01 Sep Picking The Perfect Countertop for Your Kitchen: A Buyer’s Guide
Original publish date: 07/29/2020
Revised date: 09/01/2023
The Best Kitchen Countertops for Your Remodeling Needs and Budget
Updating your kitchen countertops is one of the most impactful ways to transform the heart of your home. With so many options for materials and styles, it can be tricky to select the right countertop for your kitchen remodeling goals, lifestyle and budget. Keep reading as we break down the need-to-know details on today’s most popular countertop choices.
Cost: $10-$20 per square foot
Pros: Most affordable option, extensive variety of colors/patterns, easy DIY installation, scratch-resistant surface.
Cons: Prone to swelling from water damage, not very durable, limited heat/scratch resistance
Laminate countertops, like Formica and Wilsonart, offer an inexpensive way to refresh your kitchen’s look. Available in endless colors and patterns, laminate is a budget-friendly material perfect for rental or starter homes. While laminate stands up well to daily use, it can be prone to chipping, scratches and water damage over time. Laminate is not ideal for avid home cooks, social media foodies or those who regularly use their kitchen. We recommend it for locations such as your garage or laundry room where slight damage will not be as noticeable over time.
Cost: $30-$100 per square foot
Pros: Beautiful natural stone look, heat/scratch-resistant, adds value to home
Cons: Requires professional installation, porous and prone to staining, sealing required
For a luxury feel, natural stone like granite is a top choice. Granite countertops make a stylish statement with their distinctive colors, veins and patterns. This natural material stands up well to heavy daily use, but requires sealing to prevent stains. Granite must be professionally installed, making it a bigger upfront investment.
Cost: $50-$250 per square foot
Pros: Elegant stone look, variety of colors/patterns, naturally cool surface
Cons: Easily etched/scratched, prone to stains, regular sealing needed
With its timeless beauty, marble countertops add an elegant touch to any kitchen. Available in a spectrum of colors like white, gray, black, and green, marble suits both modern and old-world kitchen designs. However, marble requires frequent sealing and easily etches when exposed to acids, limiting its durability. Due to the large, heavy and sensitive material, we recommend handling marble with the utmost care.
Quartz [Engineered Stone]
Cost: $40-$150 per square foot
Pros: Durable, scratch/stain-resistant, easy maintenance, custom colors
Cons: Higher cost, can chip if improperly handled
For next-level resilience with sleek natural beauty, engineered quartz countertops are a top contender. Quartz countertops are by far the most popular kitchen remodeling choice installed by our countertop professionals. Quartz offers the look of stone but with added durability thanks to its resin binder. This makes quartz highly scratch, stain, and heat resistant. With care, quartz countertops can maintain their polished beauty for years.
Solid surfacing [Corian]
Cost: $35-$100 per square foot
Pros: Seamless look, heat/stain/scratch resistant, nonporous
Cons: Prone to cuts and scratches, limited colors, higher cost
Solid surface countertops like Corian provide a streamlined, contemporary look perfect for modern kitchen designs. The seamless installation abuts sinks and backsplashes for a sleek built-in vibe. Made from acrylic-polyester blends, the solid surface stands up well to daily use but can be damaged by sharp objects. Corian is found to be both a stylish and practical option.
Cost: $75 – 150 per square foot
Pros: Warm wooden look, budget-friendly, easily repaired/refinished
Cons: Requires frequent oiling, prone to scratches/stains, limited heat resistance
For an inviting lived-in style, butcher block countertops bring natural warmth to any kitchen. Their unfinished wood look pairs beautifully with stainless steel and worn finishes; making it a perfect accent for your kitchen island or prep area. Butcher block surfaces require regular oiling to prevent drying, cracking, or water damage, and most homeowners do not choose to butcher block their entire kitchen. Expect to refinish periodically as surfaces will begin to show wear.
Pros: Heat and Scratch Resistant, Carbon Neutral, Low Maintenance
Cons: Higher cost, Limited Edge Styles
Dekton countertops are extremely durable and require minimal maintenance. They are made by compressing a mixture of raw materials, including glass, porcelain, and quartz, at a high temperature and pressure. This process results in a surface that is highly resistant to heat, stains, and scratches.
Cost: $65-250 per square foot
Pros: Durable, heat-resistant, uniquely customizable
Cons: Heavy, prone to staining/etching, extensive installation
Concrete delivers an edgy, ultra-contemporary vibe unmatched by other countertop materials. Concrete can be poured, stamped, or stained to create one-of-a-kind designs. However, concrete is very heavy, making it unsuitable for some cabinets or DIY projects. Regular finishing and sealing is required for protection and easy maintenance.
Cost: $70-$120 per tile
Pros: Heat/stain-resistant, develops natural patina over time
Cons: Requires routine oiling, expensive, limited colors
For old-world rustic charm, soapstone countertops bring an organic style that complements country or traditional spaces. Made from metamorphic rock, soapstone is extraordinarily resistant to heat, stains, and etching. However, it requires regular oiling to maintain its soft luster. Soapstone wears to a darker patina, adding to its timeworn appeal.
Cost: $2-$35 per tile
Pros: Affordable, easy DIY install, wide variety of styles
Cons: Grout requires sealing, uneven surface, less durable
Ceramic, porcelain and glass tile offer an affordable, customized option for kitchen countertops. Available in all colors, shapes and patterns, tile enables you to get creative with your kitchen’s look. It is valuable to note, grout lines easily stain and the uneven surface limits durability and cleanability. Best for low-use spaces or craft/hobby rooms.
Key Takeaways for Your Kitchen Remodel
With this overview of popular countertop options, you can better match your material selection to your kitchen needs. Be sure to consider your lifestyle, budget and overall design vision. A durable low-maintenance surface like quartz or solid surface is ideal for busy family kitchens. For old-world flair, the organic imperfection of natural butcher block or soapstone brings authentic rustic character. Or make a sleek contemporary statement with the bold minimalism of concrete.
Whatever you choose, new countertops go a long way in transforming your kitchen. Invest wisely in quality materials that will withstand years of use while bringing you joy. With proper planning and care, your new countertops can provide lasting beauty and performance to be enjoyed for generations to come. You can also learn more about the Best Time of Year to Start Your Kitchen Remodel, and of course contact the countertop professionals at The Homestyles Group for help with your home remodeling needs.