Kitchen Confidential: The Pros & Cons of All the Countertops

Striking a balance between form and function in your kitchen is a big challenge. What you love to look at isn’t always the most practical for a space that gets put through a lot of wear and tear. But, don’t worry — there are many types of countertops, so you can find one out there that fits the bill. From classic white marble to more modern options such as concrete, here we dig into the pros and cons of each material to help you decide which is right for your own home — especially if you are renovating to sell.

Marble

Marble countertops are a very popular option, and for good reason: They’re beautiful. That’s also why they’re very desirable to buyers. The elegant swirls of colors are available in myriad shades to help to make a bold or subtle statement in your kitchen. The all-natural material is durable when cared for and it’s heat-resistant — perfect for those who love to bake and cook. Marble, however, is also a very porous surface, unless coated, so it can stain and scratch easily. As a result, it may not be the best option for those who entertain often or those who have young children. It’s also an investment; besides the relatively affordable Carrara marble, marble countertops typically don’t come cheap. The most coveted slabs cost a premium, which can make a bigger dent in your budget.

Granite

kitchen countertop ideas granite

Like marble, granite is a coveted countertop style among homeowners and homebuyers. The beautiful slabs are each totally unique, giving your kitchen a one-of-a-kind feel. Granite even comes in dozens of shades, allowing you to find a perfect match or contrast for your cabinets and other kitchen finishes. The durable material can last for decades, and it’s heat-resistant and hard enough that you don’t have to worry about scratches or stains. The downside? While they don’t often scratch, they are prone to cracks and are porous when not sealed properly, which can lead to a build-up of bacteria.

Quartz

kitchen countertop ideas quartz

Unlike granite and marble, quartz countertops are man-made. As a result, their durability is nearly unparalleled. The manufactured material is low-maintenance and comes in a nearly endless range of colors and styles, ensuring that you can find the perfect option to match or contrast your space. Plus, it’s nonporous, so it’s resistant to stains and bacteria for a final product that’s both enduring and elegant. Quartz countertops, however, aren’t resistant to heat like their all-natural alternatives. The slabs are also not as large as those of natural stone, so you may see visible seams on the countertop where two pieces need to be stitched together.

Concrete

kitchen countertop ideas concrete

Concrete countertops are the perfect modern kitchen material. The sleek and minimal style is a logical choice for Contemporary homes, and can add an edgy feel to more Traditional homes. The durable material can even be formed to your exact specifications and finished however you like, offering a nearly endless range of possibilities. It is, however, a choice that requires a lot of maintenance and upkeep. Concrete countertops must be resealed annually and carefully cared for to avoid cracks and scratches. Installation also requires expert artisans, which comes with a hefty price tag.

Wood

kitchen countertop ideas wood

Wooden or butcher-block countertops are an ideal way to add warmth to your space. Available in a wide range of natural hues, from light birch to a dark maple, you can find the exact grain and shade to bring your kitchen to life. For aspiring chefs, wood countertops are easy on their knives and can even be repurposed or recycled if they’re ever removed, making them an eco-friendly option. They do, however, require significant upkeep and should be properly sealed and refinished to maintain their integrity.

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