Choosing the Right Countertop for your Kitchen

Thinking about remodeling the kitchen?   Choosing the right counter top can be so overwhelming!!  There are many wonderful surfaces out there so here are a few things to consider.

    1. Granite

    is the countertop material of choice. Although it can be expensive, as the use of granite becomes more widespread, the price comes down. There are also prefabricated slabs available which can help make this desirable stone more affordable.

Pros: holds up to heat; comes in a range of almost 3000 colors; looks permanent and substantial; will last a lifetime; new sealers are almost maintenance-free; 2nd highest hardness rating after diamonds; is prestigious and has a high value to home buyers.

Cons: Expensive, but is becoming more affordable; Requires a minimal amount of maintenance; Some stones absorb stains if not sealed; Knives can become dull if you cut on it; Can crack if stressed or improperly installed;  Being an igneous rock, granite is known to emit low amounts of radon gases.

2.  Engineered Stone

such as Silestone is made with natural quartz crystals, binding resins and coloring agents.  Quartz is an extremely hard natural stone.  Engineered stone is ideal for counter tops and is just as good as granite.

Pros: Heat and scratch resistant; Has antimicrobial treatment built-in; No sealing required, Extremely hard; Silestone comes in 6o colors; Seams can be easily matched without a shift in the pattern or color that can sometimes be seen with granite; Has very low to zero radon gas emission

Cons: Expensive; Cannot be used outdoors as the resin and coloring agents will fade with direct sunlight exposure; Not heat or scratch proof and can be damaged by intense heat or certain chemicals like bleach and food products such as… wine, vinegar, tea, lemon juice, coffee, soda, some fruits and vegetables if these substances are left to dry.

3.  Solid Surface

Because solid surface counters are just what they’re called, solid, any scratches can be sanded out. The countertops are custom-made to your specifications by companies such as Avonite, Corian, and Swanstone.

Pros: comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns; seamless; stain resistant.

Cons vulnerable to hot pans and stains which can damage the surface; can be moderately expensive.

4.  Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is durable and easy to clean. Add to that inexpensive and you’ve got a really good choice for countertops for the average home. Because it’s installed a section at a time, it can be done by most resourceful homeowners.

Pros: takes hot pans; easy to clean; wide range of price, color, texture and design.

Cons: counter surface is uneven; tiles can easily chip or crack; grout lines become stained; custom-designed tiles are very expensive.

5.  Laminate

Laminate counters bear trademarks such as Formica, Nevamar, and Wilsonart. They’re made of plastic-coated synthetics with a smooth surface that’s easy to clean. The pieces are cut to size and finished on the ends.

Pros: you can buy laminates in lots of colors; easy to maintain; durable; inexpensive.

Cons: scratches and chips are almost impossible to repair; seams show; end finishing and front edge choices can be pricey.

6.  Wood or Butcher Block

Wood countertops offer a beautiful warm look and are available in a wide range of colors and finishes. Hardwoods such as maple and oak are most often used as countertop woods.

Pros: easy to clean; smooth; can be sanded and resealed as needed.

Cons: can be damaged by water and stains over time; scratches must be oiled or sealed according to manufacturer’s instructions.

7.  Stainless Steel

For a really contemporary and industrial look for your kitchen, stainless steel is a good choice. They are heat-resistant and durable. Because they’re constructed to your specifications, you can have a seamless countertop.

Pros: takes hot pans; easy to clean.

Cons: Expensive; noisy; may dent; fabrication is expensive; you can’t cut on it.



  1. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes which will make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!|

  2. Evie said

    Good information, Sophia.

    I was wondering if you might share the pros and cons of using cement. The last time I was looking at countertops, I came across it. Do you have any thoughts on its durability?

    • Hi Evie! Concrete has become very popular as an option for counter tops and is extremely durable when properly installed and maintained. I recently attended a seminar with a prominent concrete designer and was amazed by the beauty and the endless design possibilities one can achieve with concrete! Check out my supplemental post on concrete!

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