Choosing the right countertops for your kitchen

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 might not stand up to the way you use your kitchen and others might be a waste of money.

Countertops are true workhorses that can transform the look of your kitchen.

If you want something more traditional, remodeling contractor Geoff Horen said, “We still see most people in that granite and quartz world.”

If you’re looking for something a bit more trendy, he added, “Concrete and wood tend to be – and recycled glass – tend to be what I kinda call our HGTV products.”

The first thing you need to ask yourself is not just how much you’re willing to spend, but how much you should spend.

“Countertops are no different than any other type of remodeling project,” said Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks. “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 a square foot is way too much money to invest.”

You also need to determine how you’ll be using your countertops. Do you spend a lot of time in the kitchen? Do you do a lot of cooking? Are you worried about stains or scratches?

“Sometimes people will say things like, ‘I want to be able to put hot pans right on my countertop.’ Well, then those people, generally speaking, need to go toward a granite product, because granite has a heat tolerance of like 900 to 1,200 degrees,” Horen said.

When deciding on a material, ask what fits with the rest of your home’s style and design. A modern concrete countertop may look out of place in a more traditional kitchen, but remember, you don’t always have to spend more to get a superior look.

“I can take a couple of laminate samples and literally set them on our granite samples and show people,” said Horen. “They look exactly the same.”

Angie’s List says be honest with yourself about how much maintenance you can handle. For example, porous materials like limestone and marble need sealing once a year.