The kitchen is an essential room in your house. It doubles as a functional family space, a place to entertain your guests, and likely the most visited part of your home.
Choosing the best countertop surface material that complements your lifestyle is an excellent step toward your dream kitchen. It’s the backdrop of your kitchen and therefore determines our kitchen’s visual appeal.
You can use various materials depending on your current décor, budget, style, and durability. Here are some of the best kitchen countertop materials and their pros and cons to help you decide.
Quartz countertop material is an engineered stone product. It consists of various minerals and about 93% quartz particles held together by resins and shaped as slabs.
Quartz is a better-performing and more adaptable substitute for marble and granite. Some types of quartz are almost identical to natural marble, including the veining.
Unlike natural stone, there’s no need for annual sealing. It also has more color options, and the non-porous surface is resistant to staining and scratching.
There are several critical differences between quartz countertops and standard solid-surfacing materials. Quartz is more challenging and has more clarity, radiance, and depth, unlike other solid surfaces.
- The non-porous design ensures high hygiene levels
- Hard to crack or chip
- Maintenance-free kitchen surfaces
- A wide range of style options
- Tough, highly durable, bordering on indestructible
- Resistant to germs, staining, acid, cuts, cracks, chips, and heat
- Uniformity in the slabs
- Easily customizable, making it possible to design various shapes and sizes
- More expensive than regular materials
- Difficult to DIY install due to heavyweight
Cleaning Tips for Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops are easier to clean than granite and marble. Quartz contains a polyester binder, which ensures it remains non-porous. This prevents dirt and spills from seeping into the material.
- You can use a mild cleaning agent and damp cloth to wipe away spills
- Since bacteria, mildew, and mold don’t survive on quartz, there’s no need for vigorous scrubbing or harsh chemicals to clean
Granite is a natural stone with unique beauty. It’s highly durable, which ensures granite countertops retain their captivating appeal for decades.
Granite is popular in elegant kitchens, especially where the material costs are not an issue. It gives any kitchen a luxurious look which boosts the value of your home.
Granite is more common in homes due to the availability of more-affordable grades. Thanks to modern milling and mining technology, you can afford granite countertops with the same appeal as high-end grades.
However, the kitchen countertops require periodic sealing to prevent stains. It’s also easy to chip the squared-off edges due to heavy impact.
- Easy maintenance
- Resistant to heat and water
- Very durable
- Various prices available to suit your budget
- Seams may be present
- Requires professional installation
- Improper installation can lead to cracks that need sealing
Cleaning Tips for Granite Countertops
You can quickly restore the shine on your granite countertops by:
- Polishing the granite using wet or dry materials
- Using dry polishing powder after light repairs
- Professional wet polishing to repair severe damages
Marble is a famous natural stone for kitchen countertops. Every marble sheet is unique, which makes every countertop unique, with a royal, almost extravagant look.
In most kitchens, marble’s luxurious look is often on parts of the countertop set for baking or an island. This is mainly due to the expensive installation costs and the delicate nature of marble.
- Enhances the value of your home
- Each stone is unique
- Resistant to water and heat
- The smooth surface is excellent for dough and baking activities
- Requires periodic sealing
- Requires professional installation
- Often the most expensive material
- Warranty is not always available
- Susceptible to wearing, chipping, and stains
Cleaning Tips for Marble Countertops
Marble is more expensive and therefore requires proper maintenance and regular resealing.
- Ensure you clean marble countertops daily
- Clean up spills immediately using a clean, damp cloth
- If you notice fading on the countertop, ensure you polish it before you reseal
Dekton is a new countertop material that combines raw materials under high heat and pressure. This ultra-compact surface consists of the same materials that make porcelain, glass, and quartz.
Dekton countertops are easy to maintain and nearly indestructible.
- Super durability and high resistance to stains and cracking
- Dekton is heat-proof, not just heat-resistant
- UV-proof and therefore doesn’t discolor due to sun exposure
- More expensive than most materials
- Limited availability, fabricators and professional installers
- Patterns and printed designs are only on the top surface, making chips more visible.
Laminate consists of plastic-coated synthetics or melamine with an even surface for easy cleaning. Laminate countertops have particleboard (MDF) or plywood core attached to laminate sheets.
Laminate countertops are popular due to their high resistance to stains, durability, and affordability. Unlike porous stone, laminate doesn’t crack due to heavy impact.
- Perfect for retro designs
- Available in various styles, patterns, and colors
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Relatively easy DIY installation
- Has visible seams
- Partially resistant to heat
- It doesn’t improve the value of your home
- Damage is irreparable
Wood is natural, which gives the kitchen a warm look and feel, unlike other materials. It’s also recyclable, sustainable, and the only material where some wear and tear can make the style more appealing.
Wood countertops often come from dense Maplewood or oak, blond hardwood, birch, walnut, cherry, or teak. It’s possible to fabricate wood kitchen countertops in three ways:
- Wide plank
- End grain
- Edge grain
End-grain countertops or butcher blocks consist of short, square wooden pieces with the tough end grain facing up. The typical thickness is between four and twelve inches.
Edge-grain countertops consist of long, thick wood pieces with the edge grain facing up.
Wide-plank countertops are wide boards glued together along the edges. Although it’s the most attractive option, it’s most prone to warping and cracking with time. It, therefore, requires regular maintenance to prevent such damages.
Generally, wood requires regular refinishing and sealing to prevent staining and water damage.
- It gives your kitchen a warm, charming look
- Easy to clean
- Very durable when properly maintained
- It’s possible to repair damages by sanding and resealing
- Varnish enhances stain resistance
- Relatively expensive to install
- Bacteria can be an issue without proper maintenance
- Can be susceptible to stains and water damage over time
- Can crack without regular oiling and sealing
- It’s easy to cut and scratch the surfaces using knives
7. Ceramic Tile
Ceramic and porcelain tiles have more numerous design options than most countertop materials. Recent innovations gave us more design options, such as tiles identical to marble, wood, cork, and even leather.
Ceramic tiles are available in endless shapes and colors, so it’s easy to coordinate the kitchen countertops with any backsplash. They also retain the benefits of ceramic, such as stain resistance, affordability, and durability.
It’s also easy to clean but requires thorough scrubbing and resealing to avoid grimy grout lines.
- Easy to DIY installation with minimal skills or experience
- Resistant to stains and heat
- Infinite customization options
- Custom tiles and professional installation can be expensive
- Susceptible to cracking with time
- Grout lines can be challenging to clean
- It doesn’t always add to the value of your home
8. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is an excellent choice if your goal is to give your kitchen a modern or contemporary look. To ensure a seamless surface, you can customize the countertops based on your specifications.
Stainless steel countertops are highly durable and heat-resistant. They are also resistant to all liquid stains and bacteria. Steel’s in-built reflection allows more natural light, making your kitchen appear bigger.
- Resistant to heat damage
- The easiest material to clean
- Perfect for modern kitchens
- It’s a premium countertop, which adds to the value of your home
- Can be noisy during kitchen activities
- Fabrication is expensive
- It’s not a cutting surface, so it’s easy to scratch using knives and other kitchen utensils.
Onyx is an exotic natural stone with elegant, natural beauty. It has rich contrasting shades and veining that create a unique iridescent material.
Onyx is translucent and available in gorgeous shades of orange, green, pink, and others. Having onyx countertops in your kitchen is an exquisite way to make a bold statement.
- Onyx is lighter than other natural stones
- Easy to handle and fabricate
- Its translucence creates a delicate look while allowing natural light through
- It’s perfect for backlit kitchen countertops with even light distribution
- Unique aesthetic appeal
- Very expensive
- It’s soft, brittle, and requires careful maintenance.
- Requires proper sealing to protect the surface
- Requires a stabilizing material for extra strength and durability
- It reacts with acids
Soapstone is a dark gray natural stone with a silky smooth texture due to high mineral talc. It ages to form an antique-like gloss on the surface which complements various kitchen styles.
Soapstone countertops are non-porous, durable, and stain-resistant.
- Highly durable with a lifespan of 20 or more years
- Resistant to bacteria, heat, and stains
- It’s possible to repair scratches and scuffs by sanding
- Expensive to buy
- Prone to chipping and scratching
- Requires professional installation
- Requires maintenance with mineral oil
How to Choose the Best Countertop Material for Your Kitchen
Most homeowners find it challenging to select the best countertop material because it’s hard to picture the final look after installation. Thanks to technology and innovation, it’s now possible to tell through 3D designs.
Besides appearance, there are other essential aspects to consider, including:
1. Stain Resistance
Satin resistance is an essential quality to consider when comparing kitchen countertop materials. Quartz countertops are highly stain-resistant, followed by adequately sealed natural stones.
However, well-sealed natural stones have some stain resistance but are not entirely stain-proof. It’s best to avoid spilling dark juices, red wine, or acidic liquids.
Natural stones also require regular maintenance, so you must immediately clean up spills using mild cleaners.
You can avoid this maintenance stress by choosing quartz from Caesarstone Collection. It’s resistant to all liquids, durable, and uniform, and it will add to your home’s real estate value.
2. Heat Resistance
Kitchens and heat go hand in hand, so it’s essential to consider heat resistance when choosing your kitchen countertop material.
The most heat-resistant materials include quartz, granite, stainless steel, and other natural stones. Such kitchen countertops can withstand heat and won’t get damaged by hot pots or pans.
Regardless of the material you choose, it’s best to protect your countertops. You can install rivets or racks to place hot surfaces to avoid damaging the surface.
3. Chip and Scratch Resistance
These qualities are essential when looking for kitchen countertops. Sharp kitchen utensils such as knives can easily damage countertops made of soapstone and laminate.
Marble, tile, and concrete countertops are more resistant but still prone to chipping. Quartz countertops are the most resistant, followed by granite.
4. Ease of Maintenance
Your kitchen is likely the busiest room in your home and perhaps the messiest. Ideally, regular usage should go hand in hand with regular cleaning and maintenance.
When comparing kitchen countertop materials, choosing materials that require minimal effort to clean is best.
Look for aspects such as the need for resealing, disinfection, and stain absorption. Remember to check the cleaning processes and their intensity.
The easiest material to maintain is quartz, followed by stainless steel, natural stones, granite, and laminate.
5. Aesthetic Appeal
Lastly, it would be best to consider the home and kitchen style to ensure the countertops blend in perfectly.
Various countertop materials are available, so your choice depends on your preference. If you prefer a sleek, contemporary vibe, you can’t go wrong with quartz from Caesarstone Collection. The natural stone colors brighten your kitchen, and your countertops will have a uniform look.
If your goal is a warm, natural look, you should try bamboo or butcher block countertops. Soapstone will bring an antique look, while granite has a lovely natural stone appearance.
When choosing countertop materials, it’s best to consider the whole kitchen and individual elements.
The surface material should blend with your kitchen’s built-in design features, floor, and cabinets. It should be durable, easy to clean and maintain, cost-effective, and resistant to kitchen activities.
It’s easy to see why quartz is the best choice. It’s harder than granite and gives your kitchen an exquisite, upscale look. You can choose from various colors that complement your home, yet every style has a unique charm.
If you need professional assistance, NYKB is your ultimate solution. Our experts will work with you from the design stage and help you choose the best material based on your specifications.
Regardless of your style, our design consultant got you covered. Get a free consultation today and make your dream kitchen a reality.