HGTV star Jonathan Scott has been noticing this shift away from granite. "Everybody used to only talk about granite and stainless steel; we're seeing that people are now realizing there's a lot more out there," he explains. "We're seeing a lot of different countertops, like quartz countertops, and we're seeing, actually, the revival of white appliances, really cool, glass, glossy white appliances, so we've seen a few changes there."
One of the most popular alternatives to granite countertops is quartz. The sturdy yet stylish material for your kitchen is a great option for busy families. Quartz is extremely hard and durable, making it a long-lasting choice. We love the glossy sheen (although this look won't work with all kitchens), and we especially love how easy to clean quartz can be (mild soap with water does the trick). It also comes in a range of colors and doesn't require sealing or resealing. The downside? Quartz is heavy, and it isn't as heat tolerant as some other materials. Contact Caesarstone for pricing.
If you haven't thought about soapstone when it comes to countertops, now is the time. We love the idea of having a soapstone countertop for a variety of reasons, the first being how sleek they look and how seamlessly they work into most kitchen decor. Soapstone countertops are also not affected by acids (lemon juice, vinegar), which means if you spill, those items won't stain like they might a concrete countertop. They're also heat resistant, and scratches and scrapes can be etched away. However, soapstone counters do require maintenance in the form of regular oiling and buffing. This material is also not as heat resistant as granite, so it can be susceptible to noticeable scratches. Contact Vermont Soapstone for pricing.
One countertop that you're sure to see more of as 2014 begins is the concrete countertop, which is growing increasingly popular — with good reason. These eye-catching countertops are durable and scratch and heat resistant (if you seal them properly), and you can customize things like shape and texture depending on the look you're going for and how you want the counter to fit into your kitchen's overall design. Some drawbacks include the sheer weight of a concrete countertop (they are heavy), plus they are susceptible to stains and other damage from acids such as orange juice. Contact Speck USA for pricing.
Over the past few years, glass countertops (and also recycled glass countertops) have been increasing in popularity, and we're not surprised to see them popping up in more and more homes. They create a modern yet timeless look that works in kitchens of all sizes. Glass counters also create a statement without taking away from the overall design of your space. They are very heat resistant and don't stain easily, not to mention that because they're nonporous, they tend to be very hygienic. The downside to glass is that it can crack or chip, plus fingerprints are highly visible — an even bigger problem if you've got kids. ContactThinkGlass for pricing.
You likely have or have had a series of stainless steel appliances — why not a countertop, too? Stainless steel countertops have been coming into their own for a variety of reasons, including their capacity to resist both stains and heat. The fact that they are nonporous makes them hygienic and easy to clean, but like glass, they too show every single fingerprint. Stainless steel can also be susceptible to dings and scratches. Contact Ridalco for pricing.
One of the newer kids on the countertop block, lava stone is garnering its fair share of attention. We love the glossy sheen you can opt for (or choose matte) and the wide variety of colors. Lava stone is also nonporous like glass and stainless steel and is almost impervious to stains, heat and scratches. But because it's newer, it's one of the more expensive options. Contact Pyrolave for pricing.