Not Just the Look, But How They Function is Key to Choosing Your Kitchen Counters

When Matt and I bought our classic 1930s stucco five years ago, we were happy that a good amount of updates had already been done to the old girl. Some we liked, some we didn’t. One feature that intrigued us was the butcher-block kitchen counters.  Neither of us had experienced living with them before, but we liked the classic, warm look with our white cabinets. They were not sealed, only conditioned with mineral oil.

butcher block counter top

Five years in, our relationship with the counters has soured a bit — still love the look, don’t like the maintenance. I am considering taking the leap and sealing them so I’ll keep you posted on that project. Some of you may know by now our household included four (yes four) teenage boys when we moved our blended family in. Our only girl, the oldest of our five, was already off to college. You may guess where the kids tie into this tale of counters. A higher-maintenance counter like our butcher block in a very busy house may not be the best choice.

So, in my view, the very best determining factor of which kitchen counters to choose is how you LIVE. There’s a wide-range of counter choices out there and each has its own pluses and minuses. Before you fall in love with a specific choice, consider the following:

How Do You Use Your Counters?

I have a friend who LOVES to cook (lucky me). Her kitchen is a true working kitchen and her counters are well-used. Me? Not so much of a cook, but again I’ve got a lot of spills and splashes in my kitchen. Bottom line, be certain of what kind of durability you’ll expect from your counters.

How Much Maintenance?

Don’t get me wrong, I do like my wood counters, right after we re-oil them … The reality, however, is I don’t give them the level of upkeep they demand to look their best. Know what you’re getting into to keep your counters looking great or be prepared to live with them if upkeep gets away from you.

solid surface counter top

In For the Long Haul?

Some surfaces will show their age like metal, wood, and even solid surfaces. Signs of use, scratches and even changes in color are bound to appear over time. Your hardest materials such as stone and quartz will keep their like-new looks the longest. And the ever-practical laminate will stand the test of time, as well.

Budget? What Budget?

Sorry, but I had to bring it up. The range of price-points of countertops is as vast as the options you have to choose from. Know your budget before you start the decision-making process. Re-doing your whole kitchen? If you have your heart set on higher-end counters, maybe you can “borrow” some from your flooring or appliance budget by choosing a less expensive option there. Appliances on your shopping list, too? Here’s some insight to narrowing your choices.

And remember, HomeOnTrack’s tools will help keep your project on budget and help to avoid any surprises when it comes time to pay the bills once the project is finished. Click here to learn about HomeOnTrack budgeting tools!

Shop and Compare

Reference the quick-look chart below for the general characteristics of today’s most popular counter choices. Know that within each category there are several types and brands to choose from. This chart will give you a start to prioritize which counter features are most important to you. Best of luck with your counters and we’ll see you soon!

plus and minus of counter top material

graph of positive and negative for each type of material

How can HomeOnTrack help your next project rum smoothly? Find out Here!