6210 Nesbitt Road, Madison, WI 53719

Choosing a Countertop That is Right for You

Choosing a countertop for your kitchen can be overwhelming with all of the varying materials, colors, durability, and pricing that are out there. Countertops are an important design element and can often pull the focus — for better or worse — in a space. Not to mention it’s what you’ll be looking at as you prep and serve all that food!

Here at Bella Domicile, countertops are one of the main things our clients have questions about. What’s the difference between quartz and granite? What material will work best for my household? How easy are they to maintain? Below we’ve put together an overview of our most popular types of countertop materials. Read on for our take on the pros, cons, and all things countertop!

LAMINATE

You’ve seen laminate countertops around. Remember the riot of countertop color (avocado green, mustard yellow, rust orange) from the ‘70’s? Think brands like Wilsonart and Formica. Laminate countertops are made with a high-pressure laminate adhered to a plywood substrate. Laminate surfaces have come a long way. Formica’s 180fx line, for example, features scaled high-resolution patterns that mimic natural stone.

Pros

  • Color selection: comes in hundreds of colors and patterns.
  • Easy to clean.

Cons

  • Easy to scratch or chip, revealing the plywood underneath.
  • Limited resistance to heat.
  • Edge details can be tricky (think that brown line we’ve all seen at the edge of laminate countertops).

Maintenance
A damp cloth with mild soap as needed. Unless you encounter a nick or scratch – then it’s time to call a professional.

 

SOLID SURFACE

Solid surface is most often found in bathrooms. It’s a good choice there as well as in kitchens since the sink can be molded in place (no seams!) and it’s the perfect material choice for water. Corian is probably the most well-known name brand of solid surface out there, though there are several others. Solid surface is made from resins colored with fillers and pigments (so, yes, it’s plastic) which is then heated at intense temperatures and cast into virtually any shape imaginable.

Pros

  • Inexpensive compared to most stone and quartz countertops.
  • Nonporous, resistant to stains and bacteria.
  • Sinks and backsplashes can be formed with the countertop for a seamless installation.
  • Huge range of colors from solids to patterns that mimic natural stone.

Cons

  • Easily scratched. These can be buffed out, though it’s best to call a professional.
  • Sensitive to heat. Remember, it’s plastic!
  • Since solid surface countertops are made from nonrenewable resources, you may want to look elsewhere if ecological and environmental impacts are important to you.

Maintenance

A cloth with soapy water or a kitchen towel to dry up splashes. The lack of seams makes this one of the easiest surfaces to clean! Though again, if you encounter a scratch, it’s best to have it looked at.

 

GRANITE 

 

Thanks to HGTV, granite has reigned as the gold standard in kitchen countertops for the past few decades. Granite is a natural stone that is mined from the earth. Slabs are cut and it is from these large slabs that countertops are cut to a project’s specifications.

 

Pros

  • The look and beauty of natural stone. Certain slabs are especially unique. Some stones and patterns are very rare, and, of course, no two slabs are ever exactly alike.
  • Scratch resistant. Stain and water-resistant when properly sealed.
  • There are a variety of finish options, from matte to polished to even leather.

Cons

  • Can be expensive. Some of the more common colors are similar to the cost of a solid surface material, but if you fall in love with a particularly unique slab the cost can skyrocket fast.
  • Related to the above, fabricators typically require you to buy full slabs even if you don’t utilize all of it.
  • Requires sealing. Granite is a naturally porous surface that requires annual sealing to prevent stains and bacteria from seeping into the surface.

Maintenance

Most days a soft cloth with water and a gentle soap or granite-specific cleaner work just fine. About once a year or so the surface should be sealed with a granite sealer which is a simple DIY, and one we urge you not to forget!

 

QUARTZ 

Quartz is one of our most popular countertop surfaces, with brands like Cambria, Silestone, and Caesarstone at the forefront of the market. Where granite slabs are cut from stone in the ground, quartz countertops are man-made slabs. Quartz slabs are made from 90-95% ground quartz, with the remaining 5-10% made up of pigments and resins that give the slabs their color and pattern. The slabs are then cut to the specifications of each project, just like granite and other natural stones.

Pros

  • Durable and nonporous, so it is scratch, heat, stain, and water-resistant.
  • Color and pattern variety. Many companies such as Cambria now offer slabs that come in as much variety as natural stone.
  • The variety of finish and edge options.
  • Eco-friendly. Quartz is non-toxic, non-allergenic, emits few VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and often boasts recycled content.

Cons

  • Quartz is one of the more expensive options out there.
  • Though some claim quartz to be heat-proof, we always recommend hot pads and trivets with any countertop surface!

Maintenance

A soft cloth with water or mild soap is all you need.

 

DEKTON 

What now? Of all the materials on this list, Dekton is probably the one you are most unfamiliar with. Dekton arrived on the scene in 2013 and has been steadily gaining popularity as a countertop choice. Its makeup consists of quartz, glass, porcelain, and pigments put under intense heat and then compacted (they call it ultracompacted) to make it really strong.

Pros

  • Like quartz, it is scratch, heat, stain, and water-resistant.
  • High-level pricing.
  • Good choice for outdoor areas. Unlike other countertop materials, it is resistant to fading from UV rays.

Cons

  • As with any material, you should see it in person to determine if it’s right for you.
  • Only available in 1cm & 2cm thickness

Maintenance

Water with a soft cloth and a mild cleanser when needed.

Still have countertop questions or want to see these materials in person? Stop by our showroom or contact Bella Domicile to meet with one of our talented designers today! Call (608) 271-8241 or fill out an appointment request form here.

 

 

Choosing a Countertop That is Right for You

Choosing a countertop for your kitchen can be overwhelming with all of the varying materials, colors, durability, and pricing that are out there. Countertops are an important design element and can often pull the focus — for better or worse — in a space. Not to mention it’s what you’ll be looking at as you prep and serve all that food!

Here at Bella Domicile, countertops are one of the main things our clients have questions about. What’s the difference between quartz and granite? What material will work best for my household? How easy are they to maintain? Below we’ve put together an overview of our most popular types of countertop materials. Read on for our take on the pros, cons, and all things countertop!

LAMINATE

You’ve seen laminate countertops around. Remember the riot of countertop color (avocado green, mustard yellow, rust orange) from the ‘70’s? Think brands like Wilsonart and Formica. Laminate countertops are made with a high-pressure laminate adhered to a plywood substrate. Laminate surfaces have come a long way. Formica’s 180fx line, for example, features scaled high-resolution patterns that mimic natural stone.

Pros

Cons

Maintenance
A damp cloth with mild soap as needed. Unless you encounter a nick or scratch – then it’s time to call a professional.

 

SOLID SURFACE

Solid surface is most often found in bathrooms. It’s a good choice there as well as in kitchens since the sink can be molded in place (no seams!) and it’s the perfect material choice for water. Corian is probably the most well-known name brand of solid surface out there, though there are several others. Solid surface is made from resins colored with fillers and pigments (so, yes, it’s plastic) which is then heated at intense temperatures and cast into virtually any shape imaginable.

Pros

Cons

Maintenance

A cloth with soapy water or a kitchen towel to dry up splashes. The lack of seams makes this one of the easiest surfaces to clean! Though again, if you encounter a scratch, it’s best to have it looked at.

 

GRANITE 

 

Thanks to HGTV, granite has reigned as the gold standard in kitchen countertops for the past few decades. Granite is a natural stone that is mined from the earth. Slabs are cut and it is from these large slabs that countertops are cut to a project’s specifications.

 

Pros

Cons

Maintenance

Most days a soft cloth with water and a gentle soap or granite-specific cleaner work just fine. About once a year or so the surface should be sealed with a granite sealer which is a simple DIY, and one we urge you not to forget!

 

QUARTZ 

Quartz is one of our most popular countertop surfaces, with brands like Cambria, Silestone, and Caesarstone at the forefront of the market. Where granite slabs are cut from stone in the ground, quartz countertops are man-made slabs. Quartz slabs are made from 90-95% ground quartz, with the remaining 5-10% made up of pigments and resins that give the slabs their color and pattern. The slabs are then cut to the specifications of each project, just like granite and other natural stones.

Pros

Cons

Maintenance

A soft cloth with water or mild soap is all you need.

 

DEKTON 

What now? Of all the materials on this list, Dekton is probably the one you are most unfamiliar with. Dekton arrived on the scene in 2013 and has been steadily gaining popularity as a countertop choice. Its makeup consists of quartz, glass, porcelain, and pigments put under intense heat and then compacted (they call it ultracompacted) to make it really strong.

Pros

Cons

Maintenance

Water with a soft cloth and a mild cleanser when needed.

Still have countertop questions or want to see these materials in person? Stop by our showroom or contact Bella Domicile to meet with one of our talented designers today! Call (608) 271-8241 or fill out an appointment request form here.