Top Materials for Kitchen Countertops
Granite defines elegance in a kitchen. Even modest kitchens seem like luxury spaces when flavored by the beauty of granite countertops.
- Almost impervious to heat
- Very strong and durable
- Nearly maintenance-free when treated with newer sealers
- Slabs may have imperfections
- Stone is porous and requires sealing to avoid stains
- Can crack if stressed or improperly installed
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.
- Somewhat stain resistant
- Damage can be sanded out
- Fairly impervious to heat
- Must be treated with mineral oil
- May darken over time
- Surface can scratch and dent, though this can create an attractive antique look
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.
- Exceptionally beautiful stone, with unique veining
- Adds to real estate value of a home
- Waterproof and heatproof
- Stone is porous and stains easily unless sealed
- Can be scratched; repairs are difficult
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.
- 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
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.
- Immune to heat damage from hot pans
- Easy to clean
- Easy for DIYers to construct
- Grout lines can stain and are difficult to clean
- Tile are brittle and may crack under impact
- Custom tiles can be very expensive