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Surfaces are an important part of the look, feel, and utility of rooms all throughout the home. But in the bathroom, and especially in the kitchen, surfaces are king. Why? Because large smooth surfaces are important for food prep and for creating sanitary conditions. In the kitchen, so much decorative real estate is taken up by countertops that they are of critical importance. They must be supremely smooth so as not to allow germs a place to breed, and also make working on them easier. They must also be strong to bear weight, endure the activities they support, and they should also look good. Ideally, they should look great.

Here, we discuss and compare countertops, namely the leading kitchen countertop surfaces for their comparative merits and drawbacks, to help you choose the best countertop for your needs.


Sometimes known as engineered stone, quartz is a very durable and popular material. It is made from crushed stone, looks a lot like marble, and only an expert could tell them apart. It needs no stain or sealing and is very easy to clean. Because it is made and not cut, it comes in a wider variety of colors and patterns than you’re likely to find with other comparable materials.


The classic surfacing material for all manner of uses, marble is always beautiful, and if treated with great care, it will last for generations. However, its weakness is that it is not as impervious to damage as many people expert. It can be scratched fairly easily. This means it can be damaged by kitchen work quite easily. We would not recommend it unless you can commit to treating it with special care.


This material is known for its muted beauty and high durability. It is extremely dense, so it does not need to be sealed and is more resistant to scratches than marble. It is as beautiful as the best surfaces, though it lacks the luster of marble. Unfortunately, it often gets overlooked, despite its general superiority.


When it comes to kitchen use, granite is hands down the best choice for durability, functionality, and beauty. It can be every bit as good-looking as marble, and it is very difficult to damage. It does need to be sealed, however, as it is porous. It can be every bit as beautiful as marble, especially after it is properly sealed. You will have to re-seal it occasionally to prevent liquids from leaving stains.

Recycled Glass

This environmentally friendly material is relatively affordable and highly resistant to staining. It has something of an “art deco” look to it, which is not amenable to all tastes. But some patterns almost resemble something more classic. If this material cracks or chips, it can be repaired, but not without leaving a noticeable mark. It is fairly brittle, so chipping and cracking are something to look out for.


By far the most affordable kitchen countertop material, laminate is also a decent-looking and very functional choice. Advanced manufacturing techniques are rapidly improving the looks of this material which was once infamous for looking “fake.” It is often the best choice for those working with especially tight budgets. It can also be resurfaced fairly easily, making it look brand new after years of use.


The most common metal on the planet is a fairly uncommon kitchen countertop material. But it is a trendy choice that could be the perfect fit for your kitchen. It can be made to look like brushed steel for a hip diner look, or it can even be made to look a lot like soapstone. Because it is a softer metal, it can scratch, so care is warranted.

Stainless Steel

One of the most damage-resistant countertop materials out there, stainless steel is only bested by concrete in this regard. With its bright, metallic appearance it is not for everyone, but it is certainly a good fit for any kitchen that is meant to be functional and easy to clean. It is very popular at the moment, and it is rather expensive. But any kitchen outfitted with this material will get high marks for practicality and style.

Ceramic Tile

Another common sight in domestic kitchens across the country, ceramic tile can be smooth, or it can come with grout lines. Grout lines are a catch-all for germs and stains, but they do have a certain homey appeal. It is nearly as brittle as glass but is fairly easy to repair. It is also one of the more affordable countertop materials.

Of course, the best kitchen countertop material for you is the one that you can afford, that looks best without breaking the bank, and that gets the job done. To learn more about these and other great, classic countertop materials for your kitchen renovation project, get in touch with the home renovation experts at Gilbert Design & Build today.