8 Popular Kitchen Countertop Materials

August 16, 2016

Finding the right countertop for your kitchen takes time, patience, and a lot of consideration. Unlike furniture, painting a room, or changing the curtains a countertop is a huge investment that you must love for possibly the rest of your life. To make sure you adore what you choose here are six countertop materials with their positive and negative aspects.

1. Soapstone

Soapstone is incredibly smooth to the touch and has a deep gray tone. It is often used in laboratories and commercial kitchens because it is resistant to chemicals and stains, easy to clean, and durable. It’s non-porous, so spills tend to wipe right off. This material is also very natural looking and can often be used as a heat sink for hot pots and pans because of its constant cool temperature. If you want something that is simple and multifunctional, soapstone could be the perfect countertop for your home.

Although it is a durable countertop material, soapstone is “softer” than some other countertops, which means it can sustain dents, scratches, and chips more easily. If you invest in soapstone, be aware that it will show its character and age as you use it more and more. However, yearly oiling and simple sandpaper can help to repair and maintain this surface.

2. Granite

One of the most popular kitchen countertop materials is granite. Granite is considered one of the more luxurious countertops on the market. Its durability is as long as your house’s when maintained properly. It has a staggering range of colors to customize with any palette. In addition, it’s available in five grades of thickness to fit into variable-sized fixtures. Granite is a natural product, so it displays more irregularity and veining for a unique look.

As long as granite countertops are installed with care and sealed well, they will be crack-free and resistant to absorption. They do require some maintenance. Since granite is a more porous material, it does need to be washed daily and oiled once a year. It can also be susceptible to mold in more humid climates. However, granite is impervious to stains and heat.

Granite and quartz are often pitted against each other when choosing a countertop material. If you’re down to granite vs quartz countertops as your final options, knowing the pros and cons of each can help you determine the right choice for you.

3. Copper

Copper is a beautiful, unique countertop that will only become more stunning with time. Copper will naturally dent, cut, and change colors as you use it. It is definitely a one-of-a-kind countertop that will make your kitchen look magnificent and rustic.

Copper countertops are unfortunately fairly expensive and will quickly become dented and discolored with time. While some people find this beautiful it is not for everyone.

4. Marble

Marble is a beautiful, soft stone that invokes thought of elegance, luxury, and classic design. Marble is a stunning countertop that is durable and stands the test of time when properly cared for and installed. Marble comes in two types: Carrera and Calcutta.

Carrera is blueish gray or white and Calcutta is white with taupe. Each has distinctive veining and can have color variations, like black, pink, and green. Marble also absorbs heat naturally. This is perfect for baking or placing hot pots and pans on the counter without worry.

It may not be the perfect answer for clean freaks. Unfortunately, because marble is more porous than granite, it stains easily and is more susceptible to chips, dents, scratches, and other damage than more durable materials like granite or quartz. Marble must be re-sealed periodically to keep it protected.

You can finish your marble one or twice a year to keep the shine and look of marble longer. Be sure to only use gentle clothes, warm water or specific marble cleaners to wipe down the counters. Otherwise, this could diminish their sheen. So, if you adore the look of marble, you must embrace the inevitable impurities or look at other options.

5. Quartz

Quartz is another one of the popular kitchen countertop materials and it is and luxurious. It often jockeys with granite for the title of “most popular countertop material”. Because quartz is a manufactured product, it is more consistent and displays fewer irregularities with fewer veined options than granite. Though granite offers a few more natural options, quartz is a very customizable material.

Quartz requires no maintenance whatsoever, aside from the occasional wipedown. It does not need to be sealed and is just as durable as granite. Because quartz is not as porous as granite, it is not as susceptible to mold. So, it is often a good choice for humid climates. Although it is impervious to stains, quartz countertops can sustain damage over time from hot objects.

6. Tile

Tile offers a lot of creativity for many people. Tile countertops can create beautiful, elaborate mosaics that are durable and will last a lifetime. If you are confident in your DIY skills you can even install it yourself and give your kitchen a complete facelift. This is also the economic answer to replacing your countertop. The tiles only cost $10 to $50 per square foot. Tile can be difficult to clean after installation and can show their wear and tear relatively quickly.

7. Laminate

Laminate countertops have endured a bad reputation for quite some time. Initially, people tended to prefer a single, solid surface as opposed to a layered one. Since their first construction, laminate countertops have gone through several changes to make them more environmentally friendly. They have also been adapted for easier installation, and have become one of the most inexpensive countertops on the market.

As such, this countertop surface has become one of the popular kitchen countertop materials and is a mainstay of kitchens the world over. Laminate, often referred to as Formica, consists of synthetic material with a plastic coating. It’s available in an array of colors and patterns to fit any home. Laminate is simple to clean and very inexpensive. However, it is easily damaged and can become scratched fairly easily.

8. Wood

A classic, homey surface, wood has been in use for centuries as a countertop material. There are many types of wood to choose from, like Oak, Birch, Bolivian Rosewood, Maple, Bamboo, and Mesquite. In addition to the type of tree, there are also hundreds of finishes to choose from for a custom home.

Wood is easier on dishware and absorbs sound for a pleasant noise reduction in the home. But, wood is also damaged very easily. Of the countertop materials listed, wood tops have the highest potential for damage and also can stain much easier than other options. When damaged, it can be sanded and refinished. However, this can warp your countertop over time if it sustains a lot of damage. Wood also requires monthly oiling and regular maintenance to retain its strength and beauty.

If you have any questions about the popular kitchen countertop materials above, or aren’t sure which one fits your lifestyle and home the best, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (888) 403-4844 or contact us today at Custom Home Group.