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Pros and Cons of Countertop Materials

Weigh the pros and cons of different countertop materials to find the perfect fit for your space.

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Natural Stone

Natural stone, such as granite, marble, soapstone, limestone, and slate, varies in color and pattern, which means that no two slabs are exactly alike. Before purchasing a slab, take a large sample home to make sure you've found the perfect piece.

PROS:

• Durable

• Heat-resistant

• Always stylish

CONS:

• Susceptible to stains

• Requires routine maintenance, including cleaning and sealing

• Scratches and cracks (but can be buffed)


Budget: $50-$150/sq foot

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Engineered Stone

More durable than natural stone, engineered stone -- a composite material made of resins plus natural stone such as quartz, marble, or granite -- is available in a wide variety of colors, textures, and finishes.

PROS:

• Durable

• Scratch-resistant

• Stain-resistant

• Easy to clean

CONS:

• Not as natural-looking as solid stone

• Heat exposure over time might cause damage


Budget: $50-$100/sq foot

Solid-Surfacing

Solid-surfacing is a low-maintenance, budget-friendly alternative to natural or engineered stone. Consisting of a combination of manufactured materials, solid-surfacing can be easily customized to suit your needs.

PROS:

• Does not fade

• Stain-resistant

• Can be repaired

CONS:

• Can be scorched

• Can be scratched

• Not as natural-looking as stone and engineered stone


Budget: $40-$150/sq foot

Laminate

Laminate gets its look from high-quality printed paper, making it inexpensive and widely available.

PROS:

• Stain-resistant

• Easy to clean

• Low cost

CONS:

• Can be scorched, cut, and scratched

• Can be installed only with a drop-in sink

• Hard to repair


Budget: $15-$65/sq foot

Concrete

Concrete countertops are less common -- but no less stylish -- than natural stone countertops and complement a broad range of styles.

PROS:

• Durable

• Heat-resistant

• Easily customized

CONS:

• Extremely heavy

• Must be sealed regularly to avoid stains and moisture

Stainless Steel

Borrowed from restaurant kitchens, stainless-steel countertops are an ideal cook's companion.

PROS:

• Antibacterial

• Stain-resistant

• Heat-resistant

CONS:

• Scratches and dents easily

Wood

Whether you opt for traditional cherry or hardworking butcher block, wood adds instant warmth to any kitchen design.

PROS:

• Ages well with use

• Certain types can be used as a cutting surface

CONS:

• Vulnerable to moisture, heat, and stains

• Requires frequent maintenance

Recycled Glass

Eco-friendly recycled-glass countertops offer a unique look well-suited to contemporary kitchens.

PROS:

• Durable

• Heat-resistant

• Stain-resistant

CONS:

• Hard to repair

More for You

Countertop Material Finder
Take our quiz and find the best countertop material for your kitchen and your budget.

Countertop Buying Guide
Learn more about the countertop options for your kitchen.

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