Choosing a Countertop that is Right for You

Summary of the Various Kitchen Countertop Types to Choose From

By Mark J. Donovan

One of the most important items to think about when remodeling your kitchen is the type of kitchen countertop you want to see in it. Choosing a countertop can become challenging because there are simply so many countertop types to choose from. Before deciding upon a particular kitchen countertop type make sure to do your homework first. Research them online and make sure to visit kitchen countertop suppliers to actually see the various countertops in person. In regards to the different types of kitchen countertops to choose from, summarized below is a list of the most common countertops, and the pros and cons of each.

Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are absolutely gorgeous and they are my personal favorite.

They are 100% natural stone that is quarried from various parts of the world. Because they are quarried, there is an infinite amount of colors and looks to choose from. Granite kitchen countertops are highly durable and are not susceptible to scorching. They also require little maintenance. Typically once every other year or so you they need to be sealed to prevent the slight risk of staining. Granite countertops are expensive so be forewarned. This said there are a couple of options to reduce granite countertops costs. You can either buy granite stone slab slightly thinner, which is then mounted to a ¾” plywood substrate, or you can buy granite countertop tiles. Each is cheaper than buying the standard 1-1/4 inch thick granite slab.

Quartz Countertops (a.k.a. Silestone)

Quartz countertops, as the name suggests is manufactured using quartz stone and various epoxies. They look absolutely stunning and are extremely durable. Like granite countertops, they are very pricey. Unlike granite countertops, however, they are slightly sensitive to heat so a little bit of care is needed with them. Basically do not place scorching hot frying pans on them.

Soapstone Countertops

Soapstone countertops add a unique old school charm to the kitchen. Soapstone has been used for centuries as countertops.

Silestone, or Quartz, kitchen countertops

For many older homeowners, they may remember seeing soapstone countertops in their science labs. Soapstone has a warm soft look and feel and is easy to maintain. Colors range from various shades of black and grey to a purplish tone. Similar to other stone type countertop materials they are priced fairly expensive.

Butcher Block Countertops

As the name may suggest to many a homeowner, butcher block countertops are made out of wood. They are ideal for preparing and cutting food on, and can easily be sanded to remove any cut marks that inevitably occur on them. They are, however, susceptible to bacteria and staining, and as a result need regular care and maintenance to protect their surface and prevent health concerns.

Marble Countertops

Marble countertops are rarely seen in kitchens nowadays, however they are an option. Marble is porous and can stain easily, and it is also susceptible to chipping.

Laminate Kitchen Countertops

Laminate countertops are an inexpensive alternative to the various other kitchen countertop types.

They are easy to design and install and can be purchased in a plethora of colors and surface designs, e.g. faux wood such as butcher block. They are also easy to clean and maintain. They are not as durable as Granite however, and can easily scorch and scratch.

Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet

Tiled Kitchen Countertops

Tiled countertops can look quite folksy and natural looking, and can vary greatly in price depending upon the type of tile used to fabricate the kitchen countertop. Fabrication of the countertop involves installing a ¾ inch plywood substrate to the lower kitchen cabinets and then attaching the ceramic tiles to the wood substrate. Tile countertops are susceptible to staining and bacteria concerns due to food and liquid spills getting caught in the grout lines. The grout lines can also become stained and dirty looking over time and the tiles can easily crack if items are dropped on them. They are also difficult to cut on due to the uneven surface.

Corian Countertops

Corian countertops have been around for decades now and can look beautiful in any kitchen. They are a seamless type of kitchen countertop and look similar to granite. They are also available in a plethora of colors and patterns. They can, however, scratch, scorch and even melt if you are not careful with them. They are moderately priced in between natural stone and laminate.

Concrete Countertops

Concrete kitchen countertops have become increasingly popular with homeowners in recent years. They are durable and affordable and can be designed and manufactured into any shape. Color dyes and bits of other materials can be mixed with the concrete to achieve an infinite amount of color tones and visual appearances.

The only downside with concrete countertops is that they are porous and thus can stain easily. As a result, they should be sealed regularly to mitigate the risk of staining.

For help on your kitchen remodeling project, see my Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet. The Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective kitchen remodeling contractors. It also includes a comprehensive kitchen remodeling cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected remodeling costs for every phase of the project.

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