Top 10 Kitchen Countertop Surfaces

Our Top 10 List of Natural and Fabricated Kitchen Countertop Materials

Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Between the appliances, backsplashes, lighting fixtures, cabinets, and countertops you can definitely find yourself overwhelmed by the options available to you. While we are not experts on appliances and cabinetry, we do have some insider opinions on countertops. From granite counters to concrete counters, there is something for every home and every budget. Here are our top 10 kitchen countertop materials that our interior design contacts have shared with us as the best surface materials for any kitchen.

#1 Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are highly sought out by homeowners around the country, they have complex color schemes, intricate designs, and natural beauty. Granite counters add a look of sophistication to any kitchen and often times become the focal point of the dining area. Granite is not cheap, but it is nearly indestructible and the investment could literally last a lifetime. Price ranges differ drastically depending on the style of stone and where it was imported from. Because of its popularity and availability, the price of Granite has actually come down in recent years.

granite kitchen counters

You can shop for granite at your local natural stone showroom, or call a countertop installation contractor for pricing. It is often times cheaper to go through a contractor that buys granite slabs in bulk and is able to cut it down for you as opposed to buying a slab yourself and trying to cut and install it. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about granite countertops and the installation process here at http://www.countertopsarizona.com/.

#2 Wood Block Countertops

While this countertop may not be as popular as the others on this list, we have become fans of these versatile countertops and continue to see more of them in homes and in vacation properties. The wood block countertops have their pros and cons, as with a cutting board they can warp if not treated properly, hot pans will leave burn marks, knives will cut into them, and they can stain from wines and fruits. So why did wood block countertops make the top of our top 10 list? There is an appeal to them that we don’t see in any other countertops on the market. They give a home a very warm feeling that could be compared to country living. While they may not be ideal for every home, these countertops definitely have their place in the world.

butcher block counters

Wood countertops come in a variety of woods and colors and can be treated and stained to the eyes desire. The biggest benefit of wood countertops is that they can be re-sanded and sealed when the surface or finish become worn and blemished. The biggest issue we have with the wooden surface is that it stains and scuffs easily. Any deep scratches need to be re-sealed to prevent liquids from penetrating the surface. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about wood block countertops and the installation process here at https://allikriste.com/butcher-block-countertops-tampa.html.

#3 Stainless Steel Countertops

It might be my background in the culinary industry that has me placing stainless steel so high on the list here. There are many things I like about the countertop surface and many things I don’t. The industrial look it brings to a kitchen offers a very modern look and pairs great with stainless steel appliances. The countertops are easy to clean and are virtually bulletproof. They are a little pricey but would be fairly easy to replace if needed. The problem I do have with them is like with any stainless steel surface they scratch and scuff very easy. Scratches are noticeable and buffing them out is not an option that I am aware of. They don’t stain easily and do not need to be sealed or treated to maintain them.

stainless steel counters

Stainless steel countertops are also a great option for outdoor BBQ pits. The surfaces are extremely durable in an outdoor or industrial environment and can be cleaned with just about any chemical on the market. These countertops made our top 10 list because of durability, affordability, industrial appeal, and ease of replacement. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about steel countertops and the installation process here at https://www.riversidesheetmetal.net/counter-tops/stainless-steel/.

#4 Solid Surface Countertops

These countertops are awesome for many reasons, they are affordable, easy to repair, and they come in all sorts of color and pattern options. These fabricated solid surfaces can be easily customized and installed to fit your floor plan. They are very resistant to staining and can hold up to most chemical cleaning solutions. The installation process is pretty quick, measurements are made one day and the following week they are fabricated and ready for install.

solid surface counters

Solid surface countertops can become damaged from hot pots or pans. They are not something to cut on as I have seen good kitchen knives leave permanent markings on the surface. They are becoming more popular because the prices can range from affordable to very expensive. The broad range of patterns and color options also make them attractive options for designers looking for color flakes that don’t show up in natural stone and wood countertop surfaces. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about solid surface countertops and the installation process here at http://www.macadamfloors.com/solid-surface-slab/.

#5 Soapstone Countertops

These solid surface countertops are typically dark in color and the surface feels smooth to the touch. You will see these in older homes as countertop surfaces but also installed in the sinks. They are pretty resistant to staining, have great rich color options, are smooth to the touch, and are durable enough to last a long time in your kitchen.

kitchen counter made from soapstone.

These soapstone countertops require regular maintenance, they need to be oiled often with mineral oil and can suffer from cracking over time. The color of the soapstone has been known to darken after years of exposure to the elements of the kitchen. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about soapstone countertops and the installation process here at https://doradosoapstone.com/.

#6 Laminate Countertops

While not my favorite countertop by a longshot, I gave it the number 6 position in our top 10 countertop materials list because of affordability and options. I wouldn’t install laminate countertops in my home, I had them as a kid and never cared for them. They are cheap to make and come in just about every color you can imagine. The surfaces are easy to clean and stand up to most chemical cleaning solutions and everyday activity.

laminate counters

What I don’t like about these surfaces has to do with the front edges and repair options. The front edges always seemed to peel back and honestly gave it a cheap appearance. Something you find at a table in an old fast food franchise. The edging can be pricey, but in comparison to some of the other countertop options, it’s still a cheaper option. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about laminate countertops and the installation process here at https://www.tshopinc.com/denver-laminate-countertops/.

#7 Concrete Countertops

These are cool and offer an industrial look and feel that can’t be beaten. The pricing can be beaten though and that’s a big reason why it made number 7 on our list. If you have a very custom countertop surface that needs to be shaped to the existing architecture and other natural or fabricated surfaces can’t be cut to the dimensions needed, concrete stone countertops offer you the flexibility to pour and shape to any custom design you have.

concrete poured to form countertop

This can be a pricey option that may detour most people from investing in the stone surface. Because of the cost of labor, these prices exceed most of the cheaper options available. They are resistant to hot pans, knife blades, don’t scuff easily, extremely durable, and have a very industrial look and feel to them. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about concrete countertops and the installation process here at https://www.customcretewerks.com/.

#8 Ceramic Tile Countertops

Not a huge fan of ceramic had a kitchen sink that was ceramic and it chipped often. I hear the same goes for the countertop surfaces. It’s a pretty affordable option and fits most home kitchen designs. Installation is fairly simple and can be done by the DIY homeowner. The tiles are easy to clean and hold up to most kitchen wear and tear.

ceramic tile counters

This is a decent option for most homeowners looking for an affordable solution for their kitchen counters. Things to consider with tile countertops are the grout lines. Anytime you have grout lines on a surface that is designed to prepare food you have the potential for staining and bacteria growth. The grout lines can absorb liquids and become resting spots for germs and mold. Purchasing custom tiles can increase the cost of the tile. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about ceramic tile countertops and the installation process here at https://www.thetileguywy.com/.

#9 Engineered Stone Countertops

Engineered stone countertops offer all the beauty of natural stone with man-made benefits. They are scratch resistant, have a nonporous surface, and are fairly easy to maintain. They do not need to be sealed like the natural stone surfaces do. They come in many colors and are very attractive alternatives to natural stone surfaces.

engineered stone

While these countertops are easier to maintain because they do not need to be sealed and cared for like the natural stone surfaces do, they come at a price point that may not be appealing to most homeowners. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about engineered stone countertops and the installation process here at https://multistoneinc.com/engineered-stone/.

#10 Marble Countertops

Marble doesn’t deserve to be at the bottom of any top 10 list. These are some of the most sought-after natural stone surfaces in the world and it just made number 10 on my list of countertops surfaces. My reasoning behind this has less to do with the quality of the surface and more to do with the price and awareness. First, it’s expensive. Second, everyone knows about marble countertops, if they wanted to purchase marble they wouldn’t be here looking for alternate solutions for their kitchen. So why put it at the top of a list for people searching for countertop options?

marble counters

Marble is beautiful and highly regarded as the most precious of the natural stone surfaces. It’s expensive, requires constant maintenance, and it becomes stained easily. If it were not for the price and the maintenance required to keep the surface protected it would have made top 5 on this list. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about marble countertops and the installation process here at https://majesticmarbletile.com/.

Keep bugs off your kitchen counters with these pest control tips.

15 Pest Control Tips For Your Home

Our Top 15 Pest Control Tips For Your Home

pest controlWhen it comes to pest control there are hundreds of over the counter options, local pest control companies, and everyday cleanups that can be performed to not only prevent infestations but to terminate them. While we try to as economical as possible, and environmentally friendly as we can, sometimes it can take a nuclear war to properly terminate hard to kill pets like Cockroaches. This is our highly anticipated list of pest control options for homeowners. By taking baby steps, cleaning up, and consistently caring for your property you can rest assured that your insect and rodent problems will be a thing of the past. If you neglect the property, then like anything else it will suffer. These 15 pest control tips when followed through on provide homeowners an amazing foundation to work from. If the problem is already out of control, you may want to refer to a pest control company that has the staff, equipment, chemicals, and knowledge needed to eliminate nesting and infestation problems that already exist. If your problem is in the beginning stages, or you were wanting to prevent a problem from evolving in the first place. These 15 tips were shared with us by Phoenix pest control company Green Home Pest and are meant to be foundational guidelines that can be followed by all homeowners across the country. 

Before diving into these 15 tips, you need to understand that these are general suggestions and applications that may not necessarily be applicable to your specific problem. Take these tips as the resources they were meant to be and apply them where you see fit. Many suggestions here are basic cleaning solutions that most homeowners may already be doing, while other methods will require chemicals and treatment tools to properly apply the chemicals to the property.

Insects and rodents are pretty simple creatures, when they intrude on a property it is typically for food and shelter. Understanding this basic need makes it easier to prevent them from entering your property or taking up residence in your yard. We know that if they are searching for food and it is not available that they will move on. If they are searching for shelter and there is not a way to enter the home, they will move on. Rodents can find shelter in sheds, junk, and miscellaneous items in the yard. If you keep your property free of this clutter they will move on to the next property where they will continue their search for food and shelter. Use these 50 pest control tips to keep your property clean and pest free.

  1. Sweep And Mop

This may sound silly, but if you look at it from the ground level it makes complete sense. Insects and rodents are attracted to crumb trails and sugary spills. sweep food from floor oftenBy keeping your property free of food and sugary substances you can avoid attracting ants and cockroaches who are constantly on the ground level searching for a treat. Ants and cockroaches can find their way into a home through the tiniest cracks and crevasses. These are often times the hardest insects to get rid of, but you can avoid them altogether by keeping the floors free of food and garbage. The applies to the exterior of the home also. Keeping the ground clear around your trash cans and the back patio where you may gather and grill is extremely important. Food scraps attract rodents and insects. Birds can also become a problem as they scavenge your property for scraps, bird poop can get extremely messy and cleaning it up is no fun, so prevent the problem from happening with cleanliness, to begin with.

  1. Seal Everything

Another one that may seem obvious, but not everyone acts on. Check your doors and windows to make sure the weather stripping isn’t dried out and cracking. It may go unnoticed in doors and windows that are rarely used but it can make a huge difference. Stripping the garage doors and outside facing doors can keep the smallest critters out of your home where they belong. Check walls and door frames for cracking and splits that can be penetrated. Dryer vents and chimney stacks can be blocked off with steel mesh to prevent larger rodents from entering through those openings and nesting.

  1. Diversify Your Plant Portfolio

If all you have in your yard is grass and rocks you may be vulnerable to infestations from specific species. What happens is there may be an attraction to a certain grass or plant that occupies the majority of your yard. There are a few problems here. An abundance of a single plant life that attracts one type of bug can lead to an infestation. The other problem is that there may not be any natural predators drawn to your yard to combat these insects. By diversifying your plant portfolio, you will be naturally attracting all sorts of insects that will gather and keep things balanced naturally. Many insects feed on others, finding out which plants attract the predators of your pests will allow you to plant in a way that prepares the yard for a natural form of pest control.

  1. Cedar Oil

Cedar oil is a great natural insect repellent that can be used in the yard without concerns of poisoning your pets. Cedar oil is a safe organic option that will not only repel bugs, but it will also coat any eggs that are attached to your plants and prevent them from hatching. Using a bug spray application tool, you can mix some cedar oil with a little bit of water and spray throughout your yard. It’s great to use on the lawn, on flowers, and in shrubs. Cedar oil is cheap enough that you can spray daily and not break the bank. You can find cedar oil online or at any local pet supply store or feed store.

 

  1. Hire Professionals To Treat Termites

I don’t think it’s worth the risk to try and do it yourself. If you find signs that termites have invaded your property, hire a professional immediately to treat the property and prevent the infestation from causing permanent damage to your trees and home. Many times when a homeowner notices termites have infested their home it is too late, preventative pest control is highly advised for these destructive little creatures. Other insects are a nuisance, but these can cause terrible damage to the framework of your home. If you even think for a moment that you might have termites, spend the money to have the problem treated properly.

  1. Clean Up The Clutter

Clutter in the garage, clutter in the yard, clutter in the home. Pests like to nest and find shelter among the clutter. It’s convenient to stack boxes in the garage, old bins on the side of the house, yard equipment, and random unused junk around the home. These concentrated pockets of junk provide great dwelling places for rodents and insects. Larger forms of clutter like cars and trailers can provide shelter and become breeding grounds for rats and wild cats.

  1. Keep Your Grass And Plants Cut

cut back overgrown bushes and treesOvergrown trees and grass provide hiding spots and feeding grounds for many pests in your yards. Overgrown grass can hide cockroaches, fleas, ticks, and rodents can hide in the overgrown brush. Trees that overhang can cause all sorts of problems. Trees overhanging the home can invite roof rats and termites can use these overhanging branches as bridges to your property. Trim your trees, cut your grass, and dispose of the clippings properly. Don’t stack tree branches and yard debris, they become nests and resting places for insects and rodents.

  1. Solar Pest Control Is An Option

Solar energy is an option for anyone with existing solar panels. You can power vibrating stakes in the ground with solar power to deter them. This is an effective method for anything that burrows underground like ants, moles, groundhogs, and rodents that burrow like that. Snakes and scorpions can also go underground to find shelter. Solar stakes are a great option to prevent ground dwellers from nesting and they don’t pose an electrical threat to the yard. If your home is solar powered you can benefit from this eco friendly pest control option. 

 

  1. Don’t Overfeed Your Plants

Plant foods nourish annual and perennial plant life. Overfeeding these yard plants can also provide an abundance of food for insects that are drawn to the plant food. Limiting the amount of plant food you apply to the plants in your yard will also reduce the chances of the plants from overgrowing. Overgrown plants and bushes will invite an abundance of insects that thrive off the plant. Don’t overfeed.

  1. Pack With Plastics When Traveling

If you travel often, or even on occasion you should use plastics to seal your clothes and belongings within your bags and suitcase. Staying in hotels can expose you to unwelcoming guests like bed bugs, fleas, and mites. By sealing your belongings in plastic bags you can limit the possibility of invasive pests from catching a ride home in your luggage. Pack with plastics to keep pests out.

  1. Cap Off Your Chimney

For those of you fortunate enough to have a fireplace in your home, you will benefit from capping the chimney off. The chimney is the single largest opening to your home and it can be an easy entry point for many flying pests and roof roaming rodents. Birds, bats, squirrels, roof rats, raccoons, possums, and insects can all enter the home through the chimney. This might not be an issue during the winter when the fireplace is blazing, but in the summer when it’s not in use it can become a tunnel into your home. Cap off your chimney to keep the unwanted company out of your home.

cap off the chimney with mesh

  1. Keep Flies And Mosquitos Out

Flies are drawn to smell if you keep your garbage cans empty and food off the counters you can limit the attraction they may have to your interior. Fruit flies are drawn to fermented fruits and vinegar. If you keep your fruits in the refrigerator until they are ready to eat you can limit the attraction and starve the breeding grounds fruit flies seek out. Mosquitos can creep in through cracked windows, torn screens, and open doors. Keep windows and doors without screens closed during the summer months. Fix torn screens and install screen doors where possible. Install a bug zapper outside of main entry points to zap wondering flies and mosquitoes. Mosquitos can transfer viruses that can be hazardous to ones health. Make sure you eliminate them when you can.

Top 5 Mosquito repellants On The Market

Picaridin Insect Repellent

Repel Scented Family

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus

Natrapel 8 Hour Repellent

Deep Woods OFF!

  1. Embrace The Ladybug

Ladybugs bring a lot of value to the yard. They eat aphids and can help fruit plants like tomatoes survive the aphid infestation during the growth stages. If there aren’t a natural population of ladybugs in your garden you can order them online or pick them up at a local gardening shop. Once released into your garden they will help you combat other infestations that are more damaging to your garden.

 

  1. Declutter Your Gutter

Gutters are a must for homeowners in stated that experience heavy rainfall. There are gutter screens that can protect the gutters from fallen debris, for gutters that don’t have protective screens you will need to clean them out regularly to prevent clogged gutters. Clogged gutters will prevent water from draining and can harbor mosquito colonies and become a single cause of mosquito infestations. As the rainy season passes and the gutters continue to contain dirt, pine needles, and leaves they will become breeding grounds for spiders and other creepy crawlers. The brown recluse spider can be found hiding in these conditions. Keep your gutters clean, prevent standing water, and keep them free of debris that will house unwanted insects.

  1. Glue Traps

I have mixed feelings about glue traps. For rodents like mice and rats, I prefer traditional spring loaded, neck breaking traps. Limit the suffering of the rodent by making its death immediate. For those of you battling roaches, crickets, ants, and other insects that roam your floors consider glue traps. Glue traps and sticky paper can be lined along the baseboards to prevent the creepy crawlers from roaming the rooms in your home. If you have children keep the traps hidden in a place where they can’t be tampered with.

These 15 tips for pest control should give homeowners the information they need to limit the opportunities pests have to invade their yards and homes. These are simple steps that can be highly effective if done properly and consistently. If you are a homeowner and your problems are beyond control, and the infestations require professional attention then consider hiring a professional pest control company in your area. Do your due diligence, read reviews, ask questions, and get to know your local pest control experts before hiring them.