Any homeowner would like their countertops to last forever and there are material choices available that are more lasting than others. Depending on lifestyle needs, personal taste and budgeting priorities, choosing a longer lasting countertop material doesn’t have to be a hard decision. With the selections available today, there are materials with proven longevity.
Surveys for Longevity
Several surveys have been completed concerning the longevity of various countertop materials, and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) have found through their studies and research that life expectancy of any countertop material depends on its durability and maintenance.
So, if you have limited time for countertop upkeep and want a maintenance free kind of countertop, it might be wise to take a look at some longevity findings and characteristics of different countertop materials. Keep in mind what purpose you want your kitchen countertops to serve, along with a budget plan. Whether you are planning on selling your home, remodeling it for yourself, or just desiring an updated look, the following life expectancy figures should be of help.
Life Expectancy of Popular Countertop Materials
- Concrete – 50 Years
- Cultured Marble – 20 Years
- Natural Stone – 100 Years
- Laminate – 20-30 Years
- Resin – 10 Years
- Tile – 100 Years
- Wood – 100 Years
In looking at natural stone countertop choices, like granite, marble, and quartz, the ratings for longevity are a lifetime to 100 plus years. They are more expensive than other countertop choices, and poor maintenance and wear can create issues. Granite and marble are heat and crack resistant, but they are porous, which means they are susceptible to food and oil stains as well as bacteria build up from food and dirty cleaning cloths and sponges. Both granite and marble require sealing and polishing on a regular basis to maintain their longevity. Most stone surfaces can be brought back to life through professional refinishing. Quartz countertop materials are usually hardened through resin binders that help with wear, bacteria, abrasives and food and drink acids.
Tile countertops are also given a lifetime to 100 plus years longevity rating, and tile use covers almost any countertop taste from modern to traditional to classic and with the any selections, there is an infusion of creativity with colors, shapes and designs. Tile costs can be moderate to minimal depending on the type of tile used. Whether stone, ceramic, or porcelain, savings can be attained through do-it-yourself installations. Porcelain tiles will be more resilient than ceramic, while anything stone will be even more durable. With stone’s porosity, sealing and polishing will be necessary and if grout is utilized, sealing will also be essential.
Concrete countertops are given a 50-year longevity rating. They can be expensive because of utilization of molds and varying color mixes. Designs and color used within the concrete, such as mosaics, metal works, small rocks and specialized color designs can all add to its expense. The toughness of a concrete surface is easy to clean, but abrasive cleaners are a no-no. Concrete can be repaired, but any glasses, dishes or any other breakables will likely not survive interaction with concrete.
Laminate countertop designs are given a rating of 20 to 30 years. They are easy to maintain and their costs are moderate to low, and their versatility is endless, as they can often mimic stone and other high-end looks. Laminate countertops are available in wood grains, solids, textures, metallics, fibers, patterns and almost any other design. They are resistant to stains and can be easily maintained with soft sponges, mild soap and any non-acidic cleaners. If damage does occur, laminate countertops can be repaired for cracks or burn marks.
Like tile, wood countertops are assigned a lifetime to 100 years plus longevity rating. Wood can be high to moderate in total costs, which depends on the type of wood and cut used. Wood always adds warmth to a kitchen area, and countertop spaces can be easily refinished or stained for both a natural and rich look. Wood countertops do adapt well to knife and other utensil use , which makes wood a good choice for islands and chopping areas. They do, however require fast cleanup and maintenance to avoid stains from oil, grease, liquids and foods that can be quickly penetrate wood surfaces. Use of non-abrasive cleaners is recommended , particularly for any wood area that has a glossy finish.
The Resin materials that are used in solid surface acrylic countertops are longevity rated at 10 years. They are moderate in price, and the durable resins that are used in the fabrication of these countertops are resistant to stains and bacteria, but not to heat. They are easily maintained and can be repaired when needed. Resin countertops can be found in various colors, textures and patterns that are able to accommodate different edging as well.
Cultured marble is a stone replica and has a life expectancy of 20 years. It is a lower cost material that is made of a combination of crushed marble fragments and polyester resins. It has a gel coating that is resistant to mold and mildew, but not heat resistant. Cultured marble is susceptible to scratches, which can be sanded and smoothed, but this material is not the best for kitchen countertops. Any chips or cracks that occur in cultured marble cannot be repaired. In addition to a marble look, it can also be found with a granite appearance.
Countertops are a large part of what makes a kitchen usable and attractive, and they are also a large cost factor in a new kitchen, kitchen remodel or update. With the number of material choices available, a cost effective, durable and lasting countertop choice should be a homeowner’s priority. If you are unsure what way to go with a countertop material, complete the online contact form and a countertop expert will get back to you with the information you need to make an informed choice.