Real Estate is a people business. An agent’s job is to connect with their client, listen to their needs and concerns, and provide guidance and service. That being said, it often surprises me how little some real estate agents actually know about houses and the materials used to build them. If you ask about the flooring, the cabinets, or the countertops, often you’ll hear, “I’m not sure.” Some are content to judge a home based on its appearance but for others, more information is needed. Over the next couple weeks, I will share with you the different options available for home finishes and the pros and cons of each choice. Today we will start with countertops.
Easily the most common and cheapest choice for a kitchen countertop. Made from a plastic laminate of paper or fabric with melamine resin, laminate resists stains, impacts, and heat. It is easy to clean and comes in a variety of colors, finishes, and textures. On the con side, Seams are visible, it can be scratched and nicked, and isn’t repairable.
Solid Surface (Corian).
Composed of acrylic polymer and alumina trihydrate, solid surface counters are heat and impact resistant, stain resistant, and seamless. They come in a variety of colors and although they can be scratched or cut easily, scratches can be buffed out and repaired. It is non-porous and waterproof and doesn’t require any maintenance or sealing.
Nothing looks as lux as natural stone, featuring rich veining and specks in a wide range of colors. Though strong and heat resistant, granite requires special care to maintain its appearance. It must be sealed to prevent stains and chips can only be repaired by a professional.
Marble is a natural stone with white brightness not available in granite. Unlike granite, marble can be nicked or scratched easily, but those marks can be polished out. Marble requires sealing to prevent stains, but it stays cools, making it ideal for rolling out pantry dough. Rare varieties can be very expensive, but more common marble like Carrera is usually cheaper.
Providing the look of natural stone without the maintenance, quartz is an engineered material made from stone chips, resins, and pigments. It’s waterproof, doesn’t require sealing, and comes in a variety of colors. Like natural stone, it can chip and has to be repaired by a professional.
Concrete provides endless customization. It can be cast into complex shapes and colored, textured or patterned. Depending on the mix, it can be stronger than natural stone but quality is dependent on the installer. Concrete must be sealed with both a topical sealant for stains and a penetrating sealer for heat.
A cheaper alternative to solid stone, tile countertops come in a wealth of colors materials, sizes, and patterns. They are easy to maintain and clean and the surface is heat- and stain-resistant. However, grout lines stain even when sealed and tiles can chip or crack. It’s a good idea to have extra tiles to repair localized damage.
Now you are ready to decide for yourself the material you prefer. Call me when you are ready to find the kitchen counter you want in a new home.