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