Top 10 Materials for Kitchen Countertops

Countertop Manufacturers

The market has many options materials for kitchen countertops. There are a wide variety of materials but there are ten considered as the most popular. It includes marble, granite, wood, concrete, and more, each with unique traits. In this article, you can learn more about these materials to help you choose the right for your kitchen countertops.

1. Granite

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Materials for Kitchen Countertops- Granite

One of the most popularly used materials for kitchen countertops is granite. It was the most common choice as it doesn’t have any cost issues to worry about. But the biggest reason perhaps is the fact it can add elegance to your kitchen. No matter how ordinary your kitchen looks, granite will effectively make it luxurious and grand.

It used to be an extremely expensive material. However, its price has somewhat come down these years now that there are more supplies and engineered stone has become more common. Granite is available in various grades, which are ratings that are based on where you buy them, their thickness, colors, and patterns.

Just like natural stone surfaces, you have to seal a granite countertop to prevent liquid damages and stains. This is one of the inconveniences with natural stones, but necessary. It’s good that you usually only have to do this once a year but it mostly depends on the type of granite you use.

Pros:

  • Heavy and durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Almost impervious to heat
  • Has almost 3000 different types and colors
  • Has heat and scratch-resistant solid surface
  • Improves your home’s resale value

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • May have imperfections
  • Isn’t ideal for DIY
  • Is porous
  • Needs to be sealed to avoid stains
  • May crack if not properly installed or stressed

2. Soapstone

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Materials for Kitchen Countertops- Soapstone

Soapstone is natural stone-like granite characterized by its dark gray color and surface that feels smooth and silky. You will usually find this stone in historic homes, but seeing as it’s become a popular alternative to granite, modern homes now use it. You will find often used today not only as a kitchen countertop but also in the sink.

This material is mostly available in gray tones, light to dark, with delicate veining that makes it highly sought-after. Over time, it takes on a patina that looks antique, which makes soapstone even more attractive. But if you don’t like the darkened color, you can maintain soapstone’s smooth surface with mineral oil.

Many homeowners like soapstone’s natural charm with its milky yet rustic appearance compared to granite’s elegant look. Soapstone is made from quarried stone, specifically steatite stone. This stone consists of magnesite chlorite, and dolomite. Soapstone also often contains some talc, which is why it has a powdery feel and look.

Pros:

  • Has deep, rich color
  • Stain-resistant
  • Non-porous
  • Low maintenance
  • Relatively impervious to heat
  • Damage to the stone can be sanded out
  • Has an antique look

Cons:

  • Darkens over time
  • Can’t be used for DIY installation
  • Maintenance with mineral oil is necessary
  • Sustains dents and scratches
  • Soft material that heavy items may damage it

3. Marble

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Materials for Kitchen Countertops- Marble

Back in the day, marble is people’s choice for a kitchen countertop with high aesthetic appeal. This stone is popular for its gray-toned veining, an appearance that is great for hiding wear and light stains. Even better, you will not find two sheets of marble with the exact same pattern and that makes this stone completely distinct.

Marble has an incredibly timeless appeal, one of the reasons why people like it for their kitchen countertops. With this installed in yours, your kitchen undoubtedly looks luxurious. Marble looks fantastic but not many people use it because of its expensive price tag, not to mention its high upkeep.

Although one of the most stunning materials to use for a countertop, it is vulnerable to substances that soak deep into the stone. If marble is stained by wine or juice, it will be difficult to fix. For this reason, you cannot forget to professionally seal your marble countertop right after installation.

Pros:

  • Has various textures and colors available
  • Beautiful with a particularly distinct veining
  • Heatproof and waterproof
  • Can add value to your home’s real estate

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Can be easily scratched
  • Difficult to repair
  • Stains easily
  • Porous

4. Quartz (Engineered Stone)

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Materials for Kitchen Countertops- Quartz

Quartz is a kitchen countertop material that is, in fact, an engineered stone. This means it is manufactured, unlike natural stones like granite and marble. The quartz countertop contains about 93% quartz particles and the remaining percent are made of other minerals.

A lot of people think that the quartz countertop is man-made, but that’s not true. Quartz is a natural material, but the countertops made from this are engineered by man. Quartz is ground into dust, which is then combined with resins, polymers, and pigments. These materials result in a hard, durable countertop with an incredible design.

The creation of quartz provides a more adaptable alternative to natural stones that are hard to obtain. It is an incredibly hard material, the finished result a surface as hard as stone. It is, therefore, more resistant to wear and tear, as well as stain, and heat. This makes quartz an excellent option for busy kitchens.

Pros:

  • Comes in bright colors and patterns
  • Need less maintenance
  • Can be DIY installed
  • Uniform slabs with no imperfections
  • Stain, heat, and acid resistant
  • Natural appearance
  • Can be customized in any shape and size

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Corners and edges may chip, which needs expert help

5. Solid-Surface Material

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Materials for Kitchen Countertops- Solid-Surface Material

Solid-surface material is a man-made material, which is sold under brands such as Corian, Avonite, and Swanstone. This material consists of a mixture of resins and acrylic particles. They are then turned into various shapes including the sheets used as kitchen countertop via pressing.

It was first introduced by DuPont in 1967 under the Corian brand name. Its surface is a big improvement to the surface of laminate countertops as it has a more homogenous look. Solid-surface looks the same from top to bottom, which is unlike laminate’s layers. It looks a lot like stone but it’s certainly not if you examine it closely.

Sinks and countertops made from Solid-surface material have been around for about 50 years. They were once a premium alternative to natural stone, but are now considered a bit mid-tier. However, this material remains a good option for countertops in a mid-range kitchen or when granite or quartz is too expensive for you.

Pros:

  • Comes in different colors and patterns
  • Available in integrated countertop or sink units
  • Stain-resistant
  • Has virtually invisible steams
  • Damage can be sanded out
  • It may be durable if properly maintained

Cons:

  • A bit expensive
  • Can sustain damage from heat
  • Easily stained and scratched
  • Can’t be DIY installed

6. Ceramic Tile

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Materials for Kitchen Countertops- Ceramic Tile

The biggest advantages of ceramic tile as a kitchen countertop are the fact it is durable, easy to clean, and a lot less expensive than other options. It also has many design options available. This is a great choice for DIYers particularly since it can be installed without an expert help.

The production of ceramic tiles involves clay-based tiles stuck on cement-boarded cores. These ceramic tiles use grout seams, which are not ideal for countertops. Fortunately, this material comes in large sizes that allow you to install it with fewer seams. This way, it is easier to maintain your ceramic tile countertop.

It’s an excellent material for kitchen countertops since you can customize it in specific sizes and shapes to suit your desire. If the tiles become damaged, they are also easy to replace. Ceramic tiles are fairly difficult to clean because it has grouts that collect food particles.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Has heat-damage immunity
  • Can be constructed by a DIYer
  • Comes in a wide array of colors, styles, and textures

Cons:

  • Custom tiles are expensive
  • Needs grouting
  • Prone to cracking because tiles are brittle
  • Grout seams can get stained

7. Laminates

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Materials for Kitchen Countertops- Laminates

Laminates are countertop material with trademarks like Wilsonart, Formica, and Nevamar. They are a unique material made from plastic-coated synthetics, the reason behind their incredibly smooth surface. It is thanks to this that laminates are incredibly easy to clean.

One of the unique traits of laminates is that it comes in a wide array of colors and styles. It is all due to today’s printing techniques, which allow the printing of laminate countertops with an appearance like wood, or even stone. This is great if you want the aesthetics of another countertop material but like the smooth surface of laminates.

Pros:

  • Easy to maintain
  • Easy to install, even on your own
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Thousands of different options available

Cons:

  • Considered “cheap”
  • May reduce the value of your home
  • Water damage can remove the lamination
  • Can sustain burn damage
  • Feels hollow and lightweight
  • Custom backsplash and edging means added expense
  • The surface is susceptible to chipping or scratching
  • Damage is nearly impossible to fix

8. Wood or Butcher Block

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Materials for Kitchen Countertops- Wood or Butcher Block

Using wood or a butcher block in your countertop is a great way of adding style and elegance to it. Wood always has an incredible classic aesthetic, which is even enhanced by the fact that you have a wide range of lumber varieties to choose from. Among the common hardwoods often used are oak and maple.

It’s not just beauty that makes wood an excellent countertop material. There is also how it provides convenience in terms of usability. A big advantage to it is its resistance to heat, which allows you to place anything hot on it without worrying. You can even use it directly as a chopping board, although it may damage the surface.

Pros:

  • Wide range of wood varieties
  • Can be customized in many styles
  • Provides warmth to the kitchen
  • Can be used in other kitchen parts
  • Fairly easy to clean
  • Long-lasting if properly maintained
  • Can be sanded and resealed as much as needed

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Knives can cut or scratch the surface
  • Can be damaged by stains and water
  • Bacteria is a problem if not cared for properly
  • Susceptible to cracking
  • Must be sealed and oiled many times

9. Stainless Steel

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Materials for Kitchen Countertops- Stainless Steel

The great thing about stainless steel as a countertop is its sleek, smooth finish. This trait is what makes it highly popular in modern homes. It’s the countertop people go to if they want their kitchen to look industrial and contemporary. Thanks to its smooth surface, you can easily clean the countertop with just soap and water.

Stainless steel countertops are heat resistant and incredibly durable. This is great because then you don’t have to worry about accidentally placing hot items on it and damage the surface. The thing, however, is it’s not often used in the entirety of a kitchen because stainless steel is quite expensive.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Highly durable
  • Heat and stain-resistant
  • Eco-friendly
  • Looks modern
  • Easiest countertop to clean
  • Premium countertop
  • Adds real estate value

Cons:

  • Clanging sounds noisy
  • Expensive to customize or fabricate
  • Can be scratched or dented easily
  • Gets cold
  • Isn’t ideal for traditional kitchens
  • Hard to find custom countertops

10. Concrete

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Materials for Kitchen Countertops- Concrete

While it might not seem like concrete is suitable for kitchen countertops, it can actually be great material. If done right, concrete can enhance your cooking space significantly. A concrete countertop is ideal whether your kitchen is modern or rustic as it can handle various kitchen designs.

If you’re looking for a countertop with a more natural feel, concrete does it. It can also incorporate various design styles and textures quite easily. For instance, you can add items such as stones and seashells to the concrete countertop to enhance it. Concrete is a great material with its ability to be constructed to various specifications.

Pros:

  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Easy to maintain
  • Highly durable
  • Can be tinted or stain in any color
  • Scratch and heat resistant
  • Has a unique and sophisticated look
  • It may be customized in decorative colors and textures

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Must be properly sealed
  • Can’t be DIY installed
  • Porous surface
  • Cracking happens over time
  • Looks too industrial

Conclusion

There are more than these 10 materials you can use for countertops. But these 10 are the common choices in the market thanks to their unique traits. They have their benefits and drawbacks, so it depends on you what to pick. You must think carefully about the aesthetics and practicality you want out of your kitchen countertop.

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    2021-03-27T03:15:34+00:00

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