Perhaps second to your bed, the kitchen has got to be the most frequently used place at home. But especially if you’re no Cooking Mama who whips up fresh meals regularly, it’s possible that you’re clueless as to how to operate a stove, let alone know what materials are best for our kitchen countertop.
The last thing you want is to make the wrong choice, leaving you saddled with an ugly stained countertop that’s breaking down, and too costly to be changed again. So, we’ve done the legwork and compiled 7 types of kitchen countertop materials that are commonly used in Singapore, coupled with its respective pros and cons to make your shopping easier.
1. Marble, granite and other natural stones
Image credit: Stone Amperor
Natural stones such as granite and marble are equivalent of Rolex watches in the kitchen – while the raw materials are expensive, their investment is very much worthwhile. On top of having a classy aesthetic that adds an atas flavour to the space, they are highly durable and can go for years if sealed at least once a year to prevent bacterial growth.
Those who fancy luxe decor would probably have bookmarked their favourite marble suppliers in Singapore already. A favourite amongst natural stones, marble comes in lots of colours and styles, with unique, elegant veins patterns where each piece has its own story to tell.
It’s naturally cool, making it more heat-resistant than other materials and good for baking and cooking. That said, marble is prone to being scratched or etched if exposed to acid for too long. This makes it important that you hone your marble regularly.
Black granite L-shaped countertop in this Great Gatsby-style 1919 Residences condo.
Besides being a cheaper material, granite is also harder and is more resistant to heat and scratches. While you could say that its aesthetic is not as refined as that of marble, it nonetheless evokes a sense of luxury in the space, which is even helpful in appreciating the value of the home when it’s time to sell.
On the down side, granite, like many other natural stones, can stain pretty easily. This means it requires careful care and maintenance, for instance, using a pH-neutral cleaning detergent for a wipedown to prevent staining or a dulled surface.
Pros: Highly durable and a good long-term investment, eco-friendly, makes the kitchen look good and elegant
Cons: Material and installation are expensive for short-term use, needs to be sealed properly to prevent bacterial growth
Where to buy: Soon Bee Huat from ~$60/sqft
2. Engineered quartz
Quartz was used for the kitchen and island countertops in this modern-luxe BTO in Punggol.
With engineered quartz, you can get a countertop with the aesthetics of marble, but with a friendlier price tag.
Affordability aside, what drives up its value more would be that it’s highly durable and less prone to cracks and chips, due to the fact that it’s made of a stable composite of crushed natural quartz blended together with polymer resin and pigments.
Quartz island countertop used in this Santorini-inspired Marine Parade condo.
While it seems like an easy way to long-lasting luxury, let’s not stray away from its flaws. Due to the fact that its composite resin has a relatively lower melting point, engineered quartz are less heat resistant, so it’s good practice to use coasters when placing hot pots and pans on the countertop.
That said, it’s still a worthy purchase. Precisely because its constituent parts are tightly arranged, it’s less porous. This can save you quite the hassle of moisture getting trapped and causing bacterial growth, which is one of the main living hells in maintaining kitchens.
Pros: Highly durable, less porous and can prevent bacterial growth
Cons: Less heat resistant than other materials
Where to buy: Classy Stone from ~$70/sqft
More HDB flats may be joining the million-dollar resale club, but what’s even scarier for our wallets would be the costs of renovations, especially if we don’t wish to dip too much into our savings for it.
Laminates from AROVA are known to be 7 times more resistant than many average ones in the market.
Image credit: AROVA
Luckily, there are many ways to save thousands of dollars on your home reno here and there. For kitchen countertops, laminates could just be your saviour.
Made with kraft paper boards and melamine resin, they come with clean looking surfaces that can look good with many decor styles. Plus, they are budget-friendly, making it a smart choice if you don’t plan to live in the same house for long.
Although its affordability means it could compromise with heat and scratch resistance, the technology out there nowadays means that laminates can be of great quality. That said, it’s better to be on the safe side, so make it a good habit to replace your laminates every few years.
Pros: Budget-friendly, versatile with many decor styles
Cons: Less resistant to heat and scratches, will have to be replaced every few years
Where to buy: IKEA’s Laminate worktops catalogue from $95
Their countertops come in many different shades of wooden colour depending on the colour scheme of your decor.
Image credit: @kompacplus
#supportlocaltalent doesn’t just apply to the arts. Of the many homegrown brands out there, those looking for kitchen countertops should explore KompacPlus, a Singapore-based interior surface company.
Image credit: Patrick Lau
Using rigorous engineering methods, kraft paper and resin are integrated into a compact 6mm thick panel. The end result is a material that’s extra durable and hygienic, and is resistant to heat, stains, impact and water. Installation is also fast and easy, as the material can just be conveniently fixed over the existing counter.
While it’s easy to clean and maintain, the material may discolour quickly if it’s exposed to sunlight for too long.
Pros: Extra durable and resistant, hygienic, easy to clean and maintain
Cons: May discolour quickly with long exposure to sunlight
Where to buy: KompacPlus’s Kollection series from ~$120/sqft
5. Solid surfaces
Corian is one of the forefront brands in solid surfaces.
Image credit: @coriandesign
Mention solid surfaces and a first-time listener would probably picture, well, any type of surface. To get a better understanding, solid surfaces are essentially thick layers of man-made material formed with one-third natural minerals, and the other two-thirds with resin and synthetic acrylic.
One of the most popular choices, solid surfaces strike a great balance – they are typically cheaper and don’t require the same level of maintenance as natural stones, and are much stronger and durable than laminates and other innovative materials.
While they are not as resistant and durable as their natural stone counterparts, it’s not a hard issue to rectify, as all it takes is a bit of sanding and it’s good to go. This works even if you wish to switch up your aesthetics, as you can sand them several times to give them a fresh new appearance.
Pros: Easy to repair, appearance can be changed
Cons: Less resistant to heat and stains
Where to buy: 78 Degrees from ~$45/sqft
Image credit: Onewood
One could say that wood is the life of the party when it comes to interior design, even more so within the kitchen. It’s eco-friendly, and its varied textures and natural aesthetic bring a lot of character to a place that can’t be replicated otherwise. Not only is it functional, it can last for up to 20 years if proper care is given.
But being a natural material, wood is very sensitive to temperature changes, since it’s constantly expanding and contracting. This makes it less resistant to heat and moisture, so to play safe, keep it within the dry kitchen areas.
Pros: Eco-friendly, can last for up to 20 years
Cons: Less resistant to heat and moisture
Where to buy: Onewood from ~$60/sqft
7. Sintered stone
Image credit: Bellus Group
Those already in interior design circles are likely to know that sintered stone and quartz are often compared head to head with each other, but let’s end the debate as they both deserve to be measured in their own right.
Made purely with natural minerals, manufacturing sintered stone is like a scaled down process of what happens between the Earth’s crust – extreme heat and pressure are applied onto these minerals, producing a natural stone. Because of the conditions it was exposed to, sintered stone is extremely resistant to heat, water and scratches.
Image credit: Hafary
The internal compactness of sintered stone also makes it antimicrobial, so you can worry much less about mould and bacterial growth. While its organic looking exterior makes it versatile to a range of styles, it’s good to note that it can be a little pricey, but nonetheless a good investment if you have the cash to fork out.
Pros: Extremely resistant and durable, antimicrobial, versatile
Cons: More expensive
Where to buy: Bellus Group’s Gardenia Slabs Sintered Surface from ~$250/sqft
Common types of kitchen countertop materials in SG
With a sea of options out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when planning for renovations, where many of us have a strict budget to work with. This is especially so for the kitchen, where even experienced chefs may not know the best reno plans for the space, including deciding what materials to use for the respective parts.
That’s why we brought forth a nifty guide on kitchen countertop materials to help with your research. Hopefully, you’ll no longer feel like a fish out of water, but more experienced so you can have smoother renovations in and beyond the kitchen.
More guides on kitchen renos:
- Fun and practical kitchen backsplash ideas
- HDB kitchen ideas
- Common kitchen renovation mistakes
- Guide to choosing IDs and contractors