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How to Choose the Right Countertops

July 30, 2020
View of the kitchen in the Elias plan in Edgemont located in Edmonton

Interior designers often say that kitchens make the house. When done correctly, they are the embodiment of style, warmth, and details. They’re the perfect opportunity to showcase your personal style, but a kitchen has to do more than look good – it needs to function appropriately for how you will use it.

We connected with our design experts at Brookfield Residential Edmonton for their recommendations for choosing the right countertops for your home.

Countertop Materials 101

Countertop surfaces have come a long way since the days of formica! With so many options available, it can be tough to know what material is going to work best for you and your home.

Granite

  • A natural stone that is durable and less porous than other materials, but needs to be properly sealed to ensure it doesn’t stain.
  • Comes in a wide-range of colours and variations.
  • Heat-resistant so you can take a pot right off the stove and place it directly on the granite.
  • One of the more affordable options available.

Marble

  • A classic and timeless natural beauty, but a very porous stone making it susceptible to staining.
  • Needs a lot of sealing (every 1 – 2 years) and, even then, can still stain with oils, red wine, pasta sauce if left for a period of time.
  • Heat resistant, but not as effective as other options so it may experience slight burns, cracking from thermal shock or discolouration.
  • Expensive

Quartz

  • Man-made surface that is stain, scratch, heat, acid and impact resistant.
  • Comes in an array of colours and options.
  • Quartz is antibacterial and not porous so it doesn’t need to be sealed.
  • Very practical, durable, and easy to maintain.
  • Quartzite countertops (the sister surface to quartz) are more susceptible to chips and require initial sealing and yearly re-sealing maintenance.
  • 2 cm quartz countertops come standard on every Brookfield Residential Edmonton home

white quartz kitchen countertops in Edmonton

Countertop Maintenance

What is sealing?

  • A sealer deeply penetrates into the countertop material to help prevent surface stains and make daily clean up easier.

How often do I need to re-seal my countertops?

  •  A really good sealing should be done every few years by the stone company themselves. Other maintenance products should include a daily cleaner you can get from a home improvement store or just some good soap and water.
  • Granite, marble, and natural quartz all need to be sealed, but man-made quartz does not.
  • When applying sealer yourself, make sure you thoroughly clean the countertops and allow to dry completely before applying. Gel gloss is one of the easier products to use – it’s similar to waxing your car: apply, let sit, then buff out.

Final Decisions

How do I choose what’s right for me?

  •  Assess how your kitchen will be used then decide what product makes sense based on your budget, material durability, maintenance, and cost.
  • Granite countertops tend to look busier with a lot of movement and colours making them more ideal for a more traditional design.
  • Marble is usually not recommended in the kitchen since it is easy to stain and scratch.
  • Quartz can imitate the look of marble without the maintenance or price tag.

Is there a price difference between all three?

  •  Pricing for granite depends on availability and source, but tends to be a more affordable option.
  • Quartz depends on the pattern – because it’s a man-made product, the price is reflective of how much work is put into creating that pattern.
  • Marble tends to be a more luxurious product and the price is typically on the higher end of the spectrum.

Honed Granite Countertops in Brookfield Residential Edmonton

What’s the difference between polished and honed finish?

  • A polished finish is created by grinding down the surface of the material using fine abrasives until it results in a natural shine. This enables the countertop to reflect more light giving it a glossy appearance.
  • Polished finishes can be great for small spaces as they amplify the light and can make the space look bigger.
  • Polished surfaces are more stain resistant and forgiving in terms of hiding things like a few crumbs since the light is bouncing off the areas around the debris.
  • A honed finish reflects a minimal amount of light and gives a more matte appearance.
  • Honed finishes are more scratch resistant and better suited for heavy use.

How do I remove a stain from my countertop?

  •  Go to a marble or granite outlet and they will have products specifically designed to help clean and bring the stain out.
  • Try a little baking soda and water on a paper towel – rub the mixture on the stain and let sit for a few minutes. Then, remove the mixture, clean, dry thoroughly, and apply your sealer.

Once you find your dream home with Brookfield Residential, you have the opportunity to design the perfect kitchen. With so many stylish countertop options available, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Our team is happy to help you design the best place to call home.

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