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Top Materials for Kitchen Countertops

granite kitchen counter

Top Materials for Kitchen Countertops

Granite

Granite defines elegance in a kitchen. Even modest kitchens seem like luxury spaces when flavored by the beauty of granite countertops.

Pros:

Almost impervious to heat
Very strong and durable
Nearly maintenance-free when treated with newer sealers

Cons:

Slabs may have imperfections
Stone is porous and requires sealing to avoid stains
Can crack if stressed or improperly installed

Soapstone

Soapstone is another natural stone, usually dark gray in color with a smooth, silky feel. It has seen a recent resurgence as an alternative to granite.

Pros:

Somewhat stain resistant
Damage can be sanded out
Fairly impervious to heat

Cons:

Must be treated with mineral oil
May darken over time
Surface can scratch and dent, though this can create an attractive antique look.

Marble

Another natural stone commonly used in kitchen countertops is marble. Because no two sheets of marble are exactly the same, each marble countertop will be entirely unique.

Pros:

Exceptionally beautiful stone, with unique veining
Adds to real estate value of a home
Waterproof and heatproof

Cons:

Expensive
Stone is porous and stains easily unless sealed
Can be scratched; repairs are difficult

Quartz

The countertop material known as “quartz” is actually an engineered stone product that contains as much as 93 percent quartz particles and other minerals, shaped into slabs and bound with resins. These are not solid quartz slabs produced by quarrying.

Pros:

Can be custom-fabricated in any size and shape
Easy to maintain, no sealing required
Resists stains and is impervious to heat and acid
Slabs are uniform, with no imperfections

Cons:

Expensive

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is durable and easy to clean, and it is considerably less expensive than natural stone, quartz, or solid-surface countertops, especially for DIYers willing to do their own work.

Pros:

Immune to heat damage from hot pans
Easy to clean
Easy for DIYers to construct

Cons:

Grout lines can stain and are difficult to clean
Tile are brittle and may crack under impact
Custom tiles can be very expensive

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