In modern times, the quality of your kitchen can be a real make or break factor in the value of your house and how quickly it can sell. But, let’s not forget that the resale value of the house isn’t the only important thing when it’s time to update your kitchen. Most people who are renovating their kitchen are doing so for their own use, so when you make important choices, it’s actually far more important that they meet your needs and tastes above and beyond any resale value they may contribute.
Modernly, there are three popular materials for kitchen countertops. No, Formica isn’t one of them – today, it’s all about quartz, granite or Corian. These durable, smooth, elegant materials at a sense of opulence and timelessness to your kitchen unmatched by any other synthetic material on the market. But, which one of these is best for you?
In reality, it’s all about what your goals and priorities are when it comes to updating your kitchen. Are you looking for the optimal luxury, the optimal durability and ease of maintenance, or the most affordability for your project? The fact of the matter is, depending on which of these is more important, the right material will vary greatly.
Below, were going to tackle each of these different goals, and weigh out which of the three stands out the most in that category. The results may surprise you a little in some cases. First, though, this take a brief moment to look over what these materials are on a fundamental level.
Granite and quartz are natural, hard silicate stones containing significant amounts of crystalline material. This crystalline material, known as grains or veins, is what adds that distinctive pattern we all associate with them, as well as other stones such as marble.
Corian is a different concept altogether, being an acrylic manufactured by mixing and compressing various minerals together through some unique processes that are a bit too complicated to get into here. It is, by all intents and purposes, artificial granite or quartz essentially. However, unlike other synthetics, it’s extremely durable and can be rather hard to tell apart from natural stone unless you really know what you’re looking for.
For Luxury and Opulence:
Stereotypically, granted is associated with the homes of the wealthy, due largely to its very prohibitive price in the past. Quartz, due mostly to its visual similarities to marble or granite, has no such stereotype associated with it despite its equally common use in wealthier homes in the past.
Corian is comparatively newer due to being an invented synthetic, but visually, it is strikingly similar to the other two materials, meaning that that same opulence aesthetic can be achieved.
They all create the same sleek, trim and streamlined look, and coordinate excellently with just about any type of cabinets, providing the colors complement or contrast properly.
The winner for luxury and opulence – a three-way tie.
For Low Maintenance and Long-Lasting Durability:
One of the big reasons these materials have become popular despite some of them being costly is there durability. If your kitchen is a busy place, you’re going to want countertops they can withstand a lot of abuse, as well as a lot Of muck that may be present for quite some time before you have a chance to clean it off.
There are basically two factors that determine how durable as materials are – their hardness and how porous they are.
Quartz is an extremely hard material, few other stones aside from diamonds are much harder. It’s not remotely porous, and is pretty much impossible to etch, meaning no scratches, cracks or chips are going to form in a quartz countertop unless you take a jackhammer to it – and good luck even then!
Granite is also very hard, but it’s a rather porous material, meaning that it will stain more easily, and is more susceptible to scratches and cracks. This means it will have to be cleaned more regularly, and you will have to be sure to use cutting boards when preparing food on granite.
Corian isn’t quite as hard as quartz or granite, but it has an excellent resistance to heat and scratching due to the process through which it’s made preventing it from being porous and creating a unique molecular structure internally. It can scratch, but unlike granite, he scratches can be buffed out with minimal effort.
The winner for low maintenance and long-lasting durability – quartz.
Of course, we all want to be environmentally sound when choosing the materials for our homes. No one in modern times is going to argue that we are having a significant impact on our planet, and it has never been more important to bear that in mind. Any natural stone has to be quarried, which has a lasting effect on the local environment where it’s mined.
Quartz is usually mind locally in the United States, where strict regulations prevent excess use of chemical or fossil fuels, and strict environmental practices are enforced in choosing mining sites, as well as reducing impact by filling in and reforesting depleted areas. It’s also one of the most common hard minerals in existence, making it easy to find environmentally sound locations from which to extract it.
Corian does not have to be mined, as it’s a manufactured, synthetic material. The minerals used in its creation are all normally considered waste products from other processes, meaning that in a sense, it’s a smart form of recycling. However, some of the chemicals used in the creation process can be rather nasty, and if not disposed of properly, can be very toxic to the local ecosystem. This doesn’t mean that Corian isn’t environmentally sound, but if this is a significant factor in your choice of materials, be sure to investigate the manufacturer and their practices when going with Corian.
Granite is harder to come by, and much more difficult to mine. It also often has to be shipped from very distant locations, which not only makes it more expensive, but requires much more use of fossil fuels to transport it. Frankly, granite is not a very environmentally sound material, though even it is receiving a lot of reforms.
The winner for going green – quartz yet again.
Of course, most people are going to be concerned above all with their budget. Only the wealthy can prioritize opulence or durability over cost, especially in this economy.
Despite being more locally mined, quartz tends to be ready expensive due to how hard the material is, therefore how heavy it is and difficult to cut it can be.
Granite is only marginally softer than quartz, and while it has to be shipped from farther away, it’s a little cheaper, though it still a costly material.
Corian is generally very inexpensive, due to being a synthetic, the materials for which are themselves rather affordable.
The winner for affordability – Corian.
Obviously, quartz has a lot of strong points going for it, while granite has its appeal as well. For those on a budget, Corian is hands-down the easiest decision to make. However, there are many other factors to consider when choosing your countertop material, and there are plenty of other types of stone and material out there to choose from. Fill out our contact form, so we can help inform you in even greater depth as to what materials might be right for you.