Kitchen counters take up a lot of space in your home’s heart, and they’re one of the fastest features to upgrade. Stone countertops are in high demand, with granite topping the homeowners dream list for several years. However, thanks to more education (and popular television shows peppering HGTV), buyers, flippers and sellers are all getting savvier when it comes to the best type of stone for their home, lifestyle and region. For example, granite is still a fantastic choice — but quartz, marble, travertine and other options are also getting more attention.
Each natural stone has pros and cons. Quartz is virtually maintenance-free, and even though it’s technically a natural stone, it is fully machine-processed. This can make it seem less authentic than other options (plus, it also comes at a higher cost than granite). On the other hand, quartz doesn’t require much maintenance, so the extra cost is quickly made up. Some natural stones require a lot of pampering and may be prone to staining (ahem, marble), scratching or chipping.
That being said, natural stone that’s well cared for is by far the majority’s preference. Replacing manufactured countertop materials like Formica with natural stone is one of the best ways to instantly up the value and beauty of your home. However, it’s not the only approach.
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If you already have a natural stone countertop, does it look as good as it could? Is it as protected as it should be? Do you know what type of sealant, if any, it came with? Not all manufacturers and installers automatically include sealants — and not all sealants are created equally. Unless you have quartz, it’s likely that your stone countertops could benefit from a sealant. A coat or two can instantly restore them to their original beauty. If you want to bring out the colors even more, choose a pH-balancing sealant that can really make those characteristics pop.
Another option is changing up the countertop’s finish. Perhaps you want to go from high gloss to sand-blasted. It’s much more affordable than replacing the stone, and makes it look like you have brand-new countertops. Also, trends in finishes change over the years. Today’s look is often matte, rustic and a little bit vintage. The added bonus: With this look, the occasional scratch isn’t going to be noticeable at all.
Finally, remember that it’s what sits on your countertops that can make all the difference. Keep surface areas clear of clutter. Also consider upgrading sinks to better show off the stone’s patterns and colors. Apron sinks are trending right now, but classic stainless steel is always a good choice (and an affordable one). Choose a backsplash that plays off the color of the counters, and remember that cabinetry can often be painted or re-stained for an instant pick-me-up and to complement countertops.
The kitchen can drastically drive the value of a home in either direction. Kitchens also have only a few places where space is ample: The countertops, the cabinets and the flooring. Of these three options, often the countertops are the quickest, easiest and sometimes most budget-friendly to address. Connect with Intermountain Stone & Marble to discuss your kitchen counter renovation options.