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Building & Renovating

What’s the Best Kitchen Countertop Material?

Granite, marble, or quartz? Get expert advice from interior designer Erika Uichanco.

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Photography: Jilson Tiu (Main Photos)

When working on the kitchen, many of us focus on three important things: the layout of the space, the appliances we’re bringing in, and storage. Aside from studying our options for the sink and faucet, we also need to do a little research on the material used for the countertop. Since kitchen countertops receive quite a beating on a daily basis—we slice, pound, and grind ingredients while prepping meals—it's important to pick a durable material.

“Choosing the countertop material differs per person, but some of the things to be considered are the budget or willingness to spend, maintenance, durability, and overall look of the countertop. You also need to think about your lifestyle [before making] any decision,” says interior designer Erika Uichanco. Some of the commonly used kitchen countertop materials include granite, marble, quartz, limestone, solid surface, ceramic tiles, concrete, and laminates. “Plan ahead and think of how you’ll use the space eventually,” adds Erika. Are you the type who cooks a lot? Will you be using the kitchen all the time? These are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself. Know more about the pros and cons of the different kinds of materials below:

Granite

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A commonly used material, granite is available in different colors and is known to be durable. “It’s impervious to heat and really known for its durability. On the downside, it can be quite expensive depending on the cut and type. Some slabs might have imperfections that can be very noticeable. It also requires some sealing to avoid stains because it’s porous,” explains the designer. Since it can crack, make sure it’s installed properly and be careful not to drop anything heavy on top of it.

Marble

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Achieve a sleek and elegant cooking area with this go-to material. “The grains of a marble slab are never alike with any other slab so it can make your kitchen very unique. However, it’s priced higher than most countertop materials. It also stains and scratches easily, plus repair can be more difficult,” Erika shares.

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Quartz (Engineered Stone)

We can’t help but remember Kris Aquino’s rose quartz kitchen countertops! This material can definitely leave a lasting impression. “Quartz has recently emerged as one of the top choices for countertops. The advantage is it can be custom-fabricated in any size and shape. Though it’s an engineered stone, it has a natural appearance and generally easier to maintain that natural stones,” says Erika. The best part about quartz is it can resist stains, heat, and acids. “The slabs are uniform as it has one look all through out. A disadvantage would be its price as it’s more costly than purchasing stones,” she adds.

For a similar material, follow Kaufman Stone on Facebook.

Limestone/Soapstone

“These natural stones offer a historic, traditional, and elegant look to a kitchen. Stain-resistant and can be purchased in deep, masculine colors, it’s also impervious to heat,” shares Erika. While damages can be easily sanded out, this material can darken and show signs of discoloration over time. To maintain its look, it must be treated with oils.

Find similar materials at Felport.

Solid Surface

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Do you have a big kitchen and a huge countertop space? You may want to go for solid surface. “It’s available in a lot of colors and patterns, and the seams are virtually invisible. Integrated sink units are available and easily patterns before installation,” explains the designer. If you’re going with this material, keep in mind that heat and hot pans can cause damages. “This must also be fabricated and installed by experienced workers,” Erika adds.

Shop at Rockstone, CW Home Depot Ortigas, 1 Dona Julia Vargas Avenue corner Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.

Ceramic Tile

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Yes, it’s a versatile material that you can also use for your kitchen countertop! Here’s a piece of good news—it’s the easiest to clean and least expensive material you can consider. Another plus for tiles is the wide range of looks you can choose from—from wood and stone to marble and fabric-like—you’ll have enough options to check out. “A con would be the grout lines as these can be very difficult to maintain and clean. It also does not carry the same luxurious look as granite or quartz,” says Erika.

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RL Tip: Shop for these materials at Wilcon Depot, CW Home Depot, and MC Home Depot. You can also visit stone and tile suppliers if you're looking for more luxurious stones. 

Are you planning to give your home a makeover? Get in touch with interior designer Erika Uichanco through email at erika.uichanco[at]gmail.com.

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