Feeling overwhelmed when it comes to choosing what material to use for your countertop? Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen, building a new one or are just starting to brainstorm ideas, seeing the wide variety of products can be daunting. We’ve chosen some of our favorites to lead you in the right direction!
PROS: Pros: Granite's natural variety of colors and patterns make each piece one of a kind. It stands up well to splashes, knife nicks, heat and other wear and tear.
CONS: Granite occasionally needs to be sealed to avoid stains. You'll need very sturdy cabinet boxes to support its weight. A poorly sealed slab of granite can also harbor bacteria in its pores.
Cost: $35 to $100 per square foot, installed
Quartz countertops are man-made engineered stone countertops formed by combining ground quartz (a natural hard mineral) with resins, polymers, and pigments. This forms a very hard granite-like surface. The appearance depends on how the quartz is ground: coarsely ground quartz produces a flecked appearance, while finely ground quartz produces a smooth look. It’s a good compromise between the beauty of stone and the easy care of solid surfacing.
PROS: Very low maintenance because it’s an engineered product. Quartz is also available in a far greater range of colors and patterns than granite.
CONS: This material doesn't have the natural variety of natural stone, so it may be obvious that it's an engineered product. It's somewhat pricey, although its durability can make it a worthwhile investment.
Cost: $40 to $90 per square foot, installed
PROS: Classic, timeless beauty, and a white brightness not available in granite or soapstone. Nothing beats marble for sheer elegance. It stands up to heat well, and because it remains perennially cool, it's a traditional choice for pastry and baking stations. Unlike some quartz, marble is available from nearly any stone fabricator or stone yard.
CONS: Marble can scratch easily, especially when touched for a long period of time by something acidic. Marble is also susceptible to stains, even with sealing. For that reason, it's not often used throughout an entire kitchen — most homeowners limit it to one or two small areas.
Cost: $40 to $100 per square foot, installed
Modular and inexpensive, ceramic and porcelain tile offers nearly limitless options for colors and designs. Tile works with almost any kitchen style, from country to majestic Old World.
PROS: Tile can be customized for specific shapes and sizes. It holds its own against heat and sharp blades, and resists stains. If one or two tiles chip or crack, they're pretty easy to replace. It’s inexpensive!
Cons: It creates an uneven surface and the grout collects food particles and can be tricky to clean and aggressive scrubbing can ruin a high- gloss finish. Tiles can also chip or crack.
Cost: $10 to $80 per square foot, installed
PROS: Laminate is low maintenance and easy to clean. Its light weight doesn't require the support of a thick cabinet base, and it’s extremely inexpensive compared to most all of the other materials.
CONS: Sharp knives and hot pans can damage laminate. With wear and moisture exposure, the layers can peel. Because of the raw particle board core, you can't use laminate with under mount sinks. Also, Scorching, deep scratches, and cracks cannot be repaired
Cost: $10 to $30 per square foot, installed
PROS: Butcher block has a warm and cozy look and feel. It is a great surface to warm up a white kitchen. It comes in a variety of woods, thicknesses, and finishes.
CONS: Butcher Block requires some maintenance. Wood is more susceptible to water damage and is hard to use with an undermount sink.
COST: $35-$66 per square foot