Top 10 Countertop Materials

With exposure to water, heat, sharp knives, and more, countertops carry a heavy burden in the kitchen. Discover the pros and cons of each countertop material to help you make the right choice for your kitchen.

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    Natural-Stone Kitchen Countertops

    Stone is a durable material that stands up to the tough wear of an active kitchen. Stone's natural variations in colors and textures make each countertop unique. The most popular stones are granite and marble, but limestone and soapstone are also commonly used.

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    Natural Stone: Pros & Cons

    Pros:

    -Durable and long-lasting

    -Classic material that does not go out of style

    -Heat-resistant

    Cons:

    -Naturally porous and therefore needs to be sealed when installed

    -Requires regular maintenance and resealing for food safety and aesthetic upkeep

    -Softer stones, such as marble or limestone, might be chipped or cracked

    -Most expensive countertop material

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    Our Best Countertop Ideas

    Get help choosing and combining countertops!

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    Cultured-Stone Kitchen Countertops

    Cultured-stone countertops, also known as quartz-surfacing, are a blend of quartz and pigments that have the look and feel of natural stone. These surfaces come in a variety of colors, textures, and graining, and unlike natural stone, it’s available in uniform colors and patterns.

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    Cultured Stone: Pros & Cons

    Pros:

    -Heat-, stain-, and scratch-resistant

    -Easy to clean

    -Does not require sealing or special care

    Cons:

    -Not as natural-looking as real stone

    -Costs almost as much as real stone 

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    Choose the Perfect Countertop

    Use these tips to help you select a countertop material that's right for your kitchen.

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    Solid-Surfacing Countertops

    Solid-surfacing countertops mimic the look of natural stone but without the cost or required maintenance. Solid-surfacing offers a variety of color possibilities and design options and can also resemble glass or concrete countertops. 

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    Solid-Surfacing: Pros & Cons

    Pros:

    -Heat- and moisture-resistant

    -Does not fade or age with time

    -Easy to clean

    Cons:

    -Can be scorched

    -Not scratchproof; deep cuts or scratches might require special care

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    Laminate Kitchen Countertops

    Laminate is constructed with a thin sheet of plastic resin covering plywood or particleboard. Advancements in printing technology and edge options allow laminate to mimic stone, metal, or wood countertops without the cost of natural materials. 

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    Laminate: Pros & Cons

    Pros:

    -Heat-, stain-, and scratch-resistant

    -Easy to clean

    -Lower costs than all other countertop materials

    Cons:

    -Sharp knives and hot pans can damage laminate

    -Scorching, deep scratches, and cracks cannot be repaired

    -Allows only drop-in sinks due to its construction

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    Eco-Friendly Kitchen Countertops

    Bamboo, recycled glass, and paper composites (combination of resin, pigments, and recycled paper) are eco-friendly countertop materials. Eco-friendly countertop materials might be harder to find in some areas.  

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    Eco-Friendly: Pros & Cons

    Pros:

    -Bamboo: easy to clean

    -Recycled glass: durable, heat- and stain-resistant, easy to clean

    -Paper composite: durable, easy to clean

    Cons:

    -Bamboo: needs to be sealed and routinely treated, susceptible to scratches and burning

    -Recycled glass: can chip, scratch, or break with heavy impacts

    -Paper composite: susceptible to scratches and stains

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    Wood Kitchen Countertops

    Wood countertops add instant warmth and charm to your kitchen. Butcher block is the most common type of wood countertop, but crafted wood slabs are also available. Wood is a great prep-area countertop material. 

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    Wood: Pros & Cons

    Pros:

    -Withstands cutting and chopping without dulling knives

    -Long-lasting, timeless material that wears with use for a charming patina

    Cons:

    -Vulnerable to moisture, heat, acid, corrosive chemicals, and stains

    -Shrinks or expands with extreme dryness or moisture

    -Requires food-friendly sealing and routine maintenance 

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    Metal Kitchen Countertops

    Stainless steel countertops can be found in any kitchen style, from modern to traditional, because they complement many kitchen appliances. Other metal countertop materials include copper, pewter, and zinc, but those are more style-specific. 

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    Metal: Pros & Cons

    Pros:

    -Antibacterial

    -Stain- and heat-resistant

    -Durable

    Cons:

    -Copper, pewter, and zinc are susceptible to scratches and dents

    -If stainless steel is scratched or dented, it's possible it cannot be repaired

    -Can be expensive

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    Concrete Kitchen Countertops

    Concrete is an extremely durable and surprisingly versatile material that can be tinted and sculpted for maximum design possibilities. Concrete countertops complement other natural materials such as wood and stone. 

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    Concrete: Pros & Cons

    Pros:

    -Heat- and stain-resistant

    -Durable

    Cons:

    -Must be sealed and regularly maintained to resist stains and water 

    -Susceptible to damage from highly acidic liquids

    -Can be extremely heavy and require extra care 

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    Tile Kitchen Countertops

    Tile provides a budget-friendly way to customize countertops. Ceramic tiles are durable and come in a variety of colors, shapes, textures, and sizes so that any style or look can be achieved. 

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    Tile: Pros & Cons

    Pros:

    -Budget-friendly

    -Can be a do-it-yourself project

    -Glazed ceramic tile is heat-, scratch-, stain-, and moisture-resistant

    Cons:

    -Tiles can chip or crack

    -Although tiles might be resistant, grout is susceptible to stains and mildew, so it requires routine cleaning 

  • Next Slideshow Granite Countertop Ideas

    Granite Countertop Ideas

    Discover the different types, edges, and applications of granite countertops, and get ideas on how to use granite in your own kitchen.
    Begin Slideshow »
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