Deciding on the right material for your kitchen countertops can be a challenge. You’re thinking of the cost, aesthetics, and your kitchen’s practical functioning, among other factors. A perfect countertop not only adds an important design element but also makes it easier to clean and maintain your kitchen.
If you’re looking to get a new kitchen countertop or replace the existing one, your timing is perfect. Not long ago, the only choices for kitchen countertop materials were wood butcher-block and plastic laminate. Today, there’s a plethora of surfaces available and they all come in different textures, colors, and patterns to satisfy any of your design desires.
Let’s walk through the top 10 most popular kitchen countertop materials:
1. Granite Slab
Different types of natural stones have grown in popularity to become the top-most choices for many homeowners. However, the most popular natural stone remains the granite slab. You can get this material in several grades (1 to 5), and these ratings are dependent on the place you buy, colors, patterns, and thicknesses.
Average price: $32-$75 per square foot.
- Solid granite countertops are heavy and durable
- Improves the resale value of your home
- It has a solid surface that is both scratch- and heat-resistant
- Granite is fairly expensive
- It’s not stain-resistant, meaning it requires periodic sealing
Marble is the darling of many in today’s world due to its aesthetic appeal. Specifically, the Carrara marble has a gray-toned veining that helps it hide light stains and disguise wear. With its timeless appeal, a marble kitchen countertop is undoubtedly going to give your kitchen a high-end look.
When cleaning marble surfaces, use water and a mild liquid detergent to prevent etching and maintain the creamy surface’s elegance.
Average price: $40-$100 per square foot.
- It comes in different colors and textures
- Significantly increases property value
- Natural material
- Bakers can use the surface when rolling out bread
- Requires regular sealing
- Expensive to install and maintain
- Scratched and stains easily
If your aim is to get a countertop material that is good value for money, you can never go wrong with a quartz countertop. Quartz is manufactured from a mixture of 95% ground quartz and other polymer resins. With quartz being an incredibly hard mineral, it’s no wonder that the finished result is a hard stone-like surface that is free from wear and tear. It is also stain- and heat-resistant, making it a perfect option for busy cooking settings.
Average price: $50-$120 per square foot.
- Quartz looks like stone but requires less maintenance
- Available in vibrant colors and patterns
- Sometimes the edges or corners may chip, and when that happens, you’ll need an expert to repair them
This surface is also referred to by its brand-name Formica. It is plastic-coated, and you can get it in a variety of colors. Thanks to modern printing techniques, you can opt for a laminate countertop that mimics wood or stone – and guess what? Your visitors won’t be able to tell it’s not the real thing.
Average price: $20-$50 per square foot.
- Cheap to install and maintain
- There are many varieties of laminates available in different colors, patterns, and styles
- Easy to install
- Most homebuyers consider laminates as ‘cheap’ materials, and this may reduce the valuation of your home when selling
- Can get delaminated from water damage
- Susceptible to burns
- Laminate countertops may feel lightweight and hollow when compared to other countertop materials
A wood countertop can add style and elegance to your kitchen. Wood countertops come from different lumber varieties, including walnut, oak, cherry, and maple. Depending on imagination level, you can decide to stain your countertop surface with food-safe green, blue, yellow, and red stains to give it that extra touch.
Apart from beauty and class, wood countertops also offer usability convenience. Since wood is heat-resistant, you can place your hot pans and pots without thinking twice. And you can even use the wooden surface when chopping meat.
Starting price: $40 per square foot
- You can choose from different wood varieties (teak, oak, maple, cherry, birch)
- Accommodates many design styles
- Used with other kitchen parts, like the kitchen cabinet and dining area
- Adds warmth to your kitchen
- Easily damageable compared to stone or tiles
- It needs regular sealing to avoid staining
6. Solid Surfaces
Solid surfaces are also referred to as Corian or other brand names, and their look resembles an engineered stone. But, as they say, looks can deceive, as solid surface countertops can scratch easily and are prone to stains. You might need to keep this info in mind if you’re considering having a solid surface counter.
Average price: $75-$120 per square foot.
- Available in different colors and patterns
- Can be durable if well maintained
- Easily damaged by heat
- Easily scratched and stained
I know, I know. You probably thought that concrete is only suited for sidewalks. The truth is, concrete countertops are one-of-a-kind and can significantly improve your cooking space. And it does not matter if your kitchen is rustic or modern, as concrete can accommodate different kitchen designs.
Concrete countertops come with a natural feel, something that cannot be said of other materials, such as laminates, stainless steel, or glass. If you’re style-oriented, you can incorporate different textures and floral designs or even embed the material with seashells, stones, or other items that fascinate you.
Average price: $70-$150 per square foot.
- Concrete is eco-friendly, making it an ideal material for any person who cares about environmental issues
- Easy to maintain
- Can be stained or tinted with different colors
- Extremely durable
- Concrete is expensive
- Needs proper sealing
8. Ceramic Tiles
Ceramic tile countertops are produced from clay-based tiles that are adhered over cement-boarded cores. Grout seams are not ideal for use with kitchen countertops, but luckily, there are new porcelain and ceramic tiles available in large sizes that reduce the number of seams used, thus ensuring easier upkeep.
Average price: $5 -$7 per square foot
- Tiles are available in a wide variety of colors and textures
- Tiles are cheap
- Comes with diverse designs – porcelain tiles can be designed to look like real stone, wood, among other materials
- Tiles are prone to cracking
- Tiles require grouting
- Grout seams can be easily stained
9. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel surfaces have a sleek finish and have become popular with modern kitchens. One of the merits of having stainless steel kitchen countertops is that you can easily clean them using soap and water. They are also heat resistant, and therefore, you don’t have to worry about where to place your hot pans and pots. However, many people prefer to use stainless steel on some parts of the kitchen, such as the dining area or the kitchen cabinet, because this material is pretty costly.
Average price: $75-$150 per square foot.
- Environmentally friendly
- Easy to install
- Heat-and-stain resistant
- Can be dented or scratched
- Can increase the noise in the kitchen
- It gets cold, and may not be suitable for traditional kitchens
- Custom countertops made to fit your specific kitchen may be difficult to find.
Soapstone is a natural stone that is bacteria and stain-resistant. It comes in gray tones, ranging from light to dark, with subtle veining. As opposed to other natural stone kitchen counters, soapstone does not need annual sealing, but you should regularly apply mineral oil to hide any surface scratches.
Overtime, soapstone surfaces tend to darken, but regular maintenance with mineral oil will preserve the smooth feel of the surface.
Average price: $50-$100 per square foot.
- It does not need sealing
- Works in both rustic and modern kitchens
- This material is quite soft and may get damaged if you drop heavy items on it.
Ready to Transform Your Kitchen Countertops?
We are standing by to help you choose the best countertops for your kitchen, based on your specific ideas, desires and your budget.
If you want to change just your countertops, we can do that! If you want to totally transform your entire kitchen, including new cabinets, countertops, sink, island plus anything else you can dream of, we can do that!
Not quite ready to start, but curious about how much remodeling projects cost? Get a free copy of our Atlanta Remodeling Cost Guide now.