When remodeling a kitchen or bath, one of your many product decisions will be countertops. In addition to color, there are a few points to keep in mind when making this choice.

Price: Countertops is the area that can be used to save cost if your budget is tight. Depending upon the size of your kitchen, it’s easy to spend $4,000-$6,000 on granite or quartz countertops. Laminate countertops (or do you call them Formica?) can save you thousands. There are some very beautiful colors and patterns available today, as well as new edge profiles. We’ve all used laminate tops somewhere and know that while they are not as durable as granite they hold up well with care. Saving on the tops may allow you to upgrade your cabinets or appliances. Most homeowners would never think of replacing their granite tops after 5 years but with laminate tops you are more likely to let them go.

In the bath, look for remnant pieces of granite or quartz for smaller tops. Most stone fabricators are happy to move a leftover piece that has been sitting taking up space.

Maintenance/Durability: Quartz is king when it comes to maintenance. There’s just not much you have to do. Quartz products don’t have to be sealed like granite, and while granite can vary in its hardness, quartz is very strong.

Granite is a great product and may need to be sealed periodically. The general rule of thumb is the darker the granite, the less porous, and therefore it would need to be sealed less frequently. The process of sealing a top is very simple and should not discourage you from choosing granite.

An alternative to traditional granite is Soap Stone. It’s a softer product and needs a little mineral oil to keep it looking fresh. As a “natural” product it’s not meant to look perfect like granite or quartz.

Corian is still a wonderful product for kitchen or bath use. Bowls can be seamed right into the top which makes cleaning a snap. You can actually remove minor scratches and surface staining with a Scotch Brite pad and Soft Scrub.

FYI, we have yet to see a countertop manufacturer recommend you cut or put hot pans on their products!

Fashion: Yes, the kitchen and bath industry is about style too. We serve the middle market and while tops of wood, steel, recycled glass/paper, and concrete may be a nice story it’s all about granite and quartz with our homeowners. Sometimes granites can have loads of variation in color and you have to actually pick out the slabs from which your tops will be made. Many people find the differences beautiful, but if you are not in that group, take a look at quartz. Many quartz colors are very stable and you can pick your color from a sample right in the showroom.

So, good luck with your countertop choice and bath or kitchen remodel. We wish you many years of great cooking, relaxing bathing, and loads of fun choosing your perfect top!