Pros and Cons of Popular Kitchen Countertop Materials

A kitchen countertop has to bear a lot of things – heat, water, stress, cuts, and scratches. Apart from that, it has to appear attractive and stylish. Above all, it has to blend in perfectly with the kitchen’s environment and for this very reason, choosing a perfect kitchen countertop material is no mean feat. You need to carefully evaluate all pros and cons of popular kitchen countertop materials before deciding.

You also need to put in a lot of planning and consideration while choosing the perfect kitchen countertop material that meets your expectations. If you don’t do so, you will end up making some common kitchen remodel mistakes and choose a countertop that will mismatch your otherwise beautifully designed kitchen. 

When it comes to choosing a countertop, you will be surprised to see the diverse range of materials available. The luxurious marble, the elegant granite, the trendy quartz, and the vibrant solid surface. With so many options, how can you choose the ideal countertop material for your kitchen, which is durable but aesthetic, stylish yet within your budget?

Your best bet is to know the pros and cons of the most popular kitchen countertop materials available in the market. You could then review them according to your needs, likeness, and most importantly, your budget and make the right decisions.

Here’s our list of most popular countertop materials with their pros and cons that will help you make the best choice. 

Marble

Marble is one of the most popular and elegant kitchen countertop materials. Luxurious and breathtakingly beautiful, marble’s veined patterns give it a classy appearance.

Natural stones have always been a popular kitchen countertop material, and marble holds the top position. However, its beauty comes at a price, which is, unfortunately, way beyond low to mid-range kitchen remodeling budget.

Although smooth and easy to clean, marble is relatively soft and highly porous, making it susceptible to stains and scratches. Marble also needs timely maintenance to keep its unique, lavish look intact.

If you have a taste for opulence and luxury and have no budget constraints, marble is the perfect countertop material for your dream kitchen remodel.

Cost: $15 to $200 per square foot

Pros

  • Smooth, elegant, and beautiful
  • Gives a unique and luxurious appearance to the kitchen
  • Hygienic and easy to clean

Cons

  • Highly porous and soft, which makes it prone to scratches and stains
  • Slabs are heavy, which requires experts intervention for installation
  • High maintenance needed from time to time

 

Granite

If you want the same grandeur as that of the marble but at a relatively lower price, granite is the material you should opt for. Also, a naturally occurring stone, granite matches the luxurious appeal of marble in some aspects. Its unique patterns and varied colors give it a distinct, classy look.

However, granite also shares the same drawbacks as marble. Hence, it becomes all the more important to look at the pros and cons of popular kitchen countertop materials like granite while choosing a countertop. For instance,  it’s porous, soft, scratches, and stains quite easily. Although granite is hygienic and relatively easy to clean, you need to seal your granite countertops annually to ensure longevity.

Cost: $15 to $150 per square foot

Pros

  • Natural stone and relatively less expensive than marble
  • Each slab is slightly different, providing a unique appearance
  • Granite significantly increases the value of the property

Cons

  • Soft and porous require annual sealing
  • Very heavy and requires professional installation

Quartz

If you can’t afford the luxury of natural stones but still desire the same elegance, you should go with quartz. Among all the engineered countertop materials, quartz is closest to imitate the grace and elegance of natural stone.

Consisting of 95% quartz crystals and strengthened with resins, quartz is one of the strongest countertop materials. Similarly, since it is an engineered stone, quartz doesn’t have the flaws of the natural stone.

It is non-porous, tough, and you don’t need to seal it annually.  A quartz kitchen countertop’s strength, durability, and extensive range of colors and patterns make it a worthwhile alternative to natural stones.

Cost: $15 to $70 per square foot

Pros

  • Stunning and distinct appearance
  • Very durable
  • Resistant to heat, stains, and scratches
  • Wide range of colors, patterns, and designs available

Cons

  • Quartz does not offer much resistance to heat in comparison to natural stones
  • Quartz slabs are pretty heavy, making it difficult to DIY
  • You need to corner and round the edges; otherwise, they chip away easily

 

Solid Surface

You can think of solid surface as a lower variant of quartz. You get a seamless look and style of engineered but sans the durability when you compare solid surface vs quartz. Solid surface is a fusion of polyester, synthetic acrylics, and stone dust fortified with a bonding agent.

Quite flexible in terms of design, you can also mold solid surface countertop to almost any shape and dimension. Solid surface also offers a wide range of colors and designs with a much lower price tag which makes it a worthy kitchen countertop material. 

Cost: $20 to $70 per square foot

Pros

  • The lower price tag makes it affordable
  • Looks are at par with quartz
  • With low maintenance, you can easily sand out minor bruises with a sandpaper
  • Flexibility in design and vivid color options.

Cons

  • Prone to scratches and bruises
  • The presence of resins and acrylic makes it susceptible to heat damage
  • Does not add any significant value to the property

 

Ceramic

One of the most affordable kitchen countertop materials, ceramic brings a flashy and sparkling finish to the kitchen. Even in the presence of more sophisticated synthetic alternatives like quartz and solid surface, this centuries-old material has not lost its sheen.

With recent advances in technology, ceramic tiles are now available in much more comprehensive designs and colors that could provide a stunning look to any kitchen. Besides being affordable, ceramic tiles are durable and offer high heat and scratch resistance.

Not very sturdy, though, ceramic tiles tend to break under stress. If you are a DIY lover with a limited budget, ceramic tiles can be a good, affordable countertop material. You can easily build a great kitchen countertop with ceramic tile without burning a hole in your pocket. 

Cost: $10 to $40 per square foot

Pros

  • Affordable countertop material
  • Lots of colors and design options available
  • Relatively easy to install, hence a good option for DIYers

Cons

  • Grouts are a significant drawback, hard to clean, and prone to stains
  • Ceramic tiles tend to break easily