Choosing a Material For Your Countertops 

Are you planning a kitchen renovation, or are your countertops simply ready for a refresh? Fowles may be able to help. We sell tile and wood, and sometimes we have other countertop materials in our Timber and Building Materials Auction or our Home Renovator and Decorator Items Auction. Here’s a brief discussion of popular countertop materials and their DIY potential.

Tile and Wood

Tile can be applied over an existing countertop, and wood and wood composites are easy to work with for anyone with basic skills. Both countertop choices are inexpensive compared to most of the alternatives, and tile is also very durable. The disadvantages? Tile can be hard to keep clean and wood can easily become water-damaged.

A Wood Countertop

If you’ve got a scarred-up old wood or laminate countertop, then you might try renewing it with tile as a quick and inexpensive fix. Or, fully embrace the tile and design a gorgeously detailed tile countertop for the long term. For a top of the line wood countertop, opt for butcher block and make sure it’s protected from water damage.

Solid Acrylic/Polyester and Laminate

In some cases, you can buy solid manufactured counter material and cut it yourself. The same is true of classic laminate, which normally consists of a layer of plastic over engineered wood. Alternatively, they can be purchased pre-cut from fabricators.

Solid acrylic or polyester countertops are usually manufactured products with well known brand names like Corian, and they’re considered high end materials. They may not be as expensive as cut stone, but they’re not cheap. However, they can be very durable and easy to repair, and their surfaces aren’t as harsh as stone. They also offer a wealth of design options.

Laminate, known to many people by the brand name Formica, is an inexpensive material for countertops and if it’s well taken care of, it can last for decades. However, it is not indestructible. It can be stained and heat-damaged, and it’s not easy to repair. It offers a range of design options and is a good choice for families who plan to replace their kitchen every twenty years or so.


If you work with concrete professionally or are up for a DIY challenge, you might be interested in a concrete countertop. You can build the formwork yourself to match your kitchen design and then pour a homemade concrete mixture in and let it set. Concrete is a very durable material and there are many design and finishing options, from a high-gloss polish to embedded decorative stone to a coloured finish.

Natural Stone and Reconstituted Stone

The gold standard for countertops in today’s kitchens and bathrooms is natural stone, and reconstituted stone can be a great alternative. Unless you’re planning to design your kitchen around a fantastic bargain on pre-cut stone, these countertops need to be fabricated by professionals and custom-ordered. They’re expensive, but they’re almost indestructible and they look great.

Whatever countertop material you choose, don’t forget to check Fowles retail and auctions for bargains on appliances and materials for your kitchen or bathroom project.