A very interesting infographic from Fixr, a remodeling cost information website, breaks down the 10 most popular kitchen countertop materials based on durability, maintenance, installation, stain resistance, cost, and availability of options. Click images to enlarge.
Fixr ranks each of the 10 materials 1-5 (1 is the worst and 5 is the best) based on those six factors. The number in the middle, out of 30, is the material's overall score. 
"One of the most interesting things to come from these findings is that, while seemingly close in type, different materials can have vastly different ratings," says Fixr on its website. "For example, when discussing slab countertops, a quartz countertop is made of 93% quartz (a natural stone), and while granite is a material composed mostly of quartz and feldspar, it scores lower than quartz in how difficult it is to maintain. This could be because there are multiple definitions of the word “granite,” and many different stones that contain some degree of quartz or feldspar could be sold under that name. So while quartz counters have fewer options, they are more consistent in how they perform, simply because they are manmade."
"It appears as though the more options that are given, the more variation is introduced into how well they perform," it continues.
The website then goes on to break down the five most popular kitchen countertop types: tile, slab, cast-in-place, pre-cast, and modular.
"From these graphics, it’s easy to see that slabs of all kind have far more options available for homeowners than other types of counters. This could be because of the way that slabs are formed–one large piece of material is cut and shaped to custom-fit your cabinets, while prefabricated or modular counters are one-size-fits-all. Because it’s harder to keep countless readymade options on shelves, cut-to-order counters can have more options."
U.S. demand for countertops is forecast to rise just over 2 percent annually through 2022 to 803 million square feet according to Freedonia’s study Countertops in the U.S. Gains, and will be seen in residential remodeling activity as homeowners continue to opt for larger kitchens and multiple bathrooms. Construction activity in the countertop-intensive office, retail, lodging, and institutional markets will also drive growth.
For countertop surfaces, quartz is by far the preferred choice, followed by granite and marble. Laminate remains a less-expensive alternative. More information can be found in the 2018 FDMC Wood Industry Almanac.


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