Choosing the Most Important Elements of Your Kitchen - The Lowdown on Countertops

Cabinets and Countertops
Decoration and Design
Kitchen Remodeling
By Contractors.com Team July 19, 2021

The kitchen is one of the main centers of everyday life. Ideally, we’d all have a kitchen that combines a perfect balance of functionality and beauty. As many interior designers attest to, a kitchen countertop is perhaps the biggest determiner of the look of the room. Aside from avoiding common kitchen remodeling mistakes, choosing the right countertop material can play a big role in guiding your project to success. A good countertop can increase your home’s value, whereas a mediocre one can be an eyesore. 

Thanks to new stylistic and technological advancements, there’s a huge range of solid surface countertops to choose from. There’s an option that fits almost every budget, and each comes with some compelling benefits. The trick to choosing the right one for you is to find the material with a balance of form and function that suits your own needs and taste. 

Quartz Countertops

Quartz stone is one of the most durable countertop materials to have come out in the past few decades. A quartz worktop gives you that same sleek and smooth feel that other premium materials such as marble have, but comes with some extra benefits too.

The Most Fitting Countertops for a Contemporary Kitchen

The Most Fitting Countertops for a Contemporary Kitchen

Pros

Besides giving you that desired sleek look of other premium materials such as marble, quartz worktops also require less maintenance. Quartz countertops are a melange of recycled stone materials such as marble and granite. 

Cons

The main drawback to quarts is the expense. Quartz tends to cost quite a bit more than other similar materials. Quartz worktops also tend to discolor if they are exposed to UV rays for long periods. 

Average Cost

Quartz costs around $200 per square foot, which is around three times the price of granite. 

How to Take Good Care of Your Quartz Countertops

How to Take Good Care of Your Quartz Countertops

Granite Countertops 

The reason for granite’s popularity is no mystery once you see how it can imbue a kitchen with natural beauty. No one slab of granite is the same, so your countertop is guaranteed to have its unique assortment of colors and patterns if you opt for granite. Black granite countertops are especially effective at giving your kitchen a look that is unique and rustic.  

Durable Countertops That are Both Stylish and Practical

Durable Countertops That are Both Stylish and Practical

Pros

Granite is very durable. Therefore, granite worktops are scratch-resistant and heat resistant, which makes them great surfaces for the kitchen. Granite is also one of the more affordable countertop materials, which is always a plus.

Cons

Granite worktops are more maintenance-intensive than similar materials such as marble and quartz. They need to be sealed regularly to prevent water and oil staining. 

Average Cost

Granite worktops cost $60 per square foot on average. 

The Staggeringly Major Effect That Countertops Have On Kitchen's Atmosphere

The Staggeringly Major Effect That Countertops Have On Kitchen's Atmosphere

Butcher Block Countertops

Butcher block kitchen countertops are a perfect choice for those who pine for the serenity of the countryside. These hardwood countertops bring the country aesthetic into your home, giving your kitchen a cozy country cottage feel. 

Scandi Wood Countertops That Blend Modern with Tradition

Scandi Wood Countertops That Blend Modern with Tradition

Pros

Wood is a great surface to work on since it has that distinctive solid and natural feel of high-quality timber. Butcher block is one of the most cost-effective countertop options, and can easily be a budget-friendly DIY project. Keeping a butcher block countertop looking like-new is also pretty easy.

Cons

Because wood is sensitive to water, butcher block countertops will need to be sealed immediately after installation and resealed every month after that. 

Average Cost

Butcher block kitchen countertops cost just $5 per square foot on average. 

Colorful and Vibrant Countertop Ideas

Colorful and Vibrant Countertop Ideas

Laminate Countertops

When they came out in the 1940s, laminate countertops were intended as a high-tech replacement for wood and stone countertops. They are made up of fiberboard with a plastic laminate outer layer. These counters were rather low quality, but we’ve come a long way from the Formica countertops of the 1960s. Today's laminate countertops offer a wide range of styles and are much more robust than the stuff from the good old days, and can easily simulate the look of hardwood and stone countertops. 

The Many Benefits of Dark Countertops

The Many Benefits of Dark Countertops

Pros

The biggest one is affordability. Laminate is easily one of the most affordable countertop materials on the market, costing almost half the price of most stone countertop options. 

Cons

The tradeoff is that laminate tends to be less durable than the materials it wants to replace. It doesn’t cope well with hot things being put on it, and it isn’t scratch-resistant. Laminate is also more prone to staining which can make it harder to keep clean. 

Average Cost

Laminate countertops go for around $29 per square foot. 

Why You Should Try Laminate Countertops

Why You Should Try Laminate Countertops

Corian Countertops 

Also known as solid surface countertops, Corian countertops were designed to be a more durable and maintenance-free alternative to stone countertops. The material resembles stone, but unlike stone, it’s homogenous and maintains a consistent appearance at all layers.   

Countertops That Require Little to No Maintenance

Countertops That Require Little to No Maintenance

Pros

The benefit of corian is that it is easily repairable, even by a homeowner. Scratches can be smoothed out with an orbital sander without messing up the look of the countertop. Plus, because it is nearly non-porous, a solid surface countertop is easier to keep clean than most other materials. 

Cons

Corian countertops can deform under extreme heat, so avoid placing any hot frying pans or pots of boiling water on it. It is also more prone to scratching than natural stone materials. 

Average Cost

Corian costs around $45 per square foot on average.  

Marble Countertops

This is one of the mainstays of classic countertops and is worth considering for your kitchen remodeling project. There’s nothing quite like a marble countertop when it comes to effortless style. Installing a marble countertop in your kitchen is a sure way to give it a classy, luxurious feel. 

Beautiful Marble Colors Perfect for a Kitchen Countertop

Beautiful Marble Colors Perfect for a Kitchen Countertop

Pros

Marble kitchen countertops don’t need much maintenance and are very easy to keep clean. It’s also a nice surface to work on since the natural stone is smooth with no rough edges. 

Cons

As with granite countertops, marble tends to stain if non-clear things such as red wine or coffee are spilled on them. This is due to marble being a very porous material, which also makes it one of the softest natural stone materials on the market. 

Average Cost

Marble costs $60 per square foot on average. 

The Benefits of a Marble Kitchen Countertop

The Benefits of a Marble Kitchen Countertop

Soapstone Countertops 

Soapstone countertops fit in many different kitchen layouts. Soapstone has a very distinctive look that darkens with time and is sure to give your kitchen a very un

ique aesthetic. It is a unique material in that it combines the benefits of different stone materials into one compelling package.  

Making the Most of Small Countertops

Making the Most of Small Countertops

Pros

Much like quartz, soapstone countertops don’t require sealing and are easy to keep clean. Because it is a natural stone like granite, each slab of soapstone will look different. It is also heat-resistant and crack-resistant. 

Cons

Soapstone is a soft material, and as such is prone to be damaged by hard knocks. If the soapstone slab you choose is not perfectly smooth it may scratch your dishware. Soapstone countertops also come in a limited range of mostly dark colors, which may be hard-no to some. 

Average Cost

Soapstone costs $90 per square foot on average. 

Limestone Countertops

As far as natural stone countertops go, limestone is easily one of the most elegant options. Part of the popularity of limestone has to do with its resemblance to marble, a material it shares some similarities with.  

Best Limestone Countertops That Work Well In a Bright Kitchen

Best Limestone Countertops That Work Well In a Bright Kitchen

Pros

Limestone is a durable countertop material, and pairs well with the stainless steel appliances and kitchenware that pervade most kitchens. Because it is one of the softer stone countertop materials, it is less likely to form chips or cracks.  

Cons

However, that pliability means limestone countertops are more likely to scratch than other materials such as granite. As it is a more porous material, limestone stains easily and requires regular sealing to be kept in good condition. 

Average Cost

Limestone costs $70 per square foot on average. 

Recycled Glass Countertops

This is the ultimate earth-friendly choice — a material made completely from recycled materials that are used every day. As the name suggests, recycled glass countertops are made partly or entirely from recycled glass, making them the ultimate choice for sustainable beauty

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Interior Elements for a Greener Lifestyle

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Interior Elements for a Greener Lifestyle

Pros

Recycled glass countertops are heat resistant, easy to clean, and require little maintenance. This is thanks to the non-porous nature of glass which prevents mold or mildew from finding a home on your countertop. Recycled glass is also pretty versatile as a material because it can be made to any style, shape, color, or texture you desire. 

Cons

At the end of the day, a glass countertop is well, glass. So it’s more prone to chips and cracks, especially if you drop something heavy on it. Anything acidic can damage a glass countertop, and water damage can take a toll over a long period. 

Average Cost

Recycled glass countertops cost $65 per square foot on average. 

Porcelain Countertops

Porcelain countertops are a fairly new trend in North America, though it has been a popular choice in Europe for decades. This material is made from a special type of clay that is kiln fired at very high temperatures. The result is a material that combines unrivaled durability with a very distinct look. 

Classic Countertop Options for a More Traditional Kitchen Interior

Classic Countertop Options for a More Traditional Kitchen Interior

Pros

With high durability, porcelain countertops

come with many benefits. Scratch resistance, heat resistance, stain resistance, UV light resistance, and chemical resistance are just a few of them. 

Cons

Because porcelain countertops are made with their patterns printed onto the countertop, any scratching or chipping will reveal nothing but blank porcelain beneath. Despite their incredible strength porcelain countertops do have one vulnerability, and that’s ceramic blades. To avoid scratching you may want to avoid using ceramic knives on your porcelain countertop. 

Average Cost

Porcelain countertops cost $80 per square foot on average. 

How to Pick the Best Color for Your Kitchen Countertop

How to Pick the Best Color for Your Kitchen Countertop

Stainless Steel Countertops

Using stainless steel countertops is a great way to infuse your kitchen with a dash of trendy minimalism and give it a more contemporary feel. It’s a countertop material that perfectly embodies the minimalist aesthetic because it effuses beauty through simplicity. 

Sleek Countertops for Contemporary Kitchen Interior Designs

Sleek Countertops for Contemporary Kitchen Interior Designs

Pros

Stainless steel is quite durable, low maintenance, and heat resistant. The occasional scrub is all stainless steel needs, and small scratches can be easily buffed out. 

Cons

Stainless steel countertops tend to smudge easily, which might make it hard to keep clean if your kitchen is used a lot. Stainless steel tends to be pricier than most other countertop materials. 

Average Cost

Stainless steel countertops cost just under $100 per square foot on average. 

How to Maintain a Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertop

How to Maintain a Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertop

Concrete Countertops

Concrete goes well with many different materials making it a pretty versatile material to work with. Concrete can easily be paired with steel, glass, tile, and even marble. Concrete kitchen countertops can come in nearly any shape and color you can think of, complete with details and patterns of your choosing. A concrete countertop can even be styled to simulate natural stone. 

The Secret to a Sturdy and Durable Concrete Countertop

The Secret to a Sturdy and Durable Concrete Countertop

Pros

Concrete is a very durable and cost-effective material, making it an excellent choice for an outdoor kitchen worktop. Concrete kitchen countertops can even save you energy since they are quite good at capturing heat and releasing it as the temperature falls. Any cracks on a concrete countertop can be easily repaired with some DIY work. 

Cons

While it is possible to build a DIY concrete countertop, concrete is very heavy and therefore difficult to handle without some professional help. Concrete countertops are prone to water staining as well as scratches. 

Average Cost

Concrete countertops cost just around $100 per square foot on average. 

Guide to Kitchen Countertop Sizes and Shapes

Guide to Kitchen Countertop Sizes and Shapes

Things to Consider

  • Check your cabinets: be sure that your cabinets and the floor can support the weight of your countertops, especially if you’re planning to get stone countertops. 
  • Plumbing: putting in new countertops often means replacing your sink, which will likely require you to change the layout of your plumbing. 

Be wary of pre-fab stone: Prefabricated stone slabs are appealing thanks to their affordability, but aren’t made to take the nuances of your kitchen’s walls and seams into account. For this reason, it might be a better idea to get a countertop made to order.

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team