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The Best Countertops for Elevated Living

Location can determine the best choice for kitchen countertops. Utah’s elevation, environment, and culture are significant factors that you should consider before choosing the right countertop for your kitchen. Whether you want a stylish look or go for practicality — a little bit of research is necessary to find the right one.

Quartz

By far, quartz is still one most popular countertop choices in many places. Genuine quartz countertops are durable, hard, and non-porous. They require very little maintenance and are easy to clean. Just wiping with soap and water should be enough for even the biggest of messes and spills. Quartz is heat resistant. Your kitchen countertop will hold your cast iron pots or dutch ovens without damage or discoloration. Because of their non-porous nature, quartz countertops are relatively free from bacteria and moisture that can contaminate your food.

One disadvantage of quartz comes from Utah’s environment. Elevation increases the concentration of ultraviolet (UV) radiation (by around 28 percent in Salt Lake City and up to 50 percent in Park City). Constant exposure to UV can lead to discoloration — dulling the vibrancy of your beautiful countertops. UV-filtering film on your kitchen windows can prevent UV damage to your countertops, as well as block 80 percent of heat from sunlight.

Granite

Granite is another popular option for countertops. Granite countertops are hard, durable, and heat-resistant. Use a chopping board as you’ll dull your knives on their hard surface. However, they are vulnerable to chipping, so watch those edges. Unfortunately, granite is not a good match for elevated living. Utah experiences hundreds of microearthquakes a month, with one or two strong enough to be felt.

Constant vibration can lead to cracks on your granite countertops which will require repair. Granite countertops are porous, making them prone to discoloration. Oils, wine, or even fry sauce can seep into your countertop — leaving stains that are impossible to remove. Granite countertops are also more prone to bacteria growth. They also require sealing every 1-3 years. Like quartz, granite can get discolored by constant exposure to sunlight.

Marble

The clean and white surfaces of marble countertops have made them a prominent choice in the past years. Marble countertops are chosen more for their aesthetic looks than practicality. They give a kitchen a pristine and modern look. Marble usually comes in white, but you can also opt for gray, taupe, brown, or green. Marble countertops are softer than quartz and granite. A sharp knife can easily leave scratch marks on marble, so make sure to use a cutting board. Marble is heat-resistant to a certain degree.

marble counter top

While the material can withstand hot pots and pans — its sealant can get damaged and cause discolorations. Like granite, marble is porous. Drinking wine on marble countertops might seem elegant, but cleanup can be messy. Marble stays cooler than most countertops, making them ideal for bakers kneading dough.

Stainless Steel

For a more practical kitchen, opt for stainless steel countertops. Your kitchen will have a more industrial feel similar to the kitchens in high-end restaurants. Stainless steel is durable, heat resistant, non-porous, and easy to clean. Just make sure to clean your messes early or they might get tougher to get rid of if left for a day or two.

Steel countertops are entirely non-porous, making them one of the most hygienic options for kitchens. Their non-porous nature makes them vulnerable to water spots and fingerprint marks — however, a bit of cleaning and vinegar should take care of most problems. Stainless steel is less vulnerable to UV, making them a popular choice for outdoor kitchens. These countertops can last practically forever, requiring very little maintenance or repair.

Butcher’s Block

Wooden countertops are some of the most problematic ones you can get. They are often chosen for aesthetics or availability — however, they take a big hit on practicality. Wooden countertops require excessive care and maintenance. They are the softest countertop available, making them vulnerable to scratches and impacts. You’ll need to use cutting boards as well as insulated surfaces.

Direct contact with hot pans or pots will cause damage and discoloration. Untreated wood might even ignite and cause a fire. Wooden countertops are porous. Moisture can seep into them and they can easily become the breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Wooden countertops can be sealed, but they require constant resealing every 8-12 months.

Every countertop has its advantages and failings. Some are more appropriate to elevated living, and some require subtle changes to your home. Weigh aesthetics and practicality before making a big choice for your kitchen.

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