How to Choose the Right Kitchen Countertop

Kitchen remodeling is the single most popular kind of home renovation project, and a major factor in kitchen design is the countertop you choose to use.

While it can be tempting to buy a new countertop just because it looks so nice, you’ll want to think about a lot more than mere appearances. The material’s durability, ease of maintenance, and cost are equally important factors to take into consideration before you make your final choice.

Choose a Countertop for Your Lifestyle

Homeowners should consider the way that they live before choosing a countertop surface. If you have three children at home, or if your family doesn’t have a lot of extra time for keeping the kitchen spotless, you may not want a white granite countertop, even though it looks nice. In that case, you would want one that won’t highlight the dirt as much.

Material Options

Thanks to modern design and engineering, if you have your heart set on a certain style of countertops but the material won’t work for your lifestyle, there might be a workaround. You can probably find an easy-to-maintain material that looks just like the countertop you really wanted. The following are some common materials used for countertops.


Granite, which is a number-one choice for countertops, comes in a wide variety of shades. These include various whites, blacks, greens, beiges, and corals. Another cool thing about granite is that no two pieces look exactly the same, so a granite countertop will always be one of a kind. Granite is also available in two different finishes -- polished and honed. Polished granite is shiny and typically darker than honed or natural granite would be. Honed granite is soft and matte in its appearance.

The cost of granite countertops depends on the color, finish, and where the stone was sourced from. Some types of granite are imported from exotic places, and these can be fairly expensive.

Other Natural Stone Materials

Other natural stone countertop materials include marble, soapstone, and limestone. These are softer than granite, and they demand more delicate use and higher maintenance. All natural stone countertops have to be resealed occasionally.

Engineered Stone

As opposed to natural stone, engineered stone comes in a much wider variety of colors. Engineered stone countertops are also more durable than natural stone, and they involve less maintenance. There isn’t any significant cost difference between natural and engineered stone, however.

Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface countertops can be highly appealing because of their versatility and ease of maintenance. A solid surface countertop can be made in virtually any color. They are very stain-resistant, and scratches can be easily buffed out. It is possible for very hot pans to damage solid surface countertops, but as long as you routinely use potholders in your kitchen, you should be safe.


Concrete countertops are becoming increasingly popular. Their colors are completely customizable with pigments, so there’s a lot of room for variety.

Concrete can be made with several different finishes: trowel (smooth), ground (sanded down to show the sand aggregate), and pressed (using a tool that reveals marble-like veining).

The downside to concrete countertops is that abrupt changes in temperature can cause them to warp or curl. Leaving a wet sponge on the counter can cause discoloration, and acidic spills may cause etching. To maintain them in optimal condition, you need to seal concrete countertops up to four times per year, and wax them every two to three months.


Wood countertops, such as butcher block, will instantly warm up a kitchen’s look and feel. These countertops are very easy to clean, and any scratches that occur can easily be sanded out. However, they are susceptible to water damage, so they must be oiled regularly to reseal the surface.


Laminate countertops are the most affordable option, and the are available in a wide array of designs and colors. Although laminate has become more scratch resistant over time, it maintains a reputation for scratching too easily, and it can scorch if touched with a hot pan.

It’s important to remember that when you’re looking for kitchen countertops, you should never make a decision based on an image in a flier. Always visit the hardware store in person if you can to see countertop surfaces in real life, before making a final decision on what material to buy.

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