Your Guide to 10 Popular Countertop Materials Used in Homes

Your countertops play an important role in your kitchen. They make or break your kitchen’s look, provide a surface for you to handle your food and other everyday things, and are exposed to many different foodstuffs, drinks, and chemicals.

With so many different and appealing options—that are influenced by budget, personal preference, and kitchen style—it can be difficult to figure out the best choice for you and your home. Big Fish has no specific preferred countertop, we deal with them all, and we are here to provide some help for you in the decision-making process.

Since there is a vast array of various countertops, this article will provide information on the ten most popular of all the available choices.

Granite

Granite is unquestionably the most popular countertop choice. Though it is known for being pricey, the cost of granite has gone down considerably as it becomes more and more common. It is the top choice for good reason, with its durability and high-end customizable look. Granite comes in a wide array of colors, including blues, blacks, browns, whites, and reds, and its naturally varying grain makes for a unique pattern on each counter. Customizable finishes are available as well, allowing the counter to be glossy or matte. The counter does require a little care to maintain, requiring resealing about once a year, and spills should be cleaned up quickly so as not to stain. However, granite countertops will definitely add value to your home, and they last a lifetime.

Average Price Range: $60-$200 per sq. ft. installed.

Pros: Very durable (resistant to heat, scratching, and impact), long-lasting, beautiful and rich look, somewhat customizable, adds value to the home.

Cons: A bit pricey, needs yearly sealing and quick cleaning of spills.

Quartz (Engineered Stone)

 

Though not quite as popular as granite, quartz is still very popular. The material is an extremely hard mineral, so the countertop is resistant to stains, scratches, and impact. The countertop is also virtually maintenance-free, as it is very easy to clean and needs no sealing. It can be pigmented to be nearly any color and increases the resale value of the home. It is expensive though, and a costly project to repair should it become damaged.

Average Price Range: $60-$200 per sq. ft. installed

Pros: Customizable and visually appealing, durable, maintenance-free.

Cons: Expensive, not very heat-resistant, difficult to repair.

Concrete

 

Also growing in popularity is the concrete countertop and for good reason. The unique look closely resembles the elegant appearance of stone, but is less expensive and can easily be made into a wide variety of shapes, textures, and colors. Concrete is very resistant to damage from heat and scratching and stains, but is susceptible to cracking. The material is expensive to install and needs regular sealing, but still less expensive than real stone and doubles to lower your energy bills with its energy-efficient qualities.

Average Price Range: $80-$120 per sq. ft. installed.

Pros: Good for countertops with odd shapes and for those who desire unique colors/textures, energy-efficient, look of stone with lower cost, heat and scratch resistant.

Cons: Pricey and lengthy installation process, prone to cracking, needs proper sealing.

Laminate (Plastic)

 

Laminate is the most budget-friendly countertop option and has been developed with many new styles making it a more appealing option than in the past. Some new patterns resemble natural stone or wood at just a fraction of the cost, but there is some sacrifice in the quality of appearance. It is not the most durable material, as it is easily susceptible to damage from heat, impact, scratches, and chipping, and damages are difficult to repair without complete replacement.

Average Price Range: $5-$25 per sq. ft. installed.

Pros: Inexpensive, easy to clean, range of styles. 

Cons: Looks cheap, easily damaged, difficult to repair without completely replacing.

Wood

 

A wood countertop is a great way to bring a beautiful, warm look into your kitchen. This decorative countertop can create many different looks with varying colors and finishes, and is generally an economical choice. Wood is one of the most sanitary surfaces to prep food on, but it isn’t the most durable. It isn’t resistant to heat, scratches and stains, and requires a lot of maintenance. Proper maintenance and installation is vital, or the counter may crack and warp, and it is advised that a quality mineral oil should be reapplied every four to six weeks. Polyurethane seals, which last a few years, are available instead of this mineral oil, but they take away from the warm, inviting look.

Average Price Range: $50-$150 per sq. ft. installed. 

Pros: Beautiful, warm look, economical, sanitary. 

Cons: Easily damaged, high-maintenance.

Solid Surface

 

A blend of acrylic and/or polyester, solid surface is very versatile in appearance, offering hundreds of colors and patterns. Solid surface is a cost-effective alternative to many materials such as stone, wood, plastic, and others, and is very easy to maintain and clean. It is a tough material, generally resistant to stains and scratches, and easy to repair or replace when it does get damaged. It should be noted though that this material is not resistant to heat, and the costliness increases as the quality increases.

Average Price Range: $35-$100 per sq. ft. installed.

Pros: Easy to clean and maintain, tough against scratches and stains, easily repairable, versatile appearance, cheaper lookalike to other materials.

Cons: Price increases as the quality increases, not heat resistant.

Soapstone

 

Soapstone is a smooth stone that is very appealing to the eye. The stone comes in mostly dark gray tones, with a few greenish hinted tones as well. Since soapstone is a natural stone, it is antibacterial by nature and resistant to stains. The stone is porous though, so it requires a mineral oil to be applied occasionally to keep it looking undamaged and polished. This countertop is clean and resistant to heat and stains but prone to damage from scratches and normal wear and tear.

Average Price Range: $80-$120 per sq. ft. installed. 

Pros: Beautiful, antibacterial, resistant to heat and stains.

Cons: Requires some maintenance, susceptible to damage, limited in colors.

Marble

Marble is commonly seen as one of the most beautiful countertop materials, offering a timeless, high-end look. Though the stone has natural variations in its patterns, it adheres to the white shades in the color spectrum. Marble is a bit pricey as the quality increases and it is not the most durable countertop. It will pick up stains and scratches easily which is why it requires frequent sealing and care.

Average Price Range: $70-$110 per sq. ft. installed.

Pros: Stunning appearance, natural variance, adds value to home.

Cons: Not durable, requires constant maintenance, expensive.

 

Ceramic Tile

Though not as common as it used to be, ceramic tiles are still around to offer an inexpensive and versatile countertop option. The wide range of prices, colors, textures, and designs, make for a customizable countertop that is simple to install and easy to clean. Tile doesn’t provide a very strong countertop, though. The tiles can easily chip and crack, and the grout in between them deteriorates and stains over time. The grout in between the tiles also makes for an uneven countertop surface, which can be annoying to some.

Average Price Range: $30-$50 per sq. ft. installed.

Pros: Easy to clean, resistant to heat, customizable and versatile, inexpensive.

Cons: Tiles chip and crack, grout stains and deteriorates over time, uneven counter surface.

Stainless Steel

 

Stainless steel countertops offer a modern, industrial look that can be appealing to some but not to most. They are extremely easy to clean and the most hygienic countertop available. The countertops are durable, as they are resistant to heat and stains, but will show any scratches, dents, and fingerprint smudges. Stainless steel is expensive, but the countertops are generally long-lasting and easy to install.

Average Price Range: $80-$150 per sq. ft. installed.

Pros: Easy installation, long-lasting, very sanitary and easy to clean, stain and heat-resistant.

Cons: Will show scratches, dents, and fingerprints, noisy, expensive.

Conclusion

Big Fish Contracting isn’t limited to taking care of just the outside of your home. For further assistance in this decision-making process regarding your new countertop material, or other questions on how Big Fish can help you get your new countertops, email erik@bigfishcontracting.com or call Erik Dieringer at 262-470-1114.

By | 2017-11-14T09:10:25+00:00 November 14th, 2017|Contractor Blog|Comments Off on Your Guide to 10 Popular Countertop Materials Used in Homes