Skip to main content

Material World – Countertops

When it comes to a kitchen remodel or bathroom refresh, new countertops are perhaps the easiest way to transform the space. Finding the right countertops for your family can be a daunting decision–a countertop is both a functional practicality and an aesthetic choice.

Things to Keep In Mind

Budget

First things first–how much can you afford to spend on your new countertops? When deciding on a budget, be sure to factor in the longer term costs; maybe your top choice is the least expensive now, but maybe it requires yearly maintenance or will need to be replaced sooner than another choice.

Wear and tear

Do you and your family give the kitchen a workout three times a day? Be sure to think about how frequently you use your countertops and how hard you go. If you have a smaller family or don’t cook super often, you maybe be able to get away with choosing a more high maintenance or less durable option. 

Aesthetics

When choosing a material, think about the entire kitchen–and your entire home’s–overall style. If you choose something uber-trendy now, are you comfortable replacing it sooner than you may need to or living with it longer than you love it? Are you planning to renovate other parts of your home later? Will your new countertop still fit into the updated space?

Resale Value

If there’s any chance you’ll be selling your home with these countertops in place, it’s a good idea to factor in resale value when choosing the material. Again, something super custom or of-the-moment may be a deterrent to potential buyers!

Types of Countertops


Marble

The cool girl of countertops. Marble has been experiencing a major (and somewhat extended) moment over the last few years, and for good reason. A naturally occurring stone, marble offers an organic beauty that can’t be beat. Because it’s a natural stone known for its veining, each slab of marble is one-of-a-kind, giving you endless options when it comes to choosing the look of your countertops.

Pros: Elegant, heatproof, unique 
Cons: Expensive, porous, easily stains and scratches


Granite

Ah, the old reliable. Granite has been the top countertop choice for homeowners since the 90s. Like with any other material, it runs the risk of showing its age (both literally and aesthetically) if it’s not properly chosen and cared for. That said, there are so many directions you can go in with granite, from dark and heavily speckled to lighter in color with metallic glints. 

Pros: Easily accessible, affordable, endless options, durable
Cons: Can become dated quickly


Soapstone

Ah, the old reliable. Granite has been the top countertop A naturally occurring composite stone, made up of steatite (a mix of chlorite, dolomite, and magnesite). Gives a similar feel as quartz or granite.  

Pros: Non-porous, durable, low maintenance, heat-resistant, adds value 
Cons: Can be expensive, limit of color options, scratches easily, can darken with use


Quartz

A man-made natural stone alternative. Quartz mimics the look and feel of natural stone but unlike natural stone, quartz isn’t porous and doesn’t need to be sealed. 

Pros: Low maintenance, variety of colors and patterns, don’t need to be sealed like a natural stone, stain and heat resistant 
Cons: Heavy, can be expensive


Quartzite

A naturally occurring alternative to quartz.

Pros: Gives a similar look as marble but more affordable, durable, heat resistant, low maintenance 
Cons: Porous, can be expensive, can be difficult to install


Concrete

Another natural material that needs a relatively high amount of maintenance and care to keep them looking great. That said, they’re incredibly durable and cool looking. 

Pros: Has a modern aesthetic, heat-resistant, tough, can customize look
Cons: Porous, expensive, not seen as a timeless material for resale


Stainless Steel

If you’re cooking every day, three times a day, prepping elaborate meals in a giant restaurant-style kitchen, stainless steel counters may be your best choice. They’re ultra durable, can take a beating, and are so easy to clean. That said, they do look industrial, so we’d only suggest steel if you’re locked in to that look. 

Pros: Easy to clean, durable
Cons: Can get banged up, defines the look of the kitchen, loud


Butcher Block

Hardwoods make great countertops with the proper care and maintenance. Because even the hardest wood is softer than many other materials, it needs to be sealed and protected regularly. Also, just like with a wood cutting board, wood countertops can scratch and nick easily. That said, they lend a warm, restaurant-like feel to the kitchen that many people love.

Pros: Cool, clean look, durable and long-lasting if properly maintained 
Cons: Requires maintenance, natural materials more at risk for bacteria, mold


Laminate

How many of us have signed a lease on a rental or bought a starter home with peeling, cracked laminate–and proceeded to live with it way longer than we’d have wanted to? Laminate definitely gets a bad rep in the design world; but if you’re on a budget, there are plenty of tasteful ways you can use laminate to refresh your kitchen.

Pros: Affordable, easy to clean, can give a vintage, retro feel to a kitchen
Cons: Can peel and tear; can look cheap, seaming is always visible


Recycled Materials

As technology advances, we’re gaining access to some seriously cool green countertop options. Recycled glass and paperstone are two we’re currently curious about; though there are plenty others that combine recycled materials to create a truly unique and pretty product. 

Pros: Sustainable, unique, trendy
Cons: May not be as timeless as some other materials

DIY + Inspiration

Types of Glue
Types of Toilets
How to Clean Your Gutters
Stay Up To Date With Us
Positive vibes. No mansplaining. Ever. Follow along to learn about the newest Pros on the MBuild roster, our favorite DIY + renovation tips, and stories about badass women in the trades. Let’s build the matriarchy one project at a time.