Gone are the days of narrowing down your kitchen countertop selection from just two or three choices. Countertops have become as much a central feature of the kitchen as the color of the cabinets and flooring. Today, the large assortment of materials, including metal and recycled products, offers many choices to help you find the perfect countertop to fit your style and budget.  

So many choices can leave your mind spinning. Not to worry. Here are the top 10 materials for kitchen countertops that include something for every creative appetite. From traditional to contemporary to eclectic and everything in between, browse the list to find out what fits your lifestyle.

Natural Granite

For those who love a high-end look, granite remains a popular choice. As long as you’re willing to give your granite a little attention, it’s a beautiful choice that maintains its beauty and value for decades.

  • Wipe up spills quickly, including oil, wine, soda, or acidic liquids, to avoid stains

  • Regularly keep countertops wiped down and clean

  • Seal countertops once a year to extend their beauty and value    

Marble

Despite being a little more delicate and priced as high as some granite, marble is hard to beat when it comes to an impressive look. But if you don’t mind the maintenance, here are a few advantages to choosing marble:

  • Available in infinite colors and textures 

  • Provides a beautiful accent to other countertop materials

  • Presents a high-end, classy look of lasting elegance

Quartz

Quartz offers a smooth, sleek look with styles that range from solid colors to a granite-like appearance. Although it falls into the higher price range, quartz remains a popular choice because it boasts some attractive characteristics:

  • Non-porous surface makes it impervious to stains and bacteria

  • Extremely hard-wearing material that takes a lot of wear and tear without cracking or chipping

  • Practically maintenance-free, it just needs a simple wipe down  

Tile

An easily maintained and inexpensive choice is tile. It’s sturdy and available in a huge array of colors, shapes, textures, and sizes. Maybe the best thing about tile is that it’s such a fantastic hands-on option if you’re creative and handy:

  • Decide whether you want a sophisticated look, a quaint design, or something completely different

  • Choose from limitless tile options to create a unique design that’s all your own

  • Cut installation costs by making it a DIY project

Laminate

One of the most affordable choices, laminate can be made to look like high-end stone, wood, metal, or quartz, which has caused a rebirth in its popularity. What could be better than affordability and beauty? How about these perks:

  • Printing and edging options make for endless color, texture, and pattern choices

  • Laminate surfaces are heat, scratch, and stain-resistant

  • Easy maintenance. No need for sealers or expensive cleaning solutions

Wood

Whether it’s an entire countertop make-over or just the addition of a butcher-block island, wood offers a mix-and-match versatility along with a cozy, warm feel. If you love to cook, here’s why wood is a wonderful choice: 

  • Once sealed, countertops are sanitary and heat-resistant

  • Durable enough for food prep, including cutting meat without dulling knives 

  • Wood can be mixed with other countertop materials to add multiple prep surfaces and interest to the kitchen

Metal

Stainless steel is popular, but it’s only one of many metal countertop choices available. From a modern look to something more traditional or even cozy, metal countertops are easy to clean, non-porous, and offer natural antimicrobial properties. Here are a few to choose from:

  • Copper is a versatile choice, thanks to hints of green, brown, and red naturally found in the material. Shining it preserves its copper color, or you can leave it be and show off the patina 

  • Zinc brings a warmer feeling than other metal choices. If left alone, it will also develop a patina of dark bluish-gray hues. 

  • Pewter and its natural slate-gray tone create a comfortable, down-to-earth feel. Over time, pewter will acquire a charcoal patina.  

Recycled

Made from a combination of pre- and post-consumer products, including concrete, glass, paper, and plastic, these environmentally friendly countertops offer lots of colors, textures, and designs to choose from.

  • Recycled glass is not only sturdy, easy to clean, low maintenance, and heat- and stain-resistant but it also comes in a variety of attractive mosaics that complement any kitchen decor

  • Paper composite is durable, heat-resistant, non-porous, and offers a contemporary design that’s best suited in an industrial-style or eclectic kitchen. Sealing it twice a year with mineral oil helps prevent stains   

  • Plastic countertops are made from milk jugs, yogurt containers, water bottles, and other discarded plastic. In a large selection of colors and designs, plastic is durable and inexpensive.   

Concrete

Although it sounds industrial, a concrete countertop is not equivalent to placing a slab of sidewalk on your cabinets. Concrete is extremely versatile and offers choices in stain, color, and texture. And while you may think a lot of countertop materials offer that, here are a few more reasons why concrete is an attractive countertop choice: 

  • The contour is up to you. Whether round, square, kidney-shaped or something completely different, the shape can be cast to your liking

  • It goes with everything--glass, tile, marble, you name it

  • It’s energy-efficient, capturing heat and releasing it when temperatures decrease

Soapstone

If you like the dramatic look of dark countertops, consider soapstone. While you need to expect its color to darken over time, this natural stone doesn’t stain, cleans easily, is non-porous, and offers better durability than granite. Here are a few ways for keeping a soapstone countertop looking its best:  

  • A mineral oil rub down will even out the natural darkening patina as it happens

  • If after the patina is complete (seven-to-nine months) the countertop looks dull, rub it down with mineral oil so the shine returns

  • Surface scratches are repaired easily with sandpaper and a mineral oil rubdown.

Final Thoughts

When choosing a kitchen countertop, you’ll want something that makes a statement, expresses your personality, and fits your family’s lifestyle. Make sure you see all that’s available before narrowing your search. If you’re in the market for a kitchen remodel, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a designer before beginning any major renovation, and the designers at Kitchen & Bath Ideas have a combined 100+ years experience. Contact us for a free consultation today.


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