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The Perfect Low Maintenance Surface

The Perfect Low Maintenance Surface

Whether you are looking to customize your soon-to-be-built condo unit, or remodeling your current kitchen selecting the right countertop can make all the difference. While stunning granite and marble can add a glamorous touch to a kitchen, these slabs can be quite expensive and require a fair bit of maintenance to keep from staining and cracking.

For those who are a little more care-free in their kitchen counter choice, there are plenty of alternatives that won’t require as much attention, but will still add that polished touch to your kitchen.

Quartz: Approximately $40-$90 per square foot (installed)

Crafted from resin and quartz chips that are tinted with colouring. This material is also known by popular brand names including, Cesarstone or Hanstone.



  1. Because they are engineered, Quartz countertops can be made in a range of colours and patterns

  2. Extremely low maintenance

  3. Resistant to stains

  4. Non-porous and therefore do not require sealing


  1. Susceptible to scratches and burns (which can be sanded out by a professional)

Soapstone: Approximately $70-$100 per square foor (installed)

This natural quarried stone has a subtle powdery appearance due to the talc content. Soapstone will darken in time, which can be considered both a pro or con.



  1. Soapstone is non-porous, no sealing required

  2. Burn and stain-resistant


  1. Can’t handle nicks and scratches as well as other natural stone materials (though these can be sanded out)

  2. Requires a polishing with oil approximately every 3 months in order to keep it from cracking

Stainless Steel: Approximately $65-$125 per square foot (installed)

A popular choice in restaurants, this surface offers an minimalist, industrial finish.


  1. Stainless, resistant to heat and bacteria

  2. Completely customizable to fit every nook and cranny of your kitchen


  1. Finger prints and other smudges are highly visible

  2. Prone to denting

  3. Can be noisy as dishware clangs against it

  4. Affected by chemical reactions

  5. Be prepared for scratches

Laminate: Approximately $10-$30 per square foot (installed)

Don’t dismiss laminate, it has a bad reputation for being unstylish, but contemporary laminate is engineered to more closely resemble natural stone. While many homeowners these days prefer granite or quartz, especially in the Toronto Real Estate market, the new contemporary laminate would be a great option for basement apartments.



  1. One of the most inexpensive surfaces on the market

  2. Available in a wide range of colours and finishes

  3. These countertops are very lightweight and don’t require the support of a thick cabinet


  1. Laminate is prone to scratching, burns and peeling as a result of wear

  2. Because laminate is fabricated from particle board you shouldn’t use it with under-mounted sinks


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