Which kitchen countertop is best for you

Exploring the pros and cons of alternative kitchen countertop materials when granite, marble and quartz don’t suit your needs.

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In Part 1, we compared three of the most popular kitchen countertop materials – granite, marble and quartz. But for those of you who don’t want to be restricted to conventional kitchen countertops, there are other materials that can be used to really help your kitchen stand out.

Below are five alternative kitchen countertop materials most readily available in Malaysia. We weigh the pros and cons of each of them, along with providing a rough cost estimate to help make your dream kitchen a reality.

Note: The costs of the materials vary depending on the size, thickness and quality of slab. Prices mentioned here does not include the cost of installation.

Concrete

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This isn’t the same concrete mix used to build houses, roads or sidewalks. Concrete kitchen countertops are thoroughly polished and can be dyed, curved or stamped to give it texture. As it’s a heavy material to work with, concrete kitchen countertops are cast from the ground up in your kitchen – good if you have to work around certain limitations in your kitchen space.

Pros Cons
Can be cast into any colour, shape or pattern Can be cracked, stained, or scratched
Customisable, built seamlessly to suit your kitchen layout Can discolour from moisture or warp under extreme high heat
Scratch and heat resistant Needs regular resealing to maintain its finish, otherwise, the surface will become porous

Price: From RM50 per sq ft

Laminate

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For those with a tight budget, laminates can mimic the colours and textures of natural materials like granite but with a cheaper price tag. It’s usually composed of resin, textile and/or fabric sheets although this varies between manufacturers. It’s easy to clean and holds up well under regular use. Just be careful not to hack the surface when chopping vegetables.

Pros Cons
Solid and non-porous, can resist spills and stains Can be scratched or chipped by sharp knives or scissors
Looks and feels like natural materials Fades in direct sunlight, while some corrosive cleaning materials might ruin the surface
Easy to maintain, can be wiped down with soap and water Cannot avoid visible seams

Price: From RM50 per sq ft

Stainless Steel

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If you prefer an industrial look for your kitchen, stainless steel is the way to go. This heat resistant material can be constructed according to your specifications for a seamless kitchen countertop. It’s the go-to material of choice for restaurant kitchens, so it should work just as well for your home.

Pros Cons
Extremely heat resistant, doesn’t need a trivet Can be quite noisy when working on the countertop
Gives a modern, industrial look to your kitchen Expensive, you’ll need to fork out a pretty penny
Probably the easiest countertop material to clean Easily scratched, you have to use chopping boards

Price: From RM250 per sq ft

Solid Surface

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Made from thick synthetic acrylic layers and stone-derived materials, solid surface is another great option for a maintenance-free countertop. It might not be as tough as quartz, but solid surface is easily repairable. Any scratches or burns can be scrubbed or sanded away. A solid surface countertop can be installed with no visible seams.

Pros Cons
Easy to repair – scrub or sanding can make it look just like new Susceptible to damage like scratches or chips
Non-porous to resist spills and stains Doesn’t handle heat very well
Comes in various colours and designs Limited availability to only a few vendors

Price:  From RM150 per sq ft

Wood

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Wood is a timeless kitchen countertop material. It gives your kitchen a rustic, warm vibe and is able to match just about any design you have in mind. Plus, wood has its own natural vein patterns that make no two countertops look the same. The only problem with wood is that it can be expensive because it’s not as readily available as stone.

Pros Cons
Easy to clean and long lasting Easily dents and scratches, stains leave marks
Customisable, since the material is easy to work with  Susceptible to water damage and bacteria, which rots the wood
Can be matched with rustic or modern décor ideas Must be maintained periodically with seal and wood oil

Price: From RM200 per sq ft

Everyone has a different idea about their dream kitchen. But most importantly, it’s about getting the look you want within your budget. Seek different vendors and renovators to get the best price comparison.

Once your kitchen countertops are ready, find out what is needed to maintain the countertop. Regular maintenance, using a chopping board instead of cutting directly on the surface, and cleaning up spills as soon as possible goes a long way in extending your brand new kitchen countertop’s lifespan.

In fact, go all the way and watch out for these 8 dirtiest spots in your kitchen and how to clean them. You may also pick up some extra inspiration for your future kitchen from these stylish mini Malaysian kitchens.

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