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Reading: Countertops In Chicago: Choosing The Best Material

Countertops In Chicago: Choosing The Best Material

05/31/2019
8 min read

Looking for countertops in Chicago? In this guide, we’re going to explore the plethora of options on the market and discuss why one in particular (quartz) is highest in terms of quality and demand.

Great surfaces are our passion here at Caesarstone, which is why we’ve put together this article to help you choose a countertop that will last a lifetime.

We’ll begin by looking at each material’s upsides and downsides.

Popular Materials for Kitchen Countertops in Chicago

Stone Countertops in Chicago

Various types of natural stone have been popular throughout the United States over the past few years. While the following have all been in high demand at one point or another, that’s no longer the case, for reasons we’ll explore shortly.

Granite Countertops in Chicago

Cost: $40-$60 per square foot, plus ongoing resealing costs

Granite countertops in Chicago were very popular for a period ranging from the 1980s through to the early 2000s. By then, however, granite had gone from being a luxuriously exclusive (and quintessentially American) countertop material to being available from countless manufacturers all over the world.

This, combined with granite’s limited versatility and high maintenance, has resulted in granite’s popularity nosediving in recent years.

You can read a direct comparison of granite and quartz (the latter of which we’ll explore in an upcoming section) here. For the purposes of this article, we’ll just mention that granite is highly porous. If you don’t reseal it regularly, it will pick up stains with ease. These stains can be very difficult and costly to remove, making granite a poor bargain.

Granite’s upsides are very limited. While it’s arguably aesthetically pleasing, the material’s look has also become very dated.

Marble Countertops in Chicago

Cost: $40 to $100 per square foot, plus ongoing resealing costs

While granite’s look is dated, the appearance of marble countertops in Chicago is anything but. One could argue that few materials have aged as well in the interior design industry as marble. People still consider marble (particularly that which comes from Italy) to be a luxurious countertop material.

For most consumers, however, marble is impractical. This is due to a downside that is common among natural stone – porousness. Marble is expensive enough on its own but many people find it prohibitively so in light of its need for consistent maintenance. Spills can penetrate marble very easily. Just ask anyone who got a little careless with a glass of wine in the kitchen.

Even if you take all the necessary precautions with your marble countertops, they will degrade over time. This is a well-documented phenomenon that leaves countertops looking discolored and more prone to damage as time wears on.

Quartzite Countertops in Chicago

Cost: Roughly $60 per square foot, plus ongoing resealing costs

Lastly in the natural stone category, let’s look at quartzite countertops in Chicago. Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that can resemble marble. As we mentioned in our Quartzite vs. Quartz article, many people confuse the two materials. While they have some similarities, quartz is actually engineered stone (more on this shortly) whereas quartzite is a natural surface.

While quartzite is beautiful, it suffers the typical pitfalls associated with natural stone. It’s porous, requires resealing as often as twice annually, and is prone to cracking.

When you factor all of these downsides (which, again, are shared by most types of stone countertops), quartzite’s value proposition is poor.

Wood Countertops in Chicago

Cost: $40 to $60 per square foot, plus ongoing maintenance costs (Note: Exotic woods can cost upwards of $200 per square foot)

Wood countertops in Chicago tend to be popular among people seeking a particular aesthetic. It goes without saying that wood has a very distinctive look that many find desirable in rustic kitchens.

As with marble, however, several factors render wood countertops impractical for most homeowners in the United States.

For one, wood harbors bacteria and even insects. This is made worse by the fact that wood is so soft. Scratches on the surface (which are very common) tend to be jagged. Bacteria festers within these crevices and can be very difficult to remove with a simple cleaning.

Wood also ages more drastically than most other countertop materials. If you’re looking for a surface that looks, feels, and smells fresh, wood is almost certainly not for you.

Porcelain Countertops in Chicago

Cost: $60 to $100 per square foot

Before we explore the most popular material, let’s look at porcelain countertops in Chicago. Porcelain (which we explored in great detail here) is a very durable countertop material. For all intents and purposes, it’s heatproof. It holds up very well against scratches and UV light as well. As a nonporous material, porcelain doesn’t need to be resealed on a regular basis like some of the natural stone products we discussed in the previous section.

Porcelain isn’t without its faults, though. For one, much of the porcelain countertops available in the United States come from Europe. This means higher costs for you.

Further, many porcelain countertops are deceptively thin. This makes designs that call for a more substantial appearance (i.e. waterfall countertops) difficult, if not impossible, with the porcelain products currently on the market.

Quartz Countertops in Chicago: Your Best Option

Now that we’ve explored a few other popular options, let’s take a look at the most popular countertop material in Chicago – quartz.

Low Maintenance

Quartz is nonporous and you never need to reseal it. Maintenance as a whole is very easy. Even with some of our higher-maintenance finishes, you never need to do more than clean your quartz countertop regularly using common household substances.

More Options

Most countertop options have a very limited visual range. Granite and marble, for example, only come in a few shades.

With quartz, however, you have a massive range of options. At Caesarstone, we produce quartz countertops that resemble marble and concrete as well as several designs unique to Caesarstone quartz. This allows you access to a luxury countertop no matter what style of kitchen you’re designing.

Durability

Quartz is a very hard substance that resists scratching, chipping, and cracking. Additionally, it offers more heat resistance than you will likely ever need in your kitchen.

With the launch of our new Outdoor Collection, quartz is now also UV-resistant enough for outdoor use.

Increased Home Value

Because of quartz’s indisputable status as the most popular countertop material on the market, many homebuyers expect nothing less. While there are many factors that affect home resale value (particularly in a city as economically diverse as Chicago), quartz is a fairly safe bet if you’re thinking long-term.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best countertop for your money?

Quartz is undoubtedly the best countertop for your money. It offers the best all-around quality and beauty.

What is the cheapest kitchen countertop?

The cheapest kitchen countertop material is laminate, which you can read about in greater detail here. This cheapness comes with a cost, however. Laminate is far from a premium countertop material and is especially prone to warping and chipping. People usually only buy laminate if they have no other options due to their economic circumstances.

How much does it cost to replace a kitchen countertop in Chicago?

In the United States, people spend between $1,800 and $4,000 on replacing their kitchen countertops.

4 Things To Do In Chicago

The City of Chicago has a rich history. Even among those who’ve lived here their entire lives, the following attractions are quite popular.

Millennium Park

No matter how many times you visit Millennium Park, there will always be something new to enjoy. From their art exhibits to skating rinks and art installations, the park is perfect for a Saturday visit.

Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo is home to numerous species from around the world. Stop by the Searle Visitor Center to learn about what’s new at the zoo during your visit.

Willis Tower

Willis Tower is one of the most iconic figures on Chicago’s skyline. It held the title of tallest building in the world for almost 25 years. The tower is currently home to an observation deck on its 103rd floor. From the deck, you can enjoy unparalleled views of the city – and the street below.

Field Museum

The Field Museum houses several natural history exhibits. It is one of the largest museums of its kind in Chicago, dating back to the late 1800s. The Classical Revival structure that houses the museum is equally impressive, residing on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Map of Chicago

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More Things To Do In Chicago

Looking for some more local favorite things to do in Chicago? Check out this video.