Kitchen is the heart of home.
When it comes time for deciding on new countertop material for your remodel or when you are building a new home, one thing is very important.
You should not select a countertops just for the looks, you need to factor in functionality and your life style.
In my opinion, the best materials are those that score high when compared on different factors like looks, function, maintenance and durability.
The list includes natural stone countertops with two man made manufactured options.
In this article “What are the best materials for kitchen countertops”, I will talk about the top five options that do score high.
Let’s get started…..
This list is in no particular order.
Since I am a lover of natural stone surfaces, I will start with natural stone countertop options
You know, quartzite? It’s a natural stone, actually a type of metamorphic rock.
Natural quartzites begin their journey as sandstone, and under immense heat and pressure deep within the Earth, it metamorphoses into quartzite.
Quartzite slabs are available in a wide range of colors.
You can find quartzite slabs in light colors like white, grey, beige with subtle vein pattern.
And you will find quartzites having very dramatic vein patterns and bold colors, like green, burgundy, blue and black.
Quartzite is a very hard stone which means it is scratch resistant.
This natural material is also heat resistant.
You can put hot pans directly on the quartzite kitchen island without worrying.
Because of these features, quartzite is a great choice for indoor and outdoor countertops.
Since it is a natural stone, quartzite requires sealing.
To make sure its longevity and stain-resistance, you need to seal quartzite countertops at least once a year.
Quartzites are considerably expensive. The prices are relatively high if you compare it to granite cost.
Quartzite do not require a lot of maintenance. As long as you seal them once a year you are good.
Granite countertops have been on the list of best materials for a long time.
Granite slabs make the best countertops for indoor and outdoor kitchens.
Granite is a natural stone.
It is a coarse-grained igneous rock composed primarily of quartz, feldspar, and mica.
Granites are available in wide variety of colors. You can find granites from whites to browns and green to black.
One of the characteristics of every granite is the speckled look.
Over the recent years, with quartzite being more trendy, the speckled look of granite has been a little less popular.
Like quartzite Granite is a very hard stone and is heat resistant.
You can put a hot pot directly on a granite countertop.
Direct sunlight and high temperatures do not effect the granite slab.
It is a very durable surface.
Since granite is porous, it needs to be sealed periodically.
Having said that granite require very minimal maintenance.
You can seal it once a year.
You know, marble’s origin story is pretty fascinating.
It starts deep within the Earth’s crust.
Imagine limestone, which is a sedimentary rock, getting exposed to intense heat and extreme pressure over many years.
This process transforms it, and that’s how we get the beautiful marble.
Honestly, when you think of luxury (high-end kitchen) in stone, marble is often the first thing that comes to mind.
It’s aesthetics, especially the unique look with vein patterns, are unparalleled.
Marble kitchen countertops offer timeless beauty to any kitchen.
While many associate marble with shades of white, it’s the dramatic veins in colors like green, blue, grey, and even gold that really make me fall for it.
And yes, if you’re into darker shades, you can find marble countertops in those colors as well.
But here’s the thing: as gorgeous as it is, marble does have its downsides.
It’s not the most resilient when it comes to heat.
It’s a softer stone and more porous stone compared to granite and quartzite, so it can scratch easily.
And say you leave a cold, icy drink on it without a coaster? It might leave an etch mark.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that natural Marble does not do well with acidic foods like lemon juice or tomato sauce.
Always use cutting board to do food prep.
Marble is not the best option when it come to outdoor kitchens since it can not take high heat.
Given its luxurious look, it shouldn’t surprise you that marble requires a fair bit of upkeep and proper care.
It requires regular maintenance.
Regular Sealing it is essential, and I’d recommend doing that every six months just to play it safe.
I have a marble countertop in my kitchen, and I’ve made it a habit to keep coasters and hot pads handy.
Despite the care it demands, every day I look at my kitchen, I just love it more.
Oh, and a heads-up: if you’re considering it, marble doesn’t come cheap. But for many, including me, it’s the best choice and worth every penny.
Let’s talk about man-made materials now.
Quartz countertops are a mixture of roughly 90% loose quartz particles, a natural mineral found abundantly in the Earth’s crust.
Powdered Quartz is combined with resins, pigments, and occasionally, small amounts of other minerals.
This mixture is then molded and baked into slabs, resulting in the quartz countertops.
When it comes to kitchen countertops, quartz kitchen countertop really stands out in terms of features.
You know, this engineered stone surface is an incredibly hard stone. It is also non Porous.
What I appreciate about it is its scratch resistance.
Plus, it can handle heat to a certain extent, though it’s not completely heat-proof like granite.
If you ever decide to go for quartz, just remember to use trivets under hot pans.
Oh, and keep in mind, you wouldn’t want to use it outdoors.
The resin in quartz slabs can react badly to UV rays, potentially damaging the surface.
One of the best things? Quartz countertops is that it is stain resistant, so there’s no need for periodic sealing.
It’s such a sturdy material.
Aesthetically, you have a lot of color options to choose from.
And here’s something cool: many quartz surfaces are designed to resemble natural stone. Some even have the look of marble.
Quartz countertops cost might be a bit more than granite, especially the varieties that mimic the look of natural stones. But for many, the benefits justify the price.
Quartz is a good choice for a household with busy kitchen.
You know, porcelain countertops are pretty amazing.
They start off as natural clay, and then they take these specific materials and bake them at super high temperatures.
What you end up with is this super dense, really tough surface.
And let me tell you, not only is it strong, but it looks absolutely gorgeous — right up there with the beauty of natural stones and other top-notch countertop materials.
There’s a lot to love about porcelain countertops.
They handle heat really well, resist stains, and you’ve got a ton of design options.
Whether you want something that has the feel of stone, concrete, or even marble, porcelain’s got you covered.
Super durable, too. Plus, there’s no hassle of sealing them.
And if you’ve got an outdoor kitchen in mind, porcelain’s great for that because of its heat resistance.
You can put hot objects on porcelain countertops without being worried.
Now, there’s one thing to be mindful of: if you accidentally chip or break the edge, say by knocking something heavy against it, that can’t really be fixed.
Also, these countertops come in a 2CM thickness and need a special touch when it comes to installation.
That, combined with the material cost, means you might be looking at a higher overall price tag. But for many, the benefits are well worth it.
Porcelain is a great option when you compare all the features.
When it comes to finishes, almost all the materials listed above are available in polished Finish (glossy surface), Honed finish (satin ) and leathered finish.
All the above are the best options for kitchen countertop material.
There is nothing as one best stone slab. Depending on what your life style is and personal choice, you should choose which one is right for your kitchen.
I decided on marble countertops as I love natural stone options and I do not do heavy cooking.
As much as porcelain and quartz slabs are available with look of natural stone, I wanted the real deal.
For someone with little kids or heavy duty cooking, marble is not the best material.
My friends’ son is 15 and he loves to cook. She herself is an amazing cook. Their kitchen is a very busy kitchen.
She decided on a dramatic quartzite and loves not having to worry about coasters and cutting boards.
When you visit stone yards for your new kitchen countertop and you fall in love with something, make sure you ask what type of stone material it is.
Since now you know what will work for your home.
Happy countertop hunting!!
How often should I seal my marble countertop?
At least once or twice a year.
Can I place hot pans on a quartz countertop?
It’s best to use trivets as quartz might not be as heat resistant as granite.