The typical laminate countertop material is known as Formica. It is made of a thin layer of plastic (1/32" or 1/16") that is glued to particleboard or wood and can simulate many different materials, including granite. The edge of the countertop can be square or rolled. Wood, brass and other inserts can also be added
|-Inexpensive and fairly durable
-Available in endless patterns and colors
-Easy to clean
|-Abrasive cleaners can scratch and dull the finish|
-Sharp knives will produce scratches and hot pots will melt the finish
-Warping of the surface can occur with prolonged wetting or flooding
-Laminates usually cannot be repaired once damaged
-Seams are easy to see
Some materials will fade with time
|Acrylic and/or Polyester Plastics (Corian, Etc.)
Unlike laminates, acrylic and/or polyester plastics are homogenous throughout the material. Available in thickness of 1/2" and 3/4", these materials come in numerous colors. They can be polished but are often seen with a matte finish. They can be expensive and in many cases, more expensive than granite (hint!)
|-Non-porous and stain resistant
-Abrasive cleaners can be used on unpolished finishes
-Easy to clean and refinish
-Many colors available
-Scratches can be repaired
-Hot Pots will melt finish
-Plastic unnatural appearance
|Wood (Butcher Block)
Wood countertops have often been used to give a natural warm appearance. Most wood countertops are made with hardwoods glued together into strips. Butcher block is constructed this way with rock maple or beech. If you do a lot of cutting, wood may be a perfect choice
|-Durable if cared for
-Scratches can be removed by sanding
-Turns black if exposed to large quantities of water
Tile countertops are typically made with ceramic tile ranging in size from one square inch to as large as six square inches. There are also other shapes, such as octagonal, rectangular, etc. Tile countertops are popular in country-style kitchens and are durable materials. However, all tile has grout lines, which can cause problems. Grout soils very easily and will require frequent cleaning. I would suggest that epoxy grout be used when installing any tile countertop. Epoxy grouts are a bit more expensive, but the expense will far outweigh the aggravation of clean up.
-Non-staining and will not scratch
-Endless colors, shapes and designs.
-Grout can be a problem
-Slightly more expensive than laminates.
Granite is an excellent choice for countertops. Granite is available in polished and matte finishes. While granite may be more expensive than some other materials, its longevity adds immeasurable value.
(note from natural-stone.com-Granite will never be sold because it has a look that is very similar to a plastic-looking Corian color.....The fact that Corian tries to make their product look like granite speaks volumes as to which product is the most beautiful. For pure aesthetic beauty, Corian does not come close to the richness, the depth, the polish, the power and the naturally organic quality that is granite. The beauty of granite will always sell itself.
-Hot plates can be placed directly on the surface.
-Wide selection of colors
-Beauty, beauty, beauty
|-Requires proper sealing to prevent staining|