A Comparison of Kitchen Counter Material Choices

Remodeling your kitchen can be fun when you’re making plans and imagining how it will look when it’s done. Along the way, however, there will be lots of choices to make: selecting appliance options, picking colors, and deciding on fixture styles.

Many of the decisions only require choosing the look that you love, but for others you’ll probably need some research and advice. Kitchen counter material selection is one of those areas that can be confusing. We can help with information that will guide you to the choice that’s best for your needs.

Granite counter material

Custom kitchen by Merrill Contracting & Remodeling


For many homeowners, granite is the first and only choice for their kitchen surfaces. Granite is a beautiful, natural material and very durable. Some people love the fact that the natural stone color and pattern will not be uniform from slab to slab or even within a single slab. It’s important to select the exact piece of granite you will buy. Look at a template of your counter positioned on the slab, so you know the vein pattern and coloration will meet your expectations. The cost per square foot of granite can vary greatly depending on factors like the stone’s origin and color.

Engineered Quartz

Quartz counter material

Engineered quartz photo courtesy Cambria Quartz

Quartz is an engineered stone, a man-made material that is 90-95% crushed natural stone mixed with resins and pigments. The material is tough, nonporous and resistant to stains and scratches. It requires less maintenance than granite and you can choose from a wide variety of colors and patterns ranging from subtle to bold. Quartz has less color variation than a natural stone slab, which means that when you see a sample swatch of the material, you can be sure what your counter will look like. Engineered quartz is often more expensive per square foot than many grades of granite.


Marble counter material

Marble counter photo courtesy Rev-a-Shelf

With its classic look, marble is a lovely choice that never goes out of style. If you choose a marble countertop, you need to be prepared to maintain it carefully and seal it regularly. Marble is softer than granite and will stain and scratch easily. Its cool surface is a terrific choice for a pastry-making surface, so homeowners who love to bake often use it for a small baking station, with a different material for the rest of the kitchen counter material.


Wood counter material

Wood counter photo courtesy Merillat Cabinet

A wood counter surface requires proper sealing and quick attention to spills but completes the look of a farmhouse kitchen. If you’d like less upkeep, try a small butcher block area that can be sanded down and refinished if it is damaged during food prep. You might like a raised breakfast bar on the island or a butler’s pantry counter that are finished more like fine furniture and won’t be subjected to as much hard use as the area around the sink.


Soapstone counter material

Soapstone counter photo courtesy Dorado Soapstone

Soapstone is a very dense natural stone that is impervious to heat, stains and bacteria. The color is limited, however, to medium-to-dark gray. Its higher price tag makes it an investment-grade surface that will last for years.

Looking for an Out-of-the-Ordinary Kitchen Counter Material Choice?

Recycled glass counter material

Recycled glass counter photo courtesy Curava Arctic

If you’d love a unique look and don’t mind extra maintenance, there are other out-of-the-box ideas for countertop materials. Stainless steel gives the look of a professional chef’s hardworking kitchen and is heat resistant but isn’t for you if you are bothered by fingerprints and scratches. Concrete is customizable and has a modern industrial vibe. It’s extremely durable though it can develop hairline cracks and needs to be properly sealed so it won’t stain. Glass is an eco-friendly counter material, made from post-consumer recycled glass mixed with concrete and pigment. It’s colorful and durable but you’ll need to keep it sealed and be careful with knives and harsh abrasives which will damage the surface.

We’re happy to help you decide what kitchen counter material is best for you, your lifestyle and your budget. Let’s talk about your kitchen remodeling project!

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