Countertop Materials Comparison: Choosing a countertop can define and add personality to your space, and there are many options to consider. Not sure? Talk to a designer or read about some considerations below.
Granite is a popular and beautiful choice that will add character to any size space. Your piece is guaranteed to be one-of-a-kind, as the colors and patterns are unique to each slab. You will have the opportunity to select your own piece that meets your specifications of color and amount of movement. Granite stands up well to heat, knife nicks, and general wear and tear. It does require some maintenance as it needs to be sealed every few years.
Quartz is the perfect compromise for those who want the beauty of natural stone with the low maintenance of solid surfaces. Made from resin and quartz chips tinted with color, it may also be called engineered stone or engineered quartz. Quartz is available in a wide range of consistent colors and patterns and requires no sealing.
Marble is pure glamour and elegance. Another natural stone, it stays cool, making it perfect at baking stations. Most people only use it in a portion of the kitchen, as it is a softer stone and is susceptible to staining and scratching.
Solid surface is a man-made material usually composed of marble dust, bauxite, acrylic or polyester resins and pigments. Solid surface counters allow you to experiment with color and are essentially maintenance-free. This non-porous material can be heated and bent into three-dimensional shapes allowing for sinks to be joined to the countertop surface without any gaps. It does not need to be sealed and requires no special cleaning. It is, however, susceptible to scratching and heat.
Tile is a versatile choice. With ceramic or porcelain tiles, the pattern and design options are nearly endless. Tile hold up well against heat, scratches, and stains, and chips and cracks are easy to fix. Unsealed grout can be prone to staining, however, and the uneven surface is not optimal for certain types of usage.
The warm, inviting look of wood adds a touch of comfortable elegance. Available in a wide range of colors and finishes, wood can complement every kitchen style. Wood is a soft material and can scratch, but scratches are easily sanded out. Wood also requires frequent disinfecting.
Once seen only in commercial kitchens, stainless steel is now gaining popularity in residential spaces. Stainless steel is nearly indestructible and provides a unique, contemporary, industrial look. While resistant to heat and bacteria, it can dent and be loud when working with pots and pans. Chemicals may affect the color and can cause etching, so care must be taken when choosing cleaning products.
For an edgier, industrial look, consider concrete. Concrete can be cut in any shape and custom tinted to match any palette. Add inlays of glass, rock, or shell for an even more unique look. Concrete stands up well to use but is not as heat-resistant as some other materials. It needs frequent sealing to prevent staining and small cracks may develop over time with settling.