line appliances. However, if there is one component that typically steals the spotlight it’s the kitchen countertops!

Kitchen countertops are among the hardest working areas in the North American home. Not only are they used for prepping food, but also as a dining surface, for storage and as a place to show-off appliances and display décor. Yet, while homeowners have always wanted their countertops to have a pleasing appearance, good looks have never been as important as they are now.

The difference between the kitchen of today and those of yesteryear is the fact that today’s kitchen no longer lives behind closed doors. As kitchen walls continue to come down and an increasing number of households embrace open-concept living, these surfaces are now part of the shared living space. This means that it is doubly important to have countertops that are not only functional but also stylish.

Choosing the Right Countertops for Your Kitchen

As with any home renovation project, selecting the right kitchen countertops is simply a matter of prioritizing your wants and needs. Do you want something high-end and beautiful, are you looking for something that’s low maintenance, or is price your number one concern? For most homeowners, it’s a combination of a few different factors.

Fortunately, there are a number of different kitchen countertop materials on the market that deliver performance and beauty to suit all budgets. You simply need to decide which attributes matter the most.

Here are some of the most popular countertop options for kitchens


kitchen countertops

Source: House Trends

The countertop darling of kitchen designers and homeowners alike, granite offers an instant richness to any kitchen that it enters. This naturally mottled and flecked stone comes in numerous colours and provides a natural, one-of-a-kind feature to any home. While prices may vary throughout the country, the average price is around $100 per square foot, including installation.

Maintenance Requirements: Yearly sealing.


The popularity of quartz countertops continues to grow year after year, with many homeowners viewing it as a low-maintenance, lower cost alternative to granite. Quartz countertops are made from a combination of ground quartz and epoxy resin. The result is a beautiful stone-like surface that is stain-resistant and non-porous. Quartz generally starts at around $100 per square foot, including installation.

Maintenance Requirements: Basic cleaning.


Laminate countertops are an attractive, affordable way to update your kitchen. Laminate is available in seemingly limitless colours and patterns that can mimic more expensive options. At a price tag ranging between $21 – $40 per square foot, including the cost of installation, it’s no wonder why laminate is one of the most popular kitchen countertop materials in Canada. The biggest downside however, is that certain light colours are highly prone to staining, and offer little to no heat resistance.

Maintenance Requirements: Basic cleaning.


Wood is a beautiful and budget-friendly countertop option that many homeowners tend to overlook. Woods lends a natural warmth and rustic charm to a space that simply cannot be duplicated by anything else. However, wood might not be the material of choice for a home with children. Even when a good sealant is used on the wood, prolonged exposure to soap and water can mar the finish.

Maintenance Requirements: Must be sealed and occasional sanding and refinishing is required.

Stainless Steel

While stainless steel has long been used in professional kitchens, it remains fairly uncommon in most households. As a countertop material, stainless steel is both stain and heat resistant. However, it can be scratched fairly easily, and as many owners of stainless steel appliances can attest, this material can be a magnet for fingerprints.

Maintenance Requirements: Frequent cleaning may be required to keep this material free of fingerprints and watermarks.

Solid Surface

Solid surface (most commonly known by brand names like Corian and Formica) is an engineered material that is highly durable and non-porous. This means that not only is it resistant to stains, but also bacteria as well –making it an ideal choice for food prep areas. Solid surface is available in a wide variety of colours and works well with an integrated sink. On the downside, solid surface is not heat or scratch resistant.

Maintenance Requirements: Basic cleaning.

This is merely a selection of the available countertop materials. In addition to those listed above many others options are available to Canadians, including:

  • Concrete
  • Marble
  • Copper
  • Soapstone
  • Glass

To get a better idea of the different countertop materials that may fit within the style of your home as well as your budget and lifestyle, contact a professional kitchen renovation specialist. An experienced professional will have the knowhow and the industry contacts to help you make the right choice at a price you can afford.

Read more about renovating your kitchen here on

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