Updated: Oct 9, 2022
If you've ever remodeled your home (or are starting to), then you know that there is a lot that goes into remodeling and designing a kitchen. With all the material choices and color combinations, it can be confusing and overwhelming. One of the most important choices when it comes to your kitchen is your countertop material. There are a variety of options out there and you want to make sure you are getting the one to best suit your space and your home needs.
Working in the interior design industry, I've witnessed all the different types of materials people use for their kitchen countertops, as well as the benefits and setbacks from their selections. Want to understand what countertop choice is best for you? Keep reading for the breakdown of the top kitchen countertop materials and their perks.
The number one countertop choice of recent years, quartz is a popular choice (and for good reason). An engineered stone, it contains quartz particles mixed with other minerals. Because of it being a man-made countertop, Quartz can come in a variety of looks and styles, even mimicking natural stones like granite and marble. It's engineered to be highly resistant to water and heat damage, as well as scratching and staining. Also for the avant garde design enthusiasts, it can be custom-made into any size/shape.
Pros: variety of looks, durable, heat and stain resistant
There was a time when granite was all the rage in kitchen countertops. That is due to their expensive and exquisite look. A natural stone, granite comes in a variety of colors and looks, making it very flexible when pairing with a design style. It's also practical too, being very durable to heat and impervious to water if properly sealed. That being said, it is a more costly material and needs to be professionally installed to minimize the damages and cracks due to a DIY install.
Pros: natural material, variety of options, durable to heat and damage
Cons: expensive, needs to be sealed
Marble countertops are thee luxurious look for any kitchen or bathroom. Another natural stone, marble is white with veining. This may seem like a limited look, but there are many types of marble, from Calcutta to Carrara. A stunning look for your space, Marble does have a higher price tag and needs to be taken care, as it is a porous material and can be prone to staining. That being said, it can be sealed to make it heat and water resistant.
Pros: heat and water resistant, durable, natural material
Cons: expensive, porous
Soapstone is a countertop option that makes me remember my times in high school chemistry. That's because soapstone is the countertop of choice for many schools due to its durability. It's impervious to heat and stain resistant. The natural material has a grey to black color and is often smooth to the touch. It's a lovely look for a modern or traditional kitchen remodel and design.
Pros: natural material, durable to heat and damage
Cons: limited look
If you love the look of wood and want more of it in your kitchen, then butcher block countertops is a choice you want to consider. It is a lovely look that brings warmth into a kitchen, yet requires additional maintenance. Since butcher block is made of wood, it require proper care. Otherwise you are likely to get stains and even cracking in the wood.
Pros: natural material
Cons: lots of maintenance, prone to damages, expensive
If you have lived in an apartment or a home from the 70s, then your countertops were probably made of laminate. Laminate is a countertop with an MDF base and a thin sheet of plastic to coat and cover. This thin laminate top often has a variety of looks, colors, and styles. While being very versatile in choices, laminate countertops are less durable than their stone counterparts and can be prone to scratches, chips, and dents. There are however a low cost option, making them a good choice for budget designs.
Pros: variety of looks, inexpensive
Cons: easy to scratch, dent, chip
Concrete might not be your first choice when choosing a countertop, but this material has become popular in recent years and can offer a beautiful and raw look to your kitchen. Nowadays there are a variety of stains to add to the concrete mixture, providing you with an array of color options. This countertop is very durable and also heavy. When installing this type of countertop, you will typically cast it right in your kitchen, making the install costs of this material a bigger price point than mosts.
Pros: durable, heat and scratch resistant
Cons: needs to be sealed, expensive
Stainless steel countertops have two homes in my mind: modern homes and commercial kitchens. They are a very durable and easy to maintain material, yet can often give a cold and sterile feeling for a home. They are more utilitarian than a design centered countertop but can be perfect for a more modern chef's kitchen.
Pros: easy to clean, very durable
Cons: expensive, noisy, cold
Contact paper is the DIY budget and renter's choice for countertop. Contact paper isn't an actual countertop, more a very inexpensive solution for those living in apartments or wanting a temporary fix for their ugly current countertops. It's a vinyl roll/sheet that can be applied to an existing countertop, giving it a simple transformation. This is a design centered countertop, as the paper is prone to damage and isn't heat resistant.
Pros: lots of looks, inexpensive
Cons: prone to damage
There is no 'best countertop' out there. My advice is to find the one that best suits your needs, not only for function but look. And if you're looking for more help on your kitchen remodel, be sure to reach out and schedule some 1:1 design work.
Your Holistic Home Helper,