Choosing the right material for your kitchen countertop is one the daunting task when renovating your kitchen. You must choose the best material that has good durability and reasonable cost as your kitchen countertop can be the focal point in the area. There are different types of kitchen countertops to choose from like marble kitchen countertops, and we will help you out with that journey.
Some of the popular materials used for kitchen counters include quartz, granite, marble, cement, and more. We will also help you find affordable kitchen countertops that can match your slim budget. All the important details you need to know before buying your kitchen countertop will be tackled here.
Types of kitchen countertops pros and cons
Practically, you can choose an array of materials for your kitchen countertop installation such as quartz, granite, marble, ceramics, and more. However, to be sure that you are choosing the best material, you need to weigh both the pros and cons of each material.
Quartz kitchen countertop is one of the most popular choices for the high-end market. It has a spotless reputation, elegance and durability as a good material for kitchen countertops. Likewise, there are various brands of quartz to choose from such as Silestone, MSI, Caesarstone, and Cambria.
- Excellent durability and hardness
- Elegant aesthetics and added resale value
- Low cleaning requirements
- Zero sealing maintenance
- Reliable antibacterial and anti-stain abilities
- Hefty price
- Low heat resistance
- Reacts with UV exposure
- Veining designs is different from that of a natural one
Granite is the best rival of quartz in kitchen and bathroom countertops. This igneous rock has superb strength and hardness comparable to quartz. In terms of color and design variety, there are fewer options for this natural stone compared to any man-made stones. Overall, granite kitchen countertop provides a deep dramatic beauty in your kitchen.
- Superb hardness and durability
- Excellent heat and scratch resistance
- Dramatic natural veinings and color tone
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Excellent non-porous abilities
- Price is high like quartz
- Requires periodic sealing
Marble kitchen countertops are known for its significant beauty for elevating home design and resale value. You would get mesmerized by the intricate natural veinings and color specks around its corners and middle section. Likewise, it also comes in a variety of price depending on its size, thickness, and grade quality.
- Natural color variation and veinings
- Smooth and polished surface for a luxurious effect
- Naturally porous and prone to stains, so it requires sealing maintenance like granite
- It has a soft structure prone to scratches and dents
- Hefty price
This mineral is a good alternative to granite if you are not willing to shell out huge cash for your kitchen countertops. It has an overall milky warm aesthetics which is highly compatible with any classic or contemporary home design. Soapstone typically comes in gray and white tone, with hardness and non-porous ability better than marble.
- The milky warm design of this mineral gives out a versatile design for kitchen renovations
- Good to achieve a classic look in your kitchen
- Easy to clean and good water and stain resistance
- Durability is still softer than granite
- Oftentimes more expensive than granite counterparts
- Limited color tone
These are synthetic stones used to substitute the expensive natural stones for kitchen countertops. These are made from pulverized natural stones and synthetic acrylic and polyester compounds that are bound together by a cement-based resin binder.
- More affordable price than natural stone countertops
- Aesthetics are highly comparable to popular natural stones
- Several options for color and design
- Minor scratches can be remedied by buffing or sanding
- Not that resistant against scratch and heat
This material is now in an uptrend in the United States but it is widely used as a countertop in Europe. Porcelain is typically made from China clay with a large percentage of kaolinite, feldspar, mineral oxides, and silica. Like granite, it has excellent heat resistance.
- Excellent resistance to stain and non-porous ability
- Good Chemical resistance
- Excellent resistance against UV and scratch
- Plenty of design and color options
- Design and color is only skin deep
- Weak against scratch caused by porcelain knives
- Supply is limited
This is a natural stone typically confused with quartz. It has a smooth and polished surface that is similar to marble but durability is like that of granite and quartz. Several households have also used this mineral for their kitchen countertop installation and kitchen sink countertops.
- Aesthetics is parallel to marble
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Excellent hardness and durability
- Resistant to UV rays
- Can be scratched with sharp objects
- Low resistance against heat
- Some quartzite requires sealing maintenance
- Limited options for design and color
Kitchen Countertop Ideas
Your kitchen countertop installation can be the focal point of your kitchen remodelling when you have chosen the best design to suit the area. You also need to consider the design of your kitchen sink countertops for this purpose. Nevertheless, we have some kitchen countertop ideas here that might interest you and is already adopted by several home and commercial establishments.
Kitchen Countertop with Good Contrasting Colors
You have two options for this, it can be that your kitchen countertop installed has a dark or light color tone to a contrast kitchen area and other appliances and fixtures around. For some households, they can have vibrantly colored kitchen countertops like orange, lime green, or yellow.
Meanwhile, some go for the timeless choice of black and white color combo for their kitchen renovation. It can be that your kitchen countertop is made from black granite or white quartz countertop.
Kitchen Countertop with Distinct Patterns
This idea can greatly work with minimalist kitchen design sparked with patterned kitchen countertops. All things around your kitchen have the minimalist approach and your kitchen countertop has unique pattern and colors, making it the focal point of the area.
Kitchen Countertops with Thicker Slabs
For modern kitchens, a thicker slab is their go-to choice with thickness ranging from 2″ to 5″. This creates a stunning look for your kitchen countertop that makes it a good center of attraction in your kitchen remodeling. You just have to adjust the heights of your kitchen cabinet to complement your thicker slab.
Kitchen Countertop – Wrapped
Going for a wrapped kitchen countertop is in-demand for modern kitchen and houses. This goes very well when your kitchen countertop color has good contrast with other fixtures and appliances in your kitchen area.
If you go for this idea, you need to wrap the sides of your kitchen cabinets and top kitchen walls with similar material and color of your kitchen countertop. Overall, you will get an astonishing visual impact for your modern kitchen.
Minimalist Approach – Two-Tone Countertop
This kitchen countertop idea was popularized by chefs and bakers who want to have a visual distinction for their hot and cold area in the kitchen. Likewise, it is a lesser headache for most households because you get to choose two types of countertops for your kitchen make-over.
Naturally Curved Kitchen Countertop
For those who are tired looking at straight-edges around their kitchen, the best way to make a difference is by having a curved and organic-looking kitchen countertop. This idea pairs well for an island countertop where you have three to four seats on your counter to strike a communal look.
Meanwhile, you can go for a rustic brown or black kitchen countertop for this design which also goes well with your wooden kitchen cabinets and furniture. The stainless steel surface of your kitchen appliances will blend well with these color combination.
Quartz kitchen countertops
If you are looking for a great focal point for your kitchen remodeling, quartz kitchen countertops can be your best bet. It has plenty of positive traits you can enjoy when having this material for kitchen renovations. Most customers go for this because it comes in a variety of designs which proves to have versatile application in your home.
The main setback of quartz for kitchen countertop installation is its hefty price. The average cost of kitchen countertops made from quartz is $75 per square foot, but the price varies on grade quality.
- Low-grade quartz – $50 to $65 per square foot
- Medium grade quartz – $65 to $75 per square foot
- High-grade quartz – $75 to $150 per square foot
There are several color and design options to choose from quartz kitchen countertops. Here are some ideas you can have to rip the beauty and elegance of quartz kitchen countertops.
Waterfall Quartz Kitchen Countertop
This design will create a continuous and seamless look in your kitchen countertop. Waterfall countertops can be C or L shape and adapting a wrapped kitchen design for the sides of your cabinets and top kitchen wall would create a superb modern look.
Snow White Quartz Countertops
To achieve this one, you can choose a white Caesarstone quartz countertop. This design will exhibit a clean and lucrative ambiance in your modern home. Moreover, it pairs well with your stainless kitchen appliances
Black Quartz Kitchen Countertops
If you want a dramatic appearance for your kitchen, then choosing a black quartz countertop would be the best choice. Likewise, you can have a two-tone kitchen color, that is, black and white for your kitchen remodeling.
Popular Brands of Quartz Countertops
Quartz has made a strong name when it comes to top materials for countertops and house remodeling. Similar to granite, it is mostly impervious to stains and scratches. Likewise, you will have plenty of options for design and color tones.
Among the several brands of quartz in the market, here are the top 10 brands of quartz manufacturers where you can have the best quartz kitchen countertop.
- Santa Margherita Quartz
- Granite Transformations
Granite kitchen countertops
The durability and functionality of granite kitchen countertops are almost the same with its best rival quartz. However, the main difference between the two, you will fall in love with the dramatic natural veinings of granite and the specks of gold, gray, and other colors on its surface.
Granite has versatile applications in your home but having it for your kitchen countertop installation is the best choice. It can also serve as a good material for backsplash, shower and kitchen wall. The innate durability and heat resistance of granite proves to be ideal for your most durable kitchen countertops.
Certain variables are affecting the price of granite and other countertop materials. Some of these factors include grade quality, size, thickness, design, and supplier. Nevertheless, the average price of granite slab falls between $40 to $60 per square foot.
Meanwhile, there are around five grade levels of granite with distinct rates.
- Level 1 – $40 to $50 per square foot
- Level 2 – $50 to $60 per square foot
- Level 3 – $55 to $65 per square foot
- Level 4 – $65 to $75 per square foot
- Level 5 – $75 to $100 per square foot
In terms of color, most granite countertops come in white, red, black, and blue. Oftentimes, customers love the natural and bold veins of gray, gold, and blue over its rich colored surface.
Granite Colors and Prices
- White Granite – This color has the widest range of choices and is easy to cut. Moreover, there are plenty of affordable kitchen countertop options for white granite. Its average cost range between $40-$60 per square foot. Some examples of this color include Snow Fall, River White, and Bianco Romano.
- Black Granite – This granite color still has plenty of options and supply is accessible. It is more affordable than white granite and price is between $20 – $70 per square foot. Popular examples include Nordic Black, Premium Black, and Black Galaxy.
- Red Granite – The starting price of this granite color is $65 and above per square foot. It is more expensive than white and black granite colors because of its rarity. A popular example of this is Bordeaux and Red Dragon.
- Gold Granite – This color is considered as a level 2 granite countertop with price ranging between $40 – $75 per square foot. Popular examples of this one include Niagara Gold, Colonial Gold, and Venetian Gold.
- Blue Granite – This one has the most expensive price because its supply is rare and fabrication is difficult. This color has a price ranging from $70 – $100 and above. Three typical examples include Blue Eyes, Blue Bahia, Spectrus.
The three common patterns of granite are marbled, speckled, and solid.
- Marbled – This mimics the polished appearance of marble. Looking at your granite kitchen countertop, it seems it no longer needs sealing maintenance.
- Solid – Rich and full-color granite counter with fewer specks and veinings on its surface.
- Speckled – This exhibits a lively appearance that best fits your kitchen appliances and cabinets.
In terms of granite finish, you have two options to choose from – polished and honed. The polished type is mostly used indoor while the honed texture is for outdoors.
Modern Kitchen Countertops
There are different ideas for modern kitchen countertops that you can take advantage of increasing the aesthetics and resale value of your home. Likewise, the most critical factor in choosing the best and most durable kitchen countertops for your remodeling.
It is important that you know the latest trends in modern kitchen countertops so you can rip the best design in kitchen remodeling. A beautiful countertop can be a great centerpiece in your kitchen that can surely increase the overall value of your home.
Quartz and Granite
These two materials are the top picks when it comes to kitchen countertop installation. They both have solid credibility for strength and aesthetics that is driving a huge customer base. Meanwhile, the final choice will still depend on your preference whether granite or quartz.
Sometimes we find ourselves bored with the solid plain texture and design of our countertops. To make a difference, our advanced technology has made it possible to place veinings and patterns on man-made stone countertops. These veinings and specks create a stunning character for any stone countertop.
Leathered or Honed
The finish of your kitchen countertop will affect the overall impact of its beauty. Recently, most households are choosing the glossy or leathered finish for all their countertops because of its mirror-like look. Likewise, a polished finish removes the need for applying wax or polisher on your countertop.
Meanwhile, if you like the rough natural texture of your stone, then go for the honed finish. The main benefit of a matte or honed finish is that it conceals any scratch or dents on your countertop.
Now, if you cannot do anything for the minimalist countertop you have installed, it is time you have a vibrant and colorful backsplash to lighten up the mood. Homeowners today are shifting towards larger slabs with bolder patterns and veinings to create a head-turner of their backsplashes.
Kitchen countertops materials
Choosing the best material for your kitchen countertop can be a daunting task. You need to consider several factors such as price, durability, heat resistance, cleaning, sealing maintenance, and design.
Before choosing moving forward with kitchen countertop installation, get hold of the types of kitchen countertops in the market. Know each material before making up your mind for the best and most durable kitchen countertops.
This natural stone has impressive strength and resistance against scratch, heat, and stain. It is easy to clean and maintenance is simple. The main setback for granite is price and sealing maintenance every year.
This is the best rival of granite in the market. Its strength and beauty are highly comparable to granite. Likewise, it provides more options for design and pattern compared to most natural stones. The main gripe about quartz is low heat resistance and expensive price.
This natural stone is best known for its warm and milky appearance. As time passes, soapstone naturally develops its antique patina to exhibit that rustic kitchen look. To achieve that rich and full-color, you need to treat its surface with oil.
Marble kitchen countertops are highly prized in the market because no two slabs are the same and its polished surface gives you that lucrative atmosphere. The main gripe about this stone is that it is prone to scratch, acidic and basic chemicals, and price.
Solid surface Stone
This synthetic stone is known for its impervious resistance against stains, scratch, and spills. Even when using small slabs, seams are almost invisible and smooth. Its strength is comparable to quartz and granite countertops. Meanwhile, its setbacks include price, low heat resistance, and requires a professional installer.
Kitchen countertops prices
Price is a strong influencing factor when it comes to buying the most durable kitchen countertop. Oftentimes, we also like to have an affordable kitchen countertop if it is not necessary to buy the high-end materials. Here are some of the average prices of some popular materials used for kitchen countertops.
The average price of quartz is $75 per square foot. Nevertheless, price varies according to the quality of the slab.
- Low grade quartz – $50 to $65 per s.f.
- Medium grade quartz – $65 to $75 per s.f.
- High grade quartz – $75 to $150 per s.f.
The average price of granite is $40 to $60 per square foot. Meanwhile, there are five grades of granite countertops in the market with specific prices.
- Level 1 – $40 to $50 per s.f.
- Level 2 – $50 to $60 per s.f.
- Level 3 – $55 to $65 per s.f.
- Level 4 – $65 to $75 per s.f.
- Level 5 – $75 to $100 per s.f.
This stone has an average price of $70 – $120 per square foot. If you plan on installing a 30-square foot countertop, you estimated cost is between $2,100 to $3,600
If you plan to have this man-made stone, the average cost for every square foot installed is between $52 – $120.
This durable and heat resistive material have an average price between $60 – $100 per square foot. It provides a balanced investment for quality, price and aesthetics when the high-end and popular materials are not feasible.
For this polished and unique stone, its average cost is between $40 to $100 per square foot. Its price is comparable to granite and quartz, some of its variety even cost more.
This material offers the most affordable kitchen countertop for any household. Its average price fall between $1 – $15 per square foot.
Kitchen countertops alternatives
If the expensive granite and quartz are way beyond the budget, then it is time for you to take a look at alternatives for an affordable kitchen countertop. Some of them have durability almost the same with quartz and granite with a lower price per square foot. Let us take a look at these alternatives and check if they can be your good kitchen countertop.
Wood provides warmth and organic beauty in this modern era. There are different types of grain and color for specific types of wood for your kitchen countertop. If there are minor scratches, it is easy to take care of them by light sanding.
Oftentimes, cleaning and oiling can be done every 3 to 6 months. Meanwhile, its price range from $35 – $200 per square foot and possible lifespan can go beyond 100 years.
If you want your kitchen counter to look like that of the professional chefs, then having stainless steel as your material is the best option. It brings out a modern and sleek appearance to any kitchen renovation.
Its estimated price is between $75 – $150 per square foot, quite expensive. This material requires low cleaning maintenance but can be prone to dents and scratches. Nevertheless, with proper cleaning and maintenance, your stainless steel countertop can last more than 200 years.
If you plan on choosing this material, make sure you have reinforced the structural support of your countertop as it tends to be heavier than other materials. This is also one of the top choices for modern kitchens with cost fairly affordable. Its price is around $75 – $150 per square foot.
The main gripe about concrete is that it is heavy and sealants are required to preserve its strength and anti-stain resistance. Moreover, it is expected to last for 50 years and longer.
This one provides the best cost-savings with designs that mimic those with natural and man-made stones. If you have an existing laminate, you can simply make an overlay for a new one on top of the old. Likewise, there are plenty of designs to choose from in big stores.
It typically falls between $25 – $50 per square foot. Meanwhile, its expected lifespan is around 15 to 25 years.
How to clean kitchen countertops
No matter how strong, durable and beautiful your kitchen countertop is, without proper cleaning and maintenance, all these things will quickly fade through time. Each material for your kitchen countertop installation has its respective expected lifespan. However, you can further extend it when you know how to carefully clean and remove the stains in your countertops.
Cleaning Granite and Marble Countertops
The materials you will need for this include mild soap solution, water, soft cloth, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and tape.
For your daily cleaning, use warm water and mild soap solution. After, rinse it off with water. Then use a soft cloth for wiping the surface with the cleaning agent and wiping dry.
For oil-based stains, you will be using baking soda and water. Mix the two until you achieve a paste-like mixture. Whereas, for water-based stains, you just need hydrogen peroxide.
For removing the oil-based stains, tape the edges first then apply a substantial amount the paste-like mixture on the stained area. Let it sit overnight, and then rinse it off with water.
Marble and granite are both innately porous, so you need to have periodic sealing maintenance to keep its non-porous ability.
Cleaning Quartz Countertops
The materials needed include mild soap solution, non-abrasive cloth and sponge.
For your daily cleaning regimen, you need to dilute your mild soap solution with water. Use a non-abrasive sponge to wipe off the surface and rinse with water. After, wipe it dry with a non-abrasive cloth.
For removing stains, you need to use a glass cleaner which is of neutral pH. Use your sponge and rinse off with water after. Wipe dry with a non-abrasive microfiber cloth.
Quartz has an excellent non-porous ability, so no sealing maintenance required.
Cleaning Soapstone Countertops
Your materials for cleaning soapstone include soft cloth, fine-grit sandpaper, mineral oil, and all-around cleaner.
Soapstone is naturally non-porous so all types of surface cleaner can work well as long as it is not abrasive. You can use an 80 to 100 grit sandpaper to remove those minor scratches and dents. Then apply mineral oil to get that rich dark color.
Cleaning Wood Countertops
For wood countertops, you will be needing a unique set of cleaning tools to properly clean it. The materials needed include lemon, soft cloth, salt, spatula, mild cleaner, white vinegar, and warm water.
For your daily cleaning, you can either use a mild cleaner or a solution of warm water and white vinegar. For food debris on your countertop, gently scrape that off with a wooden or plastic spatula.
For removing stains, you will need lemon and salt. Cut the lemon in half, then sprinkle salt over the stain. After, use half of the lemon and scrub it over the stained area sprinkled with salt.
Proper sealing maintenance is done on wood countertops to prevent molds and mildew from growing inside its wood grains. You can either use wax or commercial wood sealants for this purpose.
How to choose the best kitchen countertop
There are several types of kitchen countertops in the market and choosing the best one would take much effort and cost-analysis. You need to take this carefully as buying the right countertop means investing for the overall value of your home.
Likewise, you also need to consider the cost of kitchen countertop installation which varies for different materials. Some materials like quartz and granite would require a professional installer which can add up to your entire countertop cost.
Your kitchen countertop will receive the worse situation compared to bathroom vanity tops. It is prone to sharp objects, spills, chemicals, heat, and more. Likewise, you also need to consider the size of the material you will be needing for the kitchen countertop installation.
The larger the size of your kitchen countertop, the higher will be your investment for the remodeling. Moreover, the budget will further increase when you choose high-end materials. The best way to do this is to have a minimum and maximum budget for your countertop.
This will refer to your preference and how you would like your kitchen to appear after the renovation. Do you like to have an island countertop? Is it a wrapped kitchen design? Do you plan to have an integrated sink? Is it one or two sinks?
These are just some of the questions which can affect the style and overall design of your kitchen and countertop. Likewise, consider also the thickness, overhang, and edge style of your countertop.
Get the Perfect Match
You are never limited to choosing only one or two material for your kitchen countertop and renovation. You can mix and match materials to get the right design and budget for your ideal kitchen.