Granite has become a very popular countertop material — so popular, in fact, that some remodeling contractors may lead you to believe it is the only viable option. If you see the price tag associated with granite and think to yourself, "there's no way that fits into my budget," then here's some good news: there are other durable, attractive counter options that come at a much lower cost. Here's a look at three of them.
Laminate counters sometimes get a bad reputation as being cheap or not very durable. This may have been true in the early days of laminate, but today's materials have been improved and are much tougher. Laminate is very affordable, and it comes in a range of colors. You can even find a laminate pattern that is made to look like granite, if that's the look you prefer. You do want to avoid putting hot items on laminate, which means you'll need to get used to using hot plates, and you can't use a sharp knife directly on the surface since it may leave marks.
Composite stone counters are made from pieces of stone that have been pressed together and joined with a strong epoxy resin. Since manufacturers can use their waste stone to make these counters, they tend to be quite affordable — although a bit more costly than laminate counters. They come mostly in natural colors, but there is an array of patterns and styles to choose from.
Composite stone counters are very hard and durable. Most are formulated to be heat-resistant. However, you will need to be careful what cleaning solutions you use to avoid breaking down the epoxy resin.
Making counters from concrete may sound strange, but this is actually a really popular choice for industrial and modern kitchens. The concrete can be finished in almost any color to give it a more unique, pulled-together look. Concrete is heat-resistant and long-lasting. Its one downfall is that it can chip if you drop something hard on it. If this happens, you can have your contractor fill in the chipped or damaged area, although the repair may be obvious if you look closely.
Concrete counters are typically poured in-place, making this a good material to use if you want a uniquely shaped, curved counter.
Do not fall into the trap of assuming granite is the only counter material available to you. These other choices are quite suitable and more affordable. Contact a countertop installation service for more help.