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Decor

Pros and Cons of Each Type of Kitchen Countertops

Looking to install new countertops? Check out our list of pros and cons for each type of kitchen countertop. 

Granite countertops

Are you renovating your kitchen? Well, then you might be feeling a little overwhelmed at the wide range of kitchen countertop options available on the market today. Granite countertops might be popular on HGTV, but they’re just one of the materials homeowners can choose from to build sturdy, attractive countertops.

The best type of countertop for your kitchen depends on how you plan to use them, what kind of look you’re after, how much you’re willing to spend and how much maintenance you’re willing to do to keep your new countertops in good shape. Here are the pros and cons of the different types of countertops, so you can make the best choice for your kitchen.

Wood

Wood is one of the classic countertop materials because it is affordable and versatile.

Pros of wood or butcher block include:

  • It’s inexpensive.
  • It’s available in a range of finishes and styles.
  • It offers visual depth on par with stone.
  • It’s sustainable.
  • It’s easy to find.
  • It can last a long time if well-maintained.

Cons of wood countertops include:

  • Wood can be delicate and easily damaged by knives or heat.
  • They are prone to water damage, including stains and warping, so you need to be careful to keep them dry.
  • They need to be oiled regularly.

Dark countertops in the kitchen

Granite

Granite is popular for its durability and low maintenance, but it can be expensive and heavy.

Pros of granite include:

  • It looks very high-end.
  • It’s heat resistant and durable.
  • It isn’t easily water damaged.
  • It requires little maintenance.

Cons of granite countertops include:

  • They’re very heavy and may require the installation of additional support.
  • They’re expensive.
  • They can easily chip or crack.

Marble

Marble is a popular alternative for those who want a stone surface with a lighter look.

Pros of marble include:

  • It’s available in many different colors.
  • Bakers like it, because it provides an ideal surface for rolling out dough.
  • It’s softer than granite, so it’s easier to work with.
  • It’s sustainable.
  • The natural grain of the stone is very attractive.
  • It’s durable and heat resistant.

Cons of marble include:

  • It scratches and dents very easily because it is so soft.
  • Like granite, it’s very heavy and requires sturdy cabinets to support it.
  • You need to seal it.

Common acids, like those found in coffee, citrus, and alcohol, can damage it.

  • It’s expensive.

Solid Surface

Solid surface countertops are where many homeowners end up after weighing the cost of stone surfaces against the flimsiness of laminate.

Pros of solid surface countertops include:

  • They don’t need to be sealed.
  • The color will be uniform throughout the surface.
  • They can be installed without seams.
  • They’re as close to non-porous as quartz or tile, which is to say, very non-porous.
  • They’re the same all the way through, which means you can easily resurface it with an orbital sander and some fine-grain sandpaper.
  • They’re more affordable than stone and easier to repair than laminate.

Cons of solid surface countertops include:

  • They scratch easily, especially if knives are used on them.
  • They can dent easily, too.
  • They’re susceptible to heat damage.

Soapstone

Soapstone is another soft stone that’s popular for kitchen countertops.

Pros of soapstone are similar to those of marble, and include:

  • Its softness makes it easy to work with.
  • It does not need to be sealed.
  • It resists staining.
  • It can withstand high temperatures.
  • It’s environmentally sustainable.
  • It’s durable and ages well.

Cons of soapstone include:

  • It’s heavy.
  • It needs to be oiled regularly.
  • It has a rough texture.
  • It dents and scratches easily.
  • It usually darkens in color over time.
  • It’s expensive.

Engineered Stone

Engineered stones, like quartzite, are made from quartz crystals held together with resin.

Pros of engineered stone include:

  • It offers the look and visual depth of natural stone.
  • It’s as hard as granite and less prone to cracking and chipping.
  • It’s heat and stain resistant.
  • It comes in a wide range of styles and colors.
  • It lasts a long time.
  • It doesn’t require as much maintenance as natural stone surfaces.
  •  It’s non-porous,and doesn’t need to be sealed.

Cons of engineered stone include:

  • It can chip or crack.
  • It’s expensive.
  • Like other stone countertop materials, it’s heavy.
  • You may have visible seams in your surface, since engineered stone countertops are cut and sold in sized pieces.

Tile

You don’t see many ceramic tile countertops these days, but it is an option.

Pros of ceramic tile countertops include:

  • They’re very non-porous.
  • They’re affordable.
  • Ceramic tiles offer the widest variety of colors and designs.
  • Tiles are heat, stain, and water resistant.

Cons include:

  • While the tiles themselves are stain resistant, the grout between them is not, and can stain easily.
  • A tile countertop surface is uneven, which can complicate food prep.
  • Tiles can crack or break easily.

Laminate

Laminate countertops, like Formica, are a low-end option for homeowners on a budget.

Pros include:

  • They’re cheap.
  • They don’t need to be sealed.
  • They’re not particularly heavy.
  • They’re easy to find and available in a range of colors and styles.

Cons include:

  • Laminate countertops are easily damaged by heat.
  • They scratch easily.
  • Seams will be visible between the sections.

Stainless Steel

For a high-end, commercial kitchen look, stainless steel is the way to go.

Pros include:

  • It reflects light and can brighten up a dark kitchen.
  • It’s heat, stain and bacteria resistant.
  • It’s durable and long-lasting.
  • It’s more affordable than stone.

Cons include:

  • Stainless steel may not be the most expensive option, but it’s not cheap, either.
  • It can be scratched or dented.
  • Fingerprints will show on it.

When you’re remodeling your kitchen, it’s important to get the functionality you need at a cost you can afford. That’s why you need to know what kitchen countertop materials are best for your needs.


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