They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where friends naturally gravitate to during parties and celebrations. It’s where family gathers to share stories around food. Our eyes (and stomachs) are naturally drawn to the kitchen – and it’s easy for our countertops to become a prime focus.
Kitchen counters take a beating. They handle everything from chopping and cooking, hot pots and pans, and accidental spills. You need a countertop that’s not only durable but represents your style in the most complimentary way. If you’re looking to update your countertop, we have some tips and advice on trends to help you pick the most suitable countertop for your lifestyle.
Quartz continues to remain the strong front runner in the choice for kitchen countertops due to its strength, durability, low-maintenance, and wide range of veins and colours.
“One out of every ten customers opt for granite, but the majority are overwhelmingly in favour of quartz,” explains Tony Torelli of Avenue Décor in Newmarket. “In terms of durability, quartz is the way to go. Plus, it’s known for uniformity, so you can pick multiple slabs with little variation, which makes it a perfect option for bigger projects.”
Quartz also comes in numerous colours, patterns, and finishing techniques that replicates the look of natural stone. “The design options are endless with quartz,” Torelli adds. “There are a lot of new products that reflect the patterns in granite or marble, so you can have that high-end look with a more durable finish.”
But Torelli notes the biggest advantage to quartz is that its non-porous and doesn’t require regular resealing, making it resistant to stains. Granite’s porous material means liquids such as water, wine, and oils can seep through and cause staining. Dangerous bacteria can also breed, making the surface unsanitary. The porous problem can be fixed by sealing the granite surface with a non-porous sealant, but it does wear off with time and usage.
“Quartz is harder than most solid surfaces, which makes it more durable and not as likely to crack or chip as easily,” explains Ly Nguyen of Newmarket’s Rockwood Kitchens. “It’s non-porous and virtually maintenance free, as it does not require any sealing.”
Torelli adds that the key with quartz countertops is to clean them efficiently. “You want to minimize any solvents you put on it. Just wipe it down with warm water and soap—stay away from things like Windex and other solvent cleaners.”
When it comes to finishes, polished is still the most popular, but there are others to consider. A honed finish is matte and generally has a low sheen and a smooth surface. A leathered finish is a newer style that has recently become more popular. It offers a soft sheen with less gloss, retaining the stone’s natural colour while giving it a more sophisticated look. It also hides fingerprints and water spots which may be appealing to some homeowners.
Colour considerations include beige or “greige” (grey and beige), browns and light blues, ash greys, off-whites and all neutrals in general. These different finishes and colours create an interesting compliment and contrast with the rest of the kitchen, including walls, cabinetry, and backsplash. While you’re focusing on countertops, don’t forget the sinks.
Integrated sinks are a popular choice and are constructed from the same material as the countertop, and by blending the two together you can create a smooth flow from the working surface to the sink. Not only is this visually attractive, but it also makes cleanup much easier. No break also means a smooth and efficient wipe down of the cooking and preparation area.
And don’t neglect the importance of the backsplash. When installing a backsplash, it’s usually a four-inch high slab of countertop material on the wall with paint or tile above, or maybe some decorative tiles.
Whatever you choose to reflect the heart of your home, make it personal and a space that you’ll feel comfortable in and proud to share with family and friends. After all, you’re sure to spend a lot of time enjoying it.
Avenue Decor Centre