Serving as equally kitchen workhorse and showpiece, today’s counter tops play a demanding part. Site of all food stuff planning, they’re predicted to be tough (stain-proof, scratch-evidence, and heat-evidence), lovely, and (greatest-case situation) economical. No wonder picking out a countertop materials is such a overwhelming determination.

But it needn’t be so tough. In its place of receiving seduced or intimidated by the infinite possibilities in the marketplace, start out by inquiring oneself the right inquiries and location your priorities straight. As an architect who has survived and supervised several kitchen area remodels, here’s my checklist of crucial thoughts you ought to ask you right before you commit.

1. How will you use your counter tops?

The most significant component of your countertop determination should arrive from an evaluation of how you and your spouse and children use your kitchen area. For instance, I have two teenage boys and our countertops see a good deal of day-to-day energetic duty. Not only do we do a good little bit of household cooking but also my sons are generally in the kitchen area building “in-between” foods. And so it was essential to me that our alternative be capable to stand up to a assortment of cooking and cleanse-up styles—without my possessing to be extra vigilant. I was fewer worried about scratches and more concerned that my countertops getting impervious to most food stuff stains.

Above: I wished a heat product for our open up kitchen, so I selected 1 1/2-inch-thick strong oak counter tops that have been addressed with quite a few coats of Danish oil. It’s the Danish oil (two-thirds oil and a person-third varnish) that offers the counter tops a really hard-sporting complete. For the total story, see Rehab Diary: Sleuthing for Area in My Kitchen. Photograph by Kristin Perers for Remodelista.

2. How much routine maintenance can you take care of?

Numerous materials appear with a long listing of upkeep requires, though some others are very resilient. Be sensible about how significantly hard work you are keen to place into the treatment of your counter tops. For case in point, porous resources like marble, limestone, and granite need sealing at the very least once a 12 months. My have wood counter tops need that I apply Danish oil into them at minimum 2 times a year. Bottom line: Right before falling in like with a content, totally evaluate the calls for of living with it.

Green soapstone countertops in a farmhouse by architect Rafe Churchill; see Architect Visit: A Renovated Farmhouse in Bedford with Scandinavian Influences. While soapstone does not require much in terms of daily maintenance, it shows signs of wear and tear and develops a patina over time. To ensure that it darkens evenly, regular applications of mineral oil are recommended. Photograp by Amanda Kirkpatrick, courtesy of Rafe Churchill; styling by Anna Molvik.
Over: Inexperienced soapstone countertops in a farmhouse by architect Rafe Churchill see Architect Check out: A Renovated Farmhouse in Bedford with Scandinavian Influences. While soapstone does not need a great deal in conditions of day by day upkeep, it shows symptoms of put on and tear and develops a patina over time. To guarantee that it darkens evenly, typical purposes of mineral oil are encouraged. Photograp by Amanda Kirkpatrick, courtesy of Rafe Churchill styling by Anna Molvik.

3. What are your kitchen area requirements?

It’s extremely practical to have an notion of how quite a few linear ft of countertop you will want, as nicely as any needed proportions for your area that aren’t typical. This way, as you get information and facts, you can develop your individual ballpark figures for each individual substance and make comparisons. For style and budgetary motives, you could possibly decide to use two diverse products: For occasion, if you have an island, it may possibly be where you use an very affordable wooden prime whilst the adjacent counters are in funds-devouring marble or granite.

A Venice, California, kitchen by Simo Design features a wood-topped island and honed black granite countertops. See Rehab Diaries: LA Living, Venice Style for more views of the project. Photograph by David Gilbert for Simo Design.
Higher than: A Venice, California, kitchen area by Simo Design features a wood-topped island and honed black granite counter tops. See Rehab Diaries: LA Residing, Venice Style for far more views of the undertaking. Photograph by David Gilbert for Simo Structure.
Another kitchen with mix-and-match countertops; see Kitchen of the Week: A Greatest-Hits Kitchen for a Danish-American Couple in London.
Earlier mentioned: Yet another kitchen area with blend-and-match counter tops see Kitchen of the Week: A Best-Hits Kitchen area for a Danish-American Few in London.

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