“Cheers” was perhaps one of the most iconic television shows of the 1980s – who wouldn’t want to go to a place where everybody knows your name? Something about the way Sam sent those cold draughts down his shiny, lacquered wood bar top to some stranger-turned-friend resonated with a lot of people, both during the original 11 seasons and the reruns still going strong today.
It’s unlikely that the bar top you’re shopping for is 20-feet long, but what you make it out of is no less important. That bar top has to hold up against kids doing homework, late-night snacking, and serving cocktails to friends and acquaintances. The material you choose will affect how well the bar top functions in the moment as well as its longevity, so it’s vital that you choose wisely.
Things to Consider
You’re probably running into solid surface, laminate, granite, quartz, quartzite, soapstone, and marble options as you do your bar top research. With so many different building materials at your disposal, you might feel a little overwhelmed by what to consider. We’ve put together a list of things for you to think about as you shop around.
Etching, Scratch, Stain, and Heat-Resistance
Resistance to etching, scratches, stains, and heat are three very prominent things to consider when choosing a bar top. Aside from the area where you prepare food, the bar top usually gets the most attention and scrutiny. You need to select a material that doesn’t burn, stain, or get scratched up easily.
Etching: There are some highly-acidic elements in certain common foods and cocktails that could damage a bar top made from marble. If you choose marble, you would need to be hyper diligent with cleaning up spills as soon as they happen.
Staining: Materials like solid surface and laminate can stain fairly easily. Additionally, wood can develop water spots and rings from glasses unless you seal it regularly and are consistent using coasters. Some light-colored granite can stain if you’re not careful, but quartz is almost impervious to staining. Soapstone is a good option, but it will develop a natural patina over time, which some homeowners might not like.
Scratching: Soapstone and marble, while beautiful, also scratch pretty easily, which can be a problem for a bar top. Granite and quartz are both scratch and stain-resistant, but granite has a leg up on quartz because it is also resistant to heat.
Heat-resistance: Soapstone, granite, and quartzite are the most heat-resistant options on the market. Other options can melt, warp, crack, or discolor in the presence of heat.
Bar tops take a lot of abuse, so whatever you choose needs to be able to hold up against a lot of everyday wear and tear. Granite and quartz are probably the best choices in terms of durability, and with the proper care, they will last for years.
Once again, granite and quartz take the cake for upkeep. Quartz doesn’t require any additional maintenance after install, and granite requires very little. Most granites require resealing once a year, but it is easy enough to do that the average homeowner shouldn’t have any problems. Granite and quartz also don’t need special cleaners because soapy water will usually do the trick.
Without a doubt, solid surface and laminate are the cheapest materials on the market, but they don’t last as well as quartz and other natural stones. The fact is, most granite is only a few dollars more per square foot when compared to solid surface or laminate. This slight increase in price pales in comparison to the increased beauty, durability, and value it adds to your home in the long run.
Laminate, solid surface, and quartz are all manmade materials, so you can find them in almost every design and color under the sun. Laminate, in particular, comes in colors and textures that can resemble wood, solid surface, and many varieties of natural stone. The downside of laminate is its durability – especially in an area that often has wet elements, which could cause warping.
Solid surface and wood also have a place in the design world, but they might not be the best choice for a bar top. Solid surface can scratch easily, and wood doesn’t do well in areas where moisture is often present, so other materials would be better.
Most varieties of natural stone, on the other hand, present fantastic options for any bar top, though few materials beat the beauty of granite. Its natural elegance adds dimension and value to any kitchen or bar area. Available in countless colors, you are sure to find something you love among our Colorado granite countertop inventory.
If you’re looking to put a new bar top in your Denver home, look through our granite slabs today. We offer wholesale prices for your granite countertop, and we would be happy to help you choose a granite slab to meet your bar top needs.