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What to consider when picking a countertop

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Updating your kitchen countertops with the latest look might seem like a great and relatively easy remodeling project, but you need to be careful. Some new trends may not stand up to the way you use your kitchen and others might be a waste of money.

The countertop is the unsung hero of the kitchen. It's where you prepare meals, set groceries, do homework and gather around during parties. But with new materials and trends, picking the perfect one can be challenging.

"Countertops are no different than any other type of remodeling project. It's really important to assess the value of your neighborhood. You don't want to over invest in your house because you won't get the return. So, for example if you have a rental property that you rent out for $1000/month, installing countertops that are $80/square foot is way too much money to invest," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

Angie's List: Questions to Ask When Choosing a Countertop

  • What is your budget?
  • Are you going to be selling the home in the future?
  • Do you use the kitchen often for cooking and entertaining?
  • Are you going to have time to clean and maintain the countertops?
  • Would you like unique countertops or a simple color and pattern?
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    Angie's List: Countertop Materials

    • Granite - Granite can be a great product for resale because it adds value to your home. It is scratch and stain resistant and you can place hot pans on top of it for a short time. Granite should be cleaned regularly and some varieties require yearly sealing. There are hundreds of different colors and patterns of granite, which means that you can design a truly beautiful and unique countertop.
    • Marble - Marble can also add resale value to your home. It is porous and soft, so it can stain and scratch easier than other products. Marble should also be cleaned regularly and sealed at least once a year. Like granite, it can vary in color and pattern from slab to slab, but white and grey slabs are typically the most popular.
    • Soapstone – Soapstone is a very soft stone, which means it can scratch easily. It should be cleaned and oiled regularly. The most common color of soapstone is grey, but by oiling the slab, you can darken it to the color you want.
    • Quartz – Quartz is scratch and stain resistant. It should be cleaned regularly, but it does not need to be sealed. Many quartz brands have a warranty as well. There are an abundance of colors and patterns to choose from.
    • Recycled Glass – Recycled glass with concrete starts at around 90 dollars per square foot and is a great eco-friendly product that can help add resale value to a home. It is scratch and stain resistant as long as it is waxed. The material should be cleaned regularly and waxed and sealed every year. Like quartz, the colors and patterns are usually consistent and uniform. Some brands incorporate shells into the material, which can add a unique feel.
    • Laminate – One of the least expensive and affordable countertop options, laminate countertops are generally made from paper pressed between plastic resins using heat which is then bonded to a firmer material like particle board or plywood. Popular among homeowners because of its durability and design versatility, laminate comes in a wide variety of colors and textures that mimic high-end granites, marbles and slates. Laminates also allow the appearance of materials that aren't as kitchen-friendly, such as hardwoods.


    Read more: Angie's List Guide to Countertops