Top Kitchen Countertop Materials

At the heart of every well-designed kitchen is a beautiful countertop. Kitchen countertops have the power to set the tone of the entire room, since they take up the most real estate in your kitchen alongside your cabinets. 

Before you choose your next countertop, first think about your overall “vision” for the space–do you want something sleek and elegant, or warm and welcoming? Are you a fan of traditional kitchen designs, or do you have an eye for something bold and contemporary? Whatever you have in mind, there’s a countertop option out there that meets your tastes. 

Not just a visual focal point, kitchen countertops also play a major role in your kitchen’s usability. Each countertop option has different properties when it comes to maintenance, durability, and price. We’ll explore the pros and cons of each kitchen countertop option below, so you can choose the best option for kitchen countertops that fits your style, needs, and budget. 

Natural stone countertops

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Natural stone kitchen countertops, like the name suggests, are cut from the earth and all-natural in structure and beauty. They come in a variety of organic colors, patterns, and designs, and are renowned for their natural beauty. Keep in mind that they do require a bit of maintenance: to keep them looking good, you’ll have to seal them periodically to prevent staining. 

Some of the most popular natural stone countertops are: Granite countertops

  • Marble countertops
  • Limestone
  • Soapstone

The cost of natural stone countertop varies, but they tend to be on the higher end of the price spectrum.

Manufactured stone countertops

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Manufactured stone countertops are engineered using a mixture of natural rock fragments with elements like resin and concrete. They’ve become hugely popular in recent years because they’re lower maintenance than natural stone and aren’t susceptible to staining. 

Popular options for manufactured stone countertops include: 

  • Quartz
  • Quartzite
  • Travertine

Unlike their natural stone counterparts, manufactured stone countertops are a bit more budget-friendly. 

Butcher block countertops

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Butcher block countertops are made of a solid slab of wood like birch, walnut, and acacia. They feature beautiful wood grain patterns and will make your kitchen look homey, rustic, and inviting. The benefits of wooden countertops don’t end there: they also have natural antibacterial properties and are more sustainable than other countertop options. 

Wood countertops require more maintenance than other types of kitchen countertop; they need to be regularly sealed, otherwise they can dry out, warp, and discolor. Butcher block countertops are also prone to scratches, dents, and water damage. 

The cost of butcher block countertops range from high-end teak and American cherry to budget-savvy options like beech, oak, and pine.

Plastic laminate countertops

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Long gone are the days of lime green acrylic countertops (unless that’s what you’re into!). Modern laminate countertops and acrylic kitchen countertops are versatile, lightweight, and ultra budget-friendly. These modern countertops are manufactured in various styles and can even mimic high-end countertop materials like natural stone and wood. You can also get funky with bold colors and designs. Keep hot pots and pans far away from them, though–they’ll melt! 

Concrete countertops

Stainless steel sink with a tap on a kitchen counter.

While concrete in the kitchen might sound unusual, this alternative countertop option has recently experienced a big spike in popularity. Concrete makes some of the best kitchen countertops for durability, customizability, and affordability. Although they do need to be sealed each year, the maintenance is worth it since they are both heat-resistant and scratch-resistant. 

Concrete countertops are visually versatile. Since they’re poured out for each project, your concrete countertop will be custom made to fit your kitchen’s size and layout. The surface of your new concrete counter can be left matte or sealed and polished to make it gleam like it’s wet.

Stainless steel countertops

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Looking for a sleek, modern addition to your kitchen? Stainless steel countertops are both striking and practical. With a mirror-like shine, they look beautiful in every lighting and create the illusion of a larger, more open kitchen. 

They’re also incredibly durable, heat-resistance, water-proof, and non-porous so you don’t have to worry about bacteria. However, stainless steel countertops can scratch and dent if you have an aggressive cooking style! If you’re careful with them, the most maintenance you should have to do is cleaning up smudges and fingerprints from time to time. 

The biggest drawback of stainless steel countertops? They’re one of the most expensive options on the market.

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