KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS 101

Selecting countertops for your kitchen can be one of the most challenging parts of the design process. With all of the options out there, finding the best option for your space can be overwhelming! Scroll through the following options to learn about the pros and the cons of some of the more popular options out there.

GRANITE

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Pros

  • Extremely hard surface (second only to diamonds), making it highly resistant to scratches and chips
  • Heat resistant (so yes, you can place hot pots and pans directly on the countertop)
  • One-of-a-kind look with a wide variety of colors and patterns to match any decor
  • Easy to clean (soap and water are fine)

Cons:

  • Porous, so acidic liquids, wine, and detergents may stain if not cleaned up quickly
  • Cabinets may require additional support due to the weight of the slabs
  • Should be sealed twice a year
  • Price-granite is pricey option when compared to laminate or butcher block

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MARBLE

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Marble is a beautiful, natural stone that offers an elegant touch to any kitchen. It has a lasting, classic appeal, but does require more maintenance than other countertop alternatives.

Pros:

  • Timeless, upscale finish
  • Wide variety of colors and patterns
  • Heat-resistant

Cons:

  • Expensive – thought prices vary widely depending on the slab and source, marble is generally more expensive than other stone or composite products
  • High maintenance – marble needs to be sealed regularly
  • Stains and scratches easily

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QUARTZ

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Quartz is a great option for someone looking for a product that is similar in appearance to granite or natural stone, without the drawbacks.

Pros:

  • Strong, hard, and dense – even harder than granite! Not likely to scratch
  • Naturally anti-microbial
  • Low maintenance – no sealing or polishing needed
  • Wide variety of colors available to match any style or color palette
  • Uniform appearance
  • Less porous than marble or granite

Cons:

  • Not heat tolerant – don’t place a hot pan directly on the surface
  • Not seamless in appearance
  • May be sensitive to some household cleaners

BUTCHER BLOCK

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Pros:

  • Inexpensive – butcher block slabs sell at Ikea for a mere $195
  • Scratches can be easily buffed out with sandpaper
  • Warmer look than stone alternatives
  • Great surface for cutting

Cons:

  • Very porous
  • Cleaning – butcher block should be cleaned and wiped dry after use to avoid bacterial growth
  • Periodic oiling is recommended
  • Scratches more easily than other options

SOLID SURFACE

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Pros:

  • Non-porous – resists stains, bacteria, and mildew
  • Durable – scratches can be sanded down
  • Numerous patterns and colors that can mimic the look of stone
  • Invisible seams make for a seamless appearance
  • Not as heavy as stone; cabinetry won’t require additional support
  • Low maintenance (no polishing) and easy to clean with most household cleaners

Cons:

  • Hot pans will damage the top and possibly crack it
  • Vulnerable to scratches – more so than stone
  • May need to rebuffed over time
  • Said to have an ‘artificial’ appearance

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WOOD

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Pros:

  • Multitude of wood species, grain patterns, and edge profiles to choose from, including some sustainable options
  • ‘Warmer’ look than many stone options
  • Can be sanded and refinished as needed

Cons:

  • Requires periodic oiling
  • More susceptible to scratches and dents than stone
  • Can be damaged by long-term exposure to water or other spills

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PAPER

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“Paperstone” and “Richlite” are two popular brands of paper-based countertops which are extremely popular with those seeking an eco-friendly product. More expensive than laminate, this product is priced in the same neighborhood as quartz and granite.

Pros:

  • Great for the environment (usually made from post-consumer cardboard or paper)
  • Warm, neutral color options
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Limited color options
  • Color may change or fade over time
  • Not entirely stain resistant

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