March 13, 2009, Newsletter Issue #42: Are Expensive Kitchen Counter Tops Really Better?

Tip of the Week

When you begin to design a kitchen, you'll find there are many more options for other kitchen elements such as counter tops. But are the newer materials really better? Is a marble counter top worth the price? This answer is not as easy as it seems. You may simply fall in love with a certain material and have to have it. Maybe you are willing to sacrifice somewhere else to afford it.

In any case, take some time to separate design features from current trends, or you may find in a year your neighbor installs just as nice a counter top for less money than you did. With all the options available today - -and with newer materials designed to mimic expensive ones -- you should be able to find a counter top you like in your price range. Also, some more expensive counter tops may be guaranteed for a long time. Considering the longevity, it may be a good deal. On the other hand, a fancy-looking counter top may perform poorly.

Plastic laminate counter tops are likely the least expensive. They resist stains and are available in a lot of choices. But, in the case of a serious accident, like a hot pot being placed directly on it, laminate counter tops will need replaced. Solid-surface counter tops, made of polyester or acrylic can be purchased in faux stone and other finishes, and are more durable than laminate. They are also more expensive. Ceramic counter tops are also durable and offer many design choices, while granite counter tops are almost as hard as a diamond. Granite is quite expensive when compared to other choices but can be purchased in tiles to save money. Other high-end counter tops include limestone and marble.

Ask a qualified expert about the key differences in warranty and performance before you buy -- and consider buying the best material you can afford to ensure your kitchen remodeling project investment lasts as long as possible.

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