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10 Best Kitchen Countertop Materials

The kitchen countertop material you choose for your kitchen renovation will have a huge impact on the overall look and function of your kitchen. You will want the color and texture to coordinate or complement the other materials in the room. Depending on how you use your kitchen, some countertop materials will be more durable than others.

Another consideration is how much work you are willing to put into maintaining your new counters. While some materials are virtually maintenance-free, others require regular care to keep them looking nice.

Here is a breakdown of the 10 best kitchen countertop materials:

1. Granite

Granite is by far the most popular choice for countertops right now, and with good reason. The natural stone can be found in a variety of colors and patterns, making it easy to find a unique look for your project. The material is easy to clean and stays cool-a major benefit for bakers needing a large surface to roll out dough. On the downside, it is expensive, the hard surface can be tough on your dishes, and stains can be difficult to remove.

2. Solid Surfacing

Solid surface countertops cost nearly as much as granite, but have the advantage of being virtually maintenance-free. Scratches and burns can be sanded to keep your counters looking new. The engineered surfaces are nonporous, making counters hygienic without requiring sealing. A wide range of colors and finishes are available, making it a breeze to customize the look of your kitchen. Those counters will be less resistant to hot pans and sharp knives than natural stone, however, so you do have to take care not to damage them.

3. Quartz

One of the hardest materials available, quartz is incredibly durable and requires little maintenance. Quartz countertops are naturally scorch and scratch resistant. The nonporous surfaces is maintenance-free and never needs to be sealed.

4. Stainless Steel

For a sleek, modern look, stainless steel is a great option. Resistant to both heat and bacteria, it is an extremely durable option that is relatively simple to maintain. Stainless can dent if you are not careful, though, and fingerprints can become a nuisance. Since countertops are highly customized, stainless steel can also be very expensive.

5. Butcher Block

With its warm, natural look, butcher block fits nicely in country or cottage kitchens. Scratches can be sanded, or left for a time-worn patina. While the material is relatively inexpensive, it does demand frequent disinfecting and oiling to protect the surface.

6. Carrara Marble

Marble lends a classic, elegant look to kitchens, and the cost of Carrara marble is reasonable compared to other natural stone materials. Because it is highly susceptible to stains, marble is not the best choice for hardworking kitchens. It is, however, perfect for a baking station.

7. Soapstone

Soapstone has become a popular surface choice for homeowners seeking a subtle, understated look. Impervious to heat, stains and bacteria, soapstone is a great kitchen surface, but it is softer than other natural stones and will damage more easily. The upkeep and cost of soapstone countertops is moderate.

8. Concrete

Concrete countertops are versatile because the concrete can be tinted and decorative materials can be mixed into it. Concrete is also quite durable. It is a costly choice, and requires some dedication. Concrete countertops should be sealed frequently to resist stains, and they can develop small cracks over time.

9. Laminate

Laminate countertops remain the most economic surface option, and they come in a wide variety of colors and textures. They are also the least durable and susceptible to stains, burns and scratches if not cared for properly.

10. Recycled Material

As green building practices become more mainstream, recycled materials are gaining in popularity. Countertops can be made from recycled glass, reclaimed wood, or even recycled paper composite. Each offers unique benefits and challenges, but all are eco-friendly.