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Pros & Cons of 10 Popular Kitchen Countertops

One of my jobs as an Interior Designer is to educate my clients to ensure the products and finishes we are choosing best suit the aesthetics of the house but also the finishes and materials.

This is especially important in the most used room of the house - The Kitchen!

I have put together a list of the top 10 most popular kitchen countertop materials (in no special order) and the pros and cons:

1. Granite

Granite is the one that is most familiar and has long been one of the most common kitchen countertop materials. Because it is a natural stone, it tends to go well with earthly aesthetics.

When taken care of properly, it can last for over ten years. If your kitchen is busy like mine, this is ideal for you. It has a high level of durability and strength. Granite is heat, stain, and scratch-resistant but must be properly sealed.

Granite Cons:

  • Susceptible to cracking

  • Can have an outdated look

  • Needs to be sealed due to it being naturally porous

  • Absorbs liquids that can lead to bacterial build-up

Granite Pros: (the pros may outweigh the cons)

  • High durability 

  • Heat, scratch, and stain resistant

  • Natural stone

  • Does not contain synthetic resin

2. Marble

Marble is another popular choice for countertops amongst homeowners. It is an irrefutably stunning material that exudes elegance. The marble’s cool, smooth surface brings a touch of nature into your home.

Marble Pros

  • Marble comes in a wide variety of colors and designs

  • Can increase in value over time equating to a great investment

  • Has a naturally cool temperature

  • Not a prominent conductor of heat

Marble Cons

  • It is porous and needs sealing to prevent stains

  • Heavy and DIY installation is not possible 

  • It is very delicate that can be prone to scratches and stains

3. Quartz (Engineered Stone)

Quartz is one of my favorites and is becoming very popular in the market because of its low maintenance and durability. Unlike other natural stones, quartz does not require sealing, oiling, or sanding, which provides a major convenience factor for homeowners. All you need to do is wipe it down with mild soap and warm water. Easy Peasy! It will go with most of your kitchen decor because there are various designs to choose from. Thanks to advances in technology, engineered quartz looks like natural stone. Let’s go over the pros and cons.

Quartz Pros

  • Quartz offers a wide variety of designs

  • Low maintenance, sealing, and sanding needed

  • It has superior durability

  • It won’t scratch, crack, or chip

Quartz Cons

  • Quartz may discolor over time

  • The resin and fillers are not susceptible to heat

  • It might not have a natural look as other natural stones

4. Soapstone

Soapstone is a natural stone that is more than likely dark gray in color and has a silky-smooth finish. It’s also been used as a substitute for granite. It is not as hard as granite; therefore, it is prone to scratches and damage. However, due to its softness, it can be carved in the style of your choice.

If you’re opting for more of a country-style kitchen with less warmth, the elegance of soapstone will definitely fit. Its dark color tones give it a rustic, elegant, and urbane yet require mineral oiling to keep its best appearance and develop a natural finish over time.

Soapstone Pros

  • It is stain and heat resistant 

  • It doesn’t need to be sealed

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Can be recycled

Soapstone Cons

  • Restricted range of color options

  • Soft and can be scratched and damaged easily

5. Concrete

Concrete countertops could be a great alternative for you if you want your kitchen countertops to stand out from the crowd. You can use your imagination to create your unique texture and color. They are frequently cast in shapes directly in your kitchen due to their heavy weight.

The cement and sand mixture’s strength makes it particularly long-lasting. Although it is susceptible to cracking, there are new treatments that can help minimize this from happening.

Concrete’s porousness can be reduced with additives. A bonus to concrete countertops is that they are considered a premium material. They can increase the resale value in line with quartz and natural stone.

Concrete Pros

  • Durable material 

  • Difficult to scratch and resistant to heat

  • It can be customized in terms of size, design, shape, and texture 

Concrete Cons

  • Prone to cracks 

  • It needs regular resealing to avoid stains

  • It takes time to make a custom countertop

6. Butcher Block or Wood

Hardwoods like maple and oak are the most conventional types of wood used as countertops. Butcher block countertops give your kitchen a rustic feel and bring life to any space. It too comes in a variety of colors and finishes.

Wood requires a lot of effort and care, but the beauty is clearly worth it. It manages to achieve a natural look while having a modern touch. Butcher block countertops are even more enticing since they are built from reclaimed wood.

Butcher Block Pros

  • Eco-friendly countertop

  • Adds beauty and warmth to your kitchen

  • With superior durability, it will not easily get scratch, crack, or chip

Butcher Block Cons

  • They need a lot of maintenance and care  

  • Can be damaged due to overexposure to liquids

  • Requires proper sealing to avoid excessive bacteria build-up

7. Solid-Surface Material

If you want a totally seamless countertop, a solid surface may be the best option. It is available in many styles and closely mimics the look of natural stone. This is also appropriate for those with a tight budget who like basic colors and designs.

The word “solid” reinforces the sense that this is a very secure base. A solid surface is a uniform material that extends from top to bottom.

Solid Surface Pros

  • Seamless joints

  • Impact-resistant and non-porous surface

  • Can easily be sanded out

Solid Surface Cons

  • DIY installation is not possible

  • Does not work well with strong chemicals

  • Not susceptible to heat and can easily scratch

8. Laminate

This is my least favorite for everyday living but if cost is a huge factor, a laminate countertop may be the ideal option for your kitchen. If you’re an investor and will have different people often living in the space, this may work well for you. It comes in a variety of styles and is very simple to set up.

The laminate sheets are bonded to a particleboard core to create the countertop. Laminate countertops are available in preformed segments or can be custom-built to your specifications. Some homeowners say that laminates are not as durable as other materials. However, today’s laminates are far better than the old ones in terms of quality.

Laminate Pros

  • Cost-effective to homeowners and investors

  • Easy maintenance and several design options

  • Easy to install because of its lightweight nature

Laminate Cons

  • Prone to damage and dullness

  • Cannot be repaired or resealed

  • Can easily scratch and must not be exposed to direct heat

9. Stainless Steel

Traditional and modern kitchens alike can go with stainless steel countertops. While some people are afraid that it could appear grim-looking, several customization options can soften the design.

Stainless-steel countertops come in satin, mirror finish, brushed metal, and antique matte, therefore, offering a variety of finishes. If you’re concerned with fingerprints or smudges, a brushed finish is a way to go as it is soft and smooth.

Stainless steel has a combination of chromium and nickel that makes it robust, rust-resistant, and stain-resistant. They’re also non-porous, so no liquids or solids can get through. Bacteria isn’t something you’d have to worry about; it can’t grow on them.

Stainless Steel Pros

  • It is heat, stain, and rust-resistant 

  • Resistant to any chemicals and liquids 

  • Easiest to clean and maintain among all the materials 

Stainless Steel Cons

  • It’s not as attractive as other materials 

  • Can be scratched and dented easily 

  • Stainless steel can be a bit noisy when you are working with it

10. Ceramic

Ceramic tile is one of the most commonly used materials for kitchen countertops. It provides a vast array of options as it relates to terms of cost and appearance.

You can easily make a custom design for your countertop. And, if you are a DIY enthusiast, there is no need for professional installation, unlike the others. One important thing to remember is that the grout must be sealed every year. The grout can stain and is difficult to keep clean.

Ceramic Pros

  • It’s easy to clean, install and replace

  • It’s affordable when compared to the others

  • Huge variety of sizes, designs, and prices to choose from

Ceramic Cons

  • Tiles are brittle and may crack easily 

  • Grout can be susceptible to bacteria

  • Grout lines can stain and are difficult to clean

These decisions can be overwhelming and that is why it can be beneficial to consult with an Interior Designer to help you narrow down the choices and ensure you plan ahead for what works best for you.

If you are in the Houston, TX, or Sugarland, TX area, please contact me to learn more about how I can help and if you are outside of the area, I can also arrange a Virtual Consultation.

Thanks for reading,

Yulonda Buster, Designs by Duchess

Award Winning Home Stager and Interior Designer


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