Popular Kitchen Countertop Materials

Popular Kitchen Countertop Materials

Choosing the materials for new kitchen countertops can be a stressful, daunting task. When you work with a designer at Kowalske Kitchen & Bath, we guide you in the countertop selection process. We will ask questions about your lifestyle and design style to pick the best option for your kitchen. The options may seem limitless, but there are only just a handful of materials that are commonly used in modern home building and renovations.

The most popular kitchen countertop materials in use today include:

  • Quartz
  • Wood
  • Granite
  • Laminate
  • Marble
  • Solid Surface
  • Ultra-Compact

Read more about these counter options:

1. Quartz

Quartz (or engineered stone) countertops are the most popular surface for kitchen remodeling projects.

 

Pros

  • Extremely hard and durable
  • Flexible properties make quartz countertops less likely to chip or crack than other similar surfaces
  • Highly stain resistant
  • Never needs resealing

Cons

  • Quartz, in very rare circumstances, can discolor over time with regular exposure to sunlight. Sections of the counter that get exposed to UV rays may begin to look different with prolonged exposure.
  • Unless most recent best practices are used, seams will show, particularly on lighter color quartz countertops
  • The price of quartz countertops is among the highest in kitchen countertop options
  • Relatively weak tolerance to heat

We work numerous high quality quartz vendors:

White backsplash, open shelving and gray quartz
Quartz counters

 

2. Wood

Wood kitchen countertops, also known as “butcher block” countertops, are still a popular choice for homeowners who enjoy the natural look and warmth they add to the home’s character. We partner with John Boos for butcher block counters.

 

Pros

  • Wood adds a feeling of warmth and beauty to a kitchen that no other material can match
  • There is a wide range of wood types used for countertops. Hardwood adds a rustic touch to homes and is used extensively in modern home building and renovations. Maple, cherry, oak, birch, and teak are also popular types of wood countertops.
  • Wood countertops are incredibly versatile and can go with just about all kitchen styles
  • Wood is an excellent surface for cutting and other food preparation processes

Cons

  • If not sealed properly, wood countertops can store germs inside its porous surface
  • Wood is susceptible to water damage
  • Periodic refinishing may be needed
  • Wood is softer than other countertop materials and can be damaged easier. Keep a cutting board handy.
wood butcher block counter on gray cabinet island
Wood butcher block island & quartz counters on the perimeter

 

3. Granite

Granite kitchen countertops offer a rich beauty that will improve the look and style of your entire kitchen.

 

Pros

  • Every granite slab is unique with varying shades, lines, and patterns
  • Granite countertops are wise investments, adding value to your home
  • Granite is a sturdy, scratch-resistant material that will last for decades
  • You can place hot pots and pans directly on the surface without damaging granite
  • Adequately sealed granite countertops are extremely stain resistant

Cons

  • Prone to cracking and chipping
  • Slab seams will be visible on countertops
  • Granite is expensive; installation is costly and labor-intensive
  • May require additional structural support
open concept kitchen with leathered granite counters, wood island and taupe upper cabinets
Leathered granite counters

 

4. Laminate

Laminate countertops reached the height of its popularity in the 1960s, but remain an affordable and viable option for kitchen designs.

 

Pros

  • Laminate is typically the least expensive and most widely available material for kitchen countertops
  • Simple enough to install and replace that most can be done by handy DIY enthusiasts
  • Colors, textures, and edge profiles that are available have come a long way since your great grandma installed them in her kitchen

Cons

  • Prone to damage caused by hot pans and knife scratches
  • Damaged sections are hard to repair
  • Will not add to the resale value of the property
gray cabinets with laminate counters
Laminate counters

 

5. Marble

The clean look and shiny gloss of marble countertops add an element of class and elegance to any kitchen design.

 

Pros

  • Simply stated, marble countertops are beautiful, bright and timeless
  • When common marble is used, marble countertops are among the least expensive types of natural material used countertops
  • Materials are widely available

Cons

  • Susceptible to scratching
  • Easily stained
  • Relatively soft compared to other surfaces

 

6. Solid Surface Materials

Countertops made from solid surface materials offer a durable alternative to real stones or wood, as well as offer a variety of solid surface countertops colors.

 

Pros

  • Hard, solid surface
  • Non-porous and resistant to bacterial growth
  • Versatility allows for a wide range of colors and shapes, with different types of edge finishes

Cons

  • Installation is a labor-intensive project that is best left to professionals
  • Heat can cause discoloration or disfigurement

Check out some of the solid surface options available from our fabricator K.G. Stevens.

 

7. Ultra-Compact

Another great countertop material is Dekton, a blend of raw materials from quartz, porcelain and glass.

 

Pros

  • Resistant to water, stains, scratches, heat, UV rays and freezing/thawing
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor applications
  • Totally uniform surface with no cuts or joints
  • Suitable for installations for outdoor kitchens and barbecues
dekton ultra compact kitchen counter
Dekton counters

 

Designing your custom kitchen can be a rewarding experience. Creating a unique kitchen aesthetic can influence the tone of your entire home.

 

Discuss ideas for your new kitchen countertops by scheduling an appointment with a Kowalske designer.

 

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Author:

Mandy Lee is a contributor to Innovative Green Building Materials. She is a blogger and a content writer for the building materials industry. Mandy is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes.

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