How Do I... Select a Kitchen Countertop?
Get to know the different types of countertop materials and how to use them
To help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing the right type of countertop material for your kitchen, here’s a list of the most popular and their pros and cons.
The quartz we use for kitchen countertops is an ‘engineered’ product – a stone that’s been through a manufacturing process to create a material that’s basically maintenance-free since they are acid, scratch, stain, heat and impact resistant.
Price: $150 to $220 per foot run
Everything you need to know about quartz countertops
Granite countertops are the number one preferred choice in Singapore according to interior stylist Priscilla Tan from Styledbypt.
“Most of my clients go for granite rather than solid surface or marble countertops as it’s usually mid-range in price and does not stain as easily as some solid surfaces; and it is not as crazy expensive as a slab of marble,” explains Tan.
“The colour options for granite are also extremely varied, providing a great choice for any kitchen design,” she says.
Granite comes in a variety of ‘grain’ – a little like wood – and while this makes for an interesting look, it can be difficult to match if you’re looking to have a large expanse of countertop.
Price: $90 to $160 per foot run (joint line every 6 feet)
Everything you need to know about granite countertops
According to Eleanor, Compact Laminates are the newest trend for kitchen countertops in Singapore. They’re also being used as backsplashes and are available in a variety of different finishes like wood and stone. “Compact laminates are best used for places where more demanding applications are required,” says Lim.
“FENIX NTM has many properties, amongst which is that it is extremely matte with fingerprint-resistant qualities,” says Eleanor. “This combines the recent matte trend with Compact worktops. The Nero Ingo (matte black) decor has been particularly popular due to the difficulties in finding suitable matte black surfaces before.”
You can see an example of how this product in matte black was used in a project by Solid Architects.
Price: varies according on type
Everything you need to know about laminate countertops
Price: depends on the type of wood
Everything you need to know about wood countertops
Price: $90 to $160 per foot run
Everything you need to know about marble countertops
If you’re going for an industrial look for your kitchen you might want to invest in stainless steel countertops. As the name implies, this material doesn’t stain and is super easy to clean - one of the reasons it’s common in commercial kitchens.
Price: $75 to $150 per square foot
Everything you need to know about stainless steel countertops
A glass countertop can look super modern – almost too modern. The layering of the coloured components and the clear glass to create the countertop gives it a clinical look.
The great thing about glass, however, is that you can have it formed into any shape, and you can go with matching splashbacks too.
Price: $50 to $100 per square foot (depending on shape and size)
There are a variety of materials used to make recycled countertops – everything from paper to plastic and reused concrete and glass. Terrazzo is a material that’s made of concrete mixed with old glass or even chips of marble and granite; you can also find PaperStone which really is made of paper and eco-friendly resin but looks a lot like stone.
Recycled countertops are generally environmentally-friendly, durable and relatively affordable.
Price: PaperStone $18 to $30 per square foot
Everything you need to know about eco-friendly countertops
Concrete is relatively cheap, and has good eco-properties since it is very energy efficient. It is, however a little prone to cracking and chipping, especially if the structure isn’t well supported internally.
Price: Up to $120 per square foot
Everything you need to know about concrete countertops
If you’re looking for a more bohemian or even country cottage look for your kitchen, you might want to look at using a soapstone countertop. Although it is a relatively soft stone compared to granite, it comes in a lovely range of grey tones and will darken with age. It has a nice sheen to it – not too shiny and not too matte. You don’t need to seal soapstone, but you will need to regularly oil it with mineral oil to stop it from staining; this will also help the soapstone darken.
It is difficult to find in Singapore and rather expensive. But if your kitchen is small, it could be just what you’re looking for.
Price: $160 to $200 per square foot
Everything you need to know about soapstone countertops
When I read that tile countertops were making a bit of a comeback, I have to say I was a bit shocked. I spent eight years in an old HDB apartment that came with its original fully-tiled concrete kitchen, and I have to say it was neither attractive, nor easy to care for. I was always worried about getting the dirt out of the grout.
Price: $10 to $80 per square foot, installed (depending on the tiles)
Everything you need to know about tile countertops
It’s a man-made material that can look and feel like a natural product but is designed to be more durable, easier to clean and to come in a wider variety of colours.
Corian was one of the first – it’s a mix of minerals and acrylic resin and can be cleaned of scratches and stains with an abrasive cleaner. It can also be formed into solid-form shapes like sinks and dish drainer so you get a perfectly seamless look.
Other types of solid surfaces include Silestone which is 90 per cent quartz, Staron which is 100 per cent acrylic and Formica Solid Surfacing material which is a mix of acrylic and polyester.
Price: $70 to $150 depending on brand
Everything you need to know about solid surface countertops
Which kitchen countertop is right for you? Take this easy quiz to find out!
What countertop material do you have, and would you change it to any mentioned here? Tell us in the Comments below. And don’t forget to save your favourite images, bookmark the story, and join in the conversation.