14
Aug

Kitchen Countertop Materials Ultimate Guide

Kitchen countertop materials play a critical role in any kitchen. As kitchen countertops are the most hardworking element and present the main site for food preparation and often food consuming and guest entertaining, we expect kitchen countertop materials to be durable, easy to clean, stain, scratch, and heat resistant. On top of all this, we want our countertops to be beautiful, too. This is why choosing the best material for kitchen countertops may seem like a daunting task.

In this comprehensive guide to kitchen countertops materials, we will help you decide what is the best material for kitchen countertops, present you different types of kitchen countertop materials, and compare kitchen countertop materials to make your kitchen remodel planning easier.

Ready to get started? This Guide to Kitchen Countertop Materials will answer all your questions.

What is the Best Material for Kitchen Countertops?

The best material for kitchen countertops is the one that fulfills all your needs and makes the process of food preparation easier. Since it’s an essential element for a functional and practical kitchen, kitchen countertops need to consist of materials that meet several conditions. Consider these attributes when deciding which kitchen countertop material is best for your kitchen remodel.

Stain Resistant

Resistance to staining is one of the most important qualities for homeowners when looking for the best kitchen countertop material. Highly stain-resistant are quartz countertops and properly sealed natural stones.

Have in mind that assertions about a countertop material being ”stain proof” are simply not true. Properly sealed natural stones and engineered stones are stain-resistant, but not 100% stain-proof. Manufacturers and fabricators will seal the stone with high-quality sealers which will significantly decrease the chances for staining. To make sure your kitchen countertop stays as good as new, be careful with acidic liquids, red wine, dark juices, don’t use harsh cleaners, seal your natural stone countertop at least once a year, and clean up any spills immediately.

Kitchen Counterop Materials Ultimate Guide
Kitchen Counterop Materials Features

Heat Resistant

When deciding what is the best material to use for kitchen countertops, heat resistance is one of the most important issues that comes up. Heat resistant kitchen countertop materials are granite and other natural stones, quartz, copper, terrazzo, stainless steel, aluminum, and concrete. Kitchen countertops made of these materials have the ability to tolerate the heat a great deal and will resist hot pots and pans. However, it’s best to treat your countertop with care regardless of the material it’s made of. Use trivets for hot pots and pans and keep them handy to make sure that you do not damage your countertop.

Scratch and Chip Resistant

This quality is also one of the most important when you look to buy kitchen countertops. Sharp knives can easily scratch countertops made of materials like laminate, limestone, and soapstone. Marble, concrete, and recycled glass will chip. Be aware that accidental clunks and drops can damage countertops like tile and glass. Best performing scratch and chip-resistant countertops are quartz are granite.

Ease of Maintenance

The kitchen is one of the busiest and thus one of the messiest rooms in any home. As often as you use your kitchen, you will need to clean it. However, some kitchen countertop materials need more effort while some require less. Compare kitchen countertop materials to examine how much maintenance different types of countertop materials for kitchens require. Before your kitchen remodel, make sure to ask your local countertop fabricator how quickly will a countertop absorb stains or how often it needs to be sealed. Also, make sure to find out what is the best way to clean it and how demanding cleaning process is. Quartz and other engineered stones, laminate, and granite are generally considered easiest to clean and maintain.

Kitchen Countertop Materials Features
Kitchen Countertop Materials Features

Beauty

Depending on the look you want for your kitchen, you can choose between many gorgeous options. If you love the unique look of natural stone, granite countertops may be the best options for you. Available in countless pattern and color options, each granite slab is one of a kind and provides a singular appearance in both traditional and modern kitchens. If you’re looking for a more sleek and contemporary look, quartz countertops are a great choice. They provide a uniform look and can also add colors of natural stone to your kitchen. For example, marble look quartz counters perfectly imitate the look of marble but deliver extraordinary resistance qualities along with ease of maintenance. For warmth and natural look, butcher block or bamboo kitchen countertop material is the best. Soapstone countertops deliver an old-world feel to the kitchen.

Price

Granite countertops start from $39,99 per square foot installed and go to $44,99 and $54,99 in our showroom located in Wayne, NJ. Quartz countertops prices range from $54.99 per sqft and $64.99 per sqft to more luxurious options at $84.99 per sqft. According to a report by Consumer Reports, countertops prices overall range from $40 to $100 per square foot installed. When selecting kitchen countertop materials by cost, make sure to ask about the benefits and downsides of each, so you know what you exactly get for the price.

How to Choose the Best Material for Kitchen Countertops INFOGRAPHIC
How to Choose the Best Material for Kitchen Countertops INFOGRAPHIC

Compare Kitchen Countertop Materials to Choose The Best

If you have decided to remodel your kitchen, you may be eager to tear out your old kitchen countertop and install a beautiful new one in its place as soon as possible. The countertop can easily be one of the most influential features in the room from a decorative standpoint, and you can expect big changes in the décor when you make an upgrade. However, between materials that range from laminate to gorgeous granite countertops or quartz countertops, there are many options to choose from. By focusing your attention on these points, you can more easily select a material that is best for your home. 

Granite Countertops for One-of-a-Kind Look

Natural granite stone is one of the most elegant and high-end kitchen countertop materials for any kitchen. It was one of the most popular kitchen countertop materials in the previous decades and also one of the most expensive, but recently it became more affordable. With an endless number of colors, shades, and patterns, it delivers the look you want in both classic and modern kitchen decors. Whether you want stunning appearance with strong movement or a less busy option with a simple look, there is, most certainly, a granite stone created by nature just for you. Strong, durable, and easy to clean, granite gives best results if it’s sealed at least once a year.

Kitchen Countertop Materials: River White Granite
Kitchen Countertop Materials: River White Granite, image credit: MSI

Pros:

  • Each slab of granite stone is one-of-a-kind;
  • Resistant to heat, scratches, cuts, and chips.
  • Durable and strong
  • Easy to clean and maintain when sealed regularly and properly
  • Numerous number different types, patterns, and colors to choose from
  • Imperfections are considered a value as they add to the unique look

Cons:

  • Needs to be regularly sealed to fight staining, scratches, and heat.
  • In case of corners and edges chipping, granite countertops need to be repaired by professionals.
  • Granite slabs may have imperfections as this is a natural stone.
  • Need to be treated and installed by professionals. It may crack if not.
  • Granite will dull your knives. Always use a cutting board.

Explore Types of Granite Countertops, research Black Granite Countertops, Giallo Ornamental Granite, and Typhoon Bordeaux Granite before you decide on which kitchen countertop material is the best.

Quartz Countertops for Uniform and Contemporary Appearance

If you’re looking into modern kitchen countertop materials for your remodel, quartz kitchen countertop materials are almost the perfect choice. Quartz is an engineered, man-made stone and an absolute champion in durability and toughness. It’s highly resistant to scratches, staining, and heat, as well as dents. With low porosity, quartz is one of the best modern kitchen countertop materials. Able to perfectly imitate natural stone appearances like granite and marble, quartz also comes in many solid colors and patterns. It is shaped into slabs bound with resin and containing up to 93 percent quartz crystals and other minerals.

Modern Kitchen Countertop Materials White Attica Quartz by Caesarstone
Modern Kitchen Countertop Materials: White Attica Quartz by Caesarstone

Pros:

  • Easy to maintain and clean with no sealing required.
  • Extremely durable and tough, almost indestructible.
  • Some quartz manufacturers even give a lifetime guarantee on residential use.
  • Resistant to heat, cuts, chips, cracks, dents, staining, acid, and bacteria.
  • Quartz slabs are perfectly uniform. No imperfections are present in quartz slabs.
  • Highly customizable as it can be fabricated in any shape or size.

Cons:

  • Quartz seams can be noticeable. Experienced installers know how to match slabs properly.
  • Corners and edges can chip and require professional repair. Opt for rounded edges if possible.
  • More expensive than granite.
  • Slabs are heavy.

Explore Quartz Countertops, and look into the best Caesarstone Colors when looking for popular kitchen countertop materials.

Marble Countertops for Luxurious Look

This a type of natural stone like granite commonly used in high-class kitchens. Marble is considered a luxurious and one of high end kitchen countertop materials. One of the reasons for this is its high price tag. Always unique, with no two sheets the same, marble stone gives any kitchen a one of a kind look. Marble can be easily combined with other types of countertop materials for kitchens and installed only on islands or particular parts in a kitchen. This is a great solution for those who would love a luxurious look of marble in their kitchen but can’t afford it for all countertop surfaces. Marble is the best kitchen countertop material for those who love the look of patina on their countertops.

High End Kitchen Countertop Materials Calacatta Gold Marble
High End Kitchen Countertop Materials: Calacatta Gold Marble, photo credit: MSI

Pros:

  • Adds a luxurious look and value to a home.
  • Heat and water-resistant.
  • Each sheet of marble is 100% unique.
  • Available in many beautiful patterns and natural colors.

Cons:

  • Not resistant to chipping, cracking, scratching, and staining.
  • Needs to be sealed regularly and properly.
  • High price tag.
  • Needs to be installed by professionals.

Soapstone Countertops for Antique Look

Another type of commercial kitchen countertop materials with a stunning look. Soapstone is not as commonly used in kitchens as granite and quartz, although it features a unique and remarkable look. It usually comes in various shades of dark gray and provides a soft and slick feel in a kitchen. It is successfully used in both traditional and modern kitchens. Soapstone, just like marble, is great for those homeowners who love the look of patina that creates over time.

Black Soapstone Countertops
Black Soapstone Countertops, image credit: MSI

Pros:

  • Resistant to heat and fairly resistant to stains.
  • Repairs of small scratches and damages are possible by sanding them out.
  • Provides a profound, luxurious, and sometimes even antique look to the home.

Cons:

  • Not resistant to scratches, dents, cuts, nicks, and some stains.
  • Develops patina over time.
  • Must be installed by professionals.
  • Required treatment requires the use of mineral oil.

Butcher Block Countertops for Warmth and Homey Feel

If you love a natural and warm look in a kitchen, butcher block countertops are the best kitchen countertop material for you. The most popular butcher block kitchen countertop materials are hardwoods — oak and maple. Don’t use butcher block countertops for sink area because water can damage them.

Butcher Block Countertops
Butcher Block Countertops, Design by Studio G Interior Design

Pros:

  • Easy to install and repair, reseal and sand.
  • Fairly easy to clean.
  • Varnish improves resistance to stains.
  • Enduring and long-lasting when cared for properly.
  • Perfect for homey, warm, and country look.

Cons:

  • Not resistant to scratches, cracks, nicks, stains, and cuts.
  • Water can damage it.
  • Not resistant to bacteria if not cared for properly.
  • Fairly expensive countertop material.
  • Must be sealed and oiled on a regular basis.

Concrete Countertops for Industrial Look

When considering what is the most durable kitchen countertop material, concrete will easily come to mind. Concrete can be shaped, formed, pigmented, textured and stained with various finishes, colors, and shades to match your needs and kitchen space requirements. It is even possible to insert different kinds of stones and tiles within the concrete material.

Concrete Countertops
Concrete Countertops, design by Timothy Godbold

Pros:

  • Concrete is durable and cracks can be fixed.
  • Resistant to heat.
  • Provides a unique, rustic look with various decorative colors, shapes, and textures.
  • It can be custom sized and shaped.

Cons:

  • Must be installed and repaired by professionals.
  • Not resistant to cracks, chips, and scratches.
  • Custom work on concrete countertop material is expensive.
  • Must be sealed.
  • Shows markings and spills like coffee, acidic liquids, juice, oil, and red wine.

Laminate Countertops for an Inexpensive Remodel

If you’re wondering what is the cheapest kitchen countertop material, you’ll be happy to find out about laminate kitchen countertop materials. Besides being affordable, this kitchen countertop material comes in many patterns and colors. It is basically a plastic-coated synthetic with a surface that is easy to clean. Laminate countertops are made of laminate sheets bonded to an MDF, particleboard center. You can purchase this cheapest kitchen countertop material as custom-fabricated to specifications or as post-form countertops.

Laminate Kitchen Center Island
Laminate Kitchen Center Island, design by Threshold Interiors

Pros:

  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy to install and DIY friendly.
  • Resistant to stains and heat.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • Available in many options.
  • Great for retro designs.

Cons:

  • If you cut directly on it, you will damage laminate countertops. Always use a cutting board.
  • It’s impossible to hide seams on laminate countertops.
  • Have a “low-end” vibe and may be seen as cheap by potential home buyers.
  • Not resistant to chips, scratches, and abrasives.
  • It’s not possible to repair damages.

How to Plan Your Kitchen Countertop Update

Set Your Budget

The first step to take before you start shopping around for new kitchen countertops and making a kitchen countertop materials cost comparison is to set your personal budget. The countertops may be just a portion of your total kitchen remodeling project, but they likely will be among the most expensive components of your new kitchen right behind your new cabinetry. With this in mind, be liberal with the countertop budget.

Design Your New Kitchen Layout

Many homeowners who want to know more about kitchen countertop materials comparison want to know how much their total kitchen will cost, but they also may be thinking about changing up the layout of their kitchen cabinetry and countertop design. With this in mind, you will need to design your new kitchen layout and get a linear foot measurement from your designer so that you can make your kitchen countertop materials cost comparison. 

the best kitchen countertop materials for kitchens
The best kitchen countertop materials for kitchens

Focus on Kitchen Countertop Materials Durability and Maintenance Requirements

You may be able to narrow down some of the options available based on kitchen countertop materials prices, excluding those which are outside of your budget. However, you may still have several materials options available, such as beautiful quartz or granite, and you may be wondering what is the most durable kitchen countertop material.

Kitchen countertops will be one of the more functional aspects of your new kitchen, providing you with workspace for meal preparation and more. With this in mind, the material should be highly durable and easy to maintain. Many people gravitate to a natural stone material such as quartzite, marble, soapstone or granite because of their unique look.

Some of these natural stones are also easy to maintain. For example, granite can easily be cleaned regularly with plain soap and water, and you will need to seal it yearly. The material is scratch and dent-proof, and it also will not burn when you place a hot pot or pan on it. This makes it a great option to consider from a durability and maintenance standpoint. 

Think about the Style of Your Kitchen Countertop Material

A final step to take when you are making a kitchen countertop materials comparison is to think about the style of the kitchen. Granite and quartz are the two materials which have reasonable kitchen countertop material prices and an upscale look. They are available in a wide range of colors, and their natural striations and speckles give each style a unique personality or flair. With this in mind, it is easy to find a style that may look great in your home. Bring home a few samples of the material that you prefer to see how they look in the natural light in your home.

Choose the best kitchen countertop material
Choose the best kitchen countertop material and enjoy it for many years to come

Visit Aqua Kitchen and Bath Design Center to Choose Best Kitchen Countertop Materials for Your Home

Selecting a material for your kitchen countertops can seem overwhelming because of all of the choices and factors there are to consider. Our designers will make it easier for you to compare kitchen countertop materials and decide what is the best material for kitchen countertops in your home. Stop by our kitchen countertop showroom located at 1107 Rt 23 South, Wayne, NJ 07470 Monday through Saturday and examine various options of high end kitchen countertop materials, modern kitchen countertop materials, black kitchen countertop materials, and more. We will be happy to assist you in selecting the best kitchen countertop material to use with your kitchen countertop replacement project.

See our kitchen countertops and specials we offer currently. We give you free templating, 3D Design, fabrication, and installation if you buy your kitchen countertops from us. Fabrication is done in our facility after which we will schedule a time with you for the installation. We usually do it one week after templating is done. Contact us today.