Sharing a collection of various kitchen countertop ideas. Includes marble, granite, quartz, porcelain, quartzite, butcher block, concrete, and more, along with their respective pros and cons.
We’re nearing the final selections stage of our new build, and that means finalizing countertops among other design selections! The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home, where family and friends gather to cook, eat, and socialize. And one of the most important components of any kitchen is the countertop. Kitchen countertops not only provide a surface for food preparation, but they also add style and functionality to the space. With so many different types of countertops available on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your kitchen. Not only that, there are a variety of factors to consider such as durability, aesthetics, and cost. Today I’ll explore some of the top choices for kitchen countertops, including marble, granite, quartz, porcelain, quartzite, butcher block, concrete, and more, along with their respective pros and cons. I’ll also share what we’re tentatively planning to use in our new build!
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Various Kitchen Countertops: Pros & Cons
Granite countertops are a popular choice for kitchens because they are extremely durable and have a natural, elegant look. It is a natural stone that is mined from the earth and then cut and polished to create countertops. It’s available in a wide range of colors and patterns, so it’s easy to find one that complements your kitchen design.
One of the benefits of granite countertops is that they are heat-resistant, so you can put hot pans and dishes directly on them without worrying about damage. They’re also scratch-resistant, so they won’t show wear and tear as easily as some other materials. Granite countertops do require periodic sealing to protect against stains, but if you take care of them, they can last a lifetime.
From our personal experience, if you’re looking for something in the color range of Carrara marble (white and light grays or beiges) with little to no contrast, you may have a more difficult time finding a granite that fits the bill. But, there some pretty options out there! I’d recommend visiting a nearby slab yard to see available options in person.
Quartz countertops are another popular choice for kitchens. Unlike granite, which is a natural stone, quartz is a man-made material that is composed of crushed quartz and resin. This creates a very hard surface that is resistant to scratches, stains, and heat. Quartz countertops are available in a wide range of colors and patterns, and they have a more uniform look that many people find appealing.
One of the benefits of quartz countertops is that they are very low maintenance. They don’t require sealing like granite does, and they are very easy to clean. You can simply wipe them down with a damp cloth and mild soap. Quartz is also a non-porous material, which means that it won’t absorb liquids like wine, vinegar, or oil. This makes it a good choice for households with young children or messy cooks.
We used Caesarstone Calacatta Nuvo quartz in our Omaha kitchen renovation, with a 2″ mitered edge to make it appear thicker. We loved that it gave the appearance of marble, but with much less upkeep. Occasionally, we still did encounter some staining (typically with things like wine or marinara sauce). But with a little SoftScrub (the manufacturer’s recommendation), we were always able to get it clean.
Here’s a closer look at the countertop detail on a cloudier day. The veining is fairly subtle, but still offered enough movement and interest!
Marble countertops have been a popular choice for centuries because of their timeless elegance and beauty. They have a classic look that works well in both traditional and modern kitchens. Marble is a natural stone that is available in a wide range of colors and patterns. It’s also a softer stone than granite or quartz, so it can scratch and stain more easily.
One of the benefits of marble countertops is that they are heat-resistant, so you can place hot pots and pans on them without worrying about damage. However, marble is a porous material, which means it is prone to staining, scratching and etching, which can make it a challenging material to maintain. Marble also requires more maintenance than other materials. It needs to be sealed periodically to protect against stains, and you’ll need to be careful not to scratch or chip the surface. To keep your marble countertops looking their best, you will need to seal them regularly and avoid using acidic or abrasive cleaners.
Although we personally haven’t used marble countertops in our kitchen, we did order vanities for our guest bathrooms that included Carrara marble countertops.
In the year or two we had them, they held up well, with only one small area of etching where a guest left a glass (with condensation) on the countertop for a few days. It could only be seen in very specific lighting conditions, so it really wasn’t a nuisance.
SOURCES: Louvered Wood Vanity (also here and here in other sizes) | Sink Faucet (chrome) | Shower Fixtures (chrome) | Toilet | Patterned Floor Tile | Floor Grout: Silverado | Mirror | Towel Ring, Toilet Paper Holder & Hooks (chrome) | Sconce Light Fixtures (chrome) | Similar Faux Maidenhair Fern Stems | Paint Dipped Vase
Soapstone countertops have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. One of the major benefits of soapstone countertops is their durability. They are heat-resistant, stain-resistant, and scratch-resistant, making them an ideal choice for high-traffic kitchens. Additionally, soapstone is a natural material that gives a unique and elegant look to any kitchen design.
However, soapstone is not without its drawbacks. One of the major cons is that soapstone is a softer material than other countertop materials like granite or quartz, which can make it more susceptible to chipping or scratching. Additionally, soapstone countertops require regular maintenance in the form of oiling, which can be a hassle for some homeowners. Finally, soapstone is a relatively expensive material, which can make it cost-prohibitive for some homeowners on a tight budget.
Despite being dark in color, soapstone can still be a beautiful option for a coastal kitchen, as demonstrated below!
Quartzite is a natural stone that’s becoming a popular choice for kitchen countertops. One of the biggest advantages of quartzite countertops is their hardness, which makes them resistant to scratches, chips, and heat damage. They are also naturally resistant to bacteria, making them a hygienic choice for kitchen countertops. Quartzite comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, which means that homeowners can find a style that suits their design preferences.
However, there are also some downsides to quartzite countertops. They can be expensive compared to other countertop materials, and they require regular sealing to prevent staining and damage. Additionally, some types of quartzite can be porous and prone to etching, so it’s important to choose the right type and maintain it properly to keep it looking its best.
We ultimately decided to use quartzite in our Omaha pool house kitchen, due particularly to the indoor/outdoor bar countertop. In speaking with a local slab yard, they recommended granite or quartzite, since both are natural stones (used to being outside) and in some cases, less porous. We selected White Macaubas Quartzite, and although I was hesitant at first, it ended up being one of my favorite countertops to date! We’ve realized that natural stone really is hard to beat when compared to some of the man-made options. Particularly as it relates to the veining and beautiful color variations!
POOL HOUSE KITCHEN SOURCES: Basket Pendant Lights | Aged Brass Star Sconces | Striped Runner Rug | Backless Counter Stools | Cabinet Ball Knobs | Drawer Bin Pulls | Faucet | Counter Depth Fridge | Beverage Fridges | LVP Floors | Blue Serving Board | Similar Faux Fan Palms | Blue Vase | Cabinet Colors: BM Simply White (perimeter) & BM Santorini Blue (island) | Countertops: White Macaubas Quartzite
You can see a little more details of the striations and veining in the image below. I was initially worried it was too much contrast and movement, but it ended up being one of my favorite features of the addition!
Concrete countertops are a popular choice for modern kitchens because of their industrial look and feel. They can be poured and molded to any shape or size, which makes them a great choice for custom kitchens. Concrete is also a very durable material that is resistant to scratches, stains, and heat.
One of the benefits of concrete countertops is that they are very customizable. You can choose the color, finish, and texture of the surface to create a unique look for your kitchen. Concrete is also a very low-maintenance material that is easy to clean. You can simply wipe it down with a damp cloth and mild soap.
However, concrete can be prone to cracking if it’s not installed properly, so it’s important to choose an experienced contractor for the job.
Butcher Block Countertops
Butcher block countertops are a timeless choice for a warm and inviting kitchen. They’re made of hardwood, such as maple or oak, and are perfect for food preparation, as they are gentle on knives and easy to clean.
However, wood is a softer material than stone or concrete, which means it can scratch and stain more easily. It’s also susceptible to damage from moisture and heat, so it requires regular sealing and careful maintenance. Butcher block countertops require periodic oiling to maintain their appearance and prevent warping. Butcher can also be sanded and refinished to remove scratches and stains.
Porcelain countertops are a newer option in the market, but they’re gaining popularity for their durability, versatility, and beauty. They are a type of ceramic that is fired at extremely high temperatures, resulting in a hard and durable material that can withstand high heat, stains, and scratches. One of the biggest advantages of porcelain countertops is that they are non-porous, which means they do not absorb liquids or bacteria, making them very hygienic and easy to clean. Porcelain is also resistant to UV rays, so it won’t fade or discolor over time. Another benefit of porcelain countertops is their versatility in design, as they can be made to mimic the look of natural stone, wood, or concrete, and are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. Porcelain is relatively easy to maintain, requiring only mild soap and water to clean.
However, there are also some potential downsides to porcelain countertops. One of the main concerns is that they can be quite expensive, especially when compared to other countertop materials such as laminate or solid surface. They also require professional installation, which adds to the cost. Another potential drawback is that porcelain is a hard material, which means it can be brittle and prone to chipping or cracking if something heavy is dropped on it. Finally, while porcelain is generally resistant to stains, it can still be prone to etching if exposed to acidic substances, such as citrus juices or vinegar.
My friend Rachel used a marble-looking porcelain in her kitchen renovation in Connecticut and loved it! So much so, she’s considering using it again in her new build in Florida! She has more pictures and details of the renovation here.
Here’s a closer look at the details. I love the 2.5″ mitered edge she used!
Laminate kitchen countertops offer several advantages, including affordability, durability, and easy maintenance. They tend to be less expensive than natural stone or solid surface options, making them a popular choice for homeowners on a budget. They are also durable and resistant to scratches, stains, and heat. Additionally, laminate countertops are easy to clean and maintain, requiring only mild soap and water to keep them looking new.
However, there are some downsides to laminate countertops, including the fact that they are not as heat-resistant as other materials, and can be easily damaged by sharp objects or heavy impact. Additionally, laminate countertops may not offer the same level of aesthetic appeal as other materials, and can sometimes look artificial or plastic-like. They’ve come a long way in the past decade though, so they may be worth exploring if you’re on a tight budget!
The Countertops We’ll Be Using In Our New Build
Like many new builds, we have been given a selection of “free” materials to use for various spaces, and there is an upcharge if we choose to upgrade. For example, in the kitchen and bathroom, there are several quartz countertops as well as dolemite (natural stone) that are considered standard and for anything else chosen, we would be charged the difference. In our laundry room and bedroom, Carrara marble is standard and we would cover any price differences. You can read more about our new build here. Following are the countertops we’ll be using in our new build (a few still not 100% decided):
- In our kitchen, we’ve decided to make the bold move and try a marble countertop. Specifically, we both fell in love with a honed White Carrara Venatino marble (shown below). We know it will not be maintenance free, but we’re really wanting a natural stone this time around. We also think the honed finish (rather than polished) will help disguise etching. After loving the natural quartzite in our pool house so much, we decided we ultimately prefer the uniqueness of each slab in a natural stone.
- In our laundry room, bathrooms, and carriage house kitchen, we will likely be using a basic quartz. I was a bit over making decisions, and initially said do a solid white quartz for these spaces. Now that our “final” decision is coming up shortly, I think I may try and find something with a little movement to disguise any stains or mess on the counters. Would love feedback on this if you’ve ever gone with a solid white quartz. Love it? Hate it?
- For our small outdoor kitchen, we were able to choose between a handful of granite or quartzite options. Since it’s outdoors and will be attached to a grill and sink, the builder is pretty particular on what will be allowed. We have ultimately chosen Milano quartzite from the options provided!
I hope you found this information on various kitchen countertops helpful!
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