Selecting the Perfect Countertop Material-What You Really Need to Know

Your kitchen countertops experience a lot of use and abuse over the years, so it’s important to select a material that’s practical, durable, and that you’ll love for years to come. What material should you choose? Here’s a quick look at some of the most common options.

Natural Stone

Natural stone includes options like marble, granite, slate, and limestone. It is one of the most expensive options for your kitchen, and therefore it’s usually associated with wealth and extravagance. While natural stone might be the most luxurious choice, it’s not the most practical. It’s very hard, which will make glass items shatter if dropped on it. It is heat-resistant and stays very cool to the touch, but it is also very prone to stains, even when sealed. If natural stone chips or breaks, which it can, it’s very difficult to repair. Repairs are usually noticeable, and large damage may require total replacement.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a very modern choice for your kitchen countertops. It looks shiny, smooth, and sleek, but it can also look cold and will dull over time. A kitchen that has all stainless steel surfaces and appliances will look very industrialized rather than comfortable and home-like. It’s a very durable option, though, and the only damage you really need to worry about it scratches. If you choose a very thin gauge, it might dent or create a lot of noise when banged on. It’s a popular choice for kitchen counters because it’s extremely easy to wipe clean, but it can be pricey.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is the most traditional choice for kitchen countertops, and it is a very practical choice. It is easy to wipe clean, but you do need to be careful because the grout lines can stain. It’s heat-resistant and very durable. If a ceramic tile chips or breaks, it can be replaced relatively easily and inexpensively. It’s advisable to buy extra tiles when you install ceramic tile. If you experience chips later down the road, there’s no guarantee the style you bought will still be available. It is very affordable, too.

Solid Surfacing

Solid surfacing is made of synthetic materials – mostly polyester and acrylic. It has a nonporous surface, which means it is easy to clean and stain-resistant without needing to be sealed. It is not very heat-resistant, however, so very hot items can burn the surface. It can also be scratched more easily than other surfaces. It is possible to remove or reduce burns and scratches with sanding. It comes in a wide variety of colors, hues, and styles, and it is a relatively affordable option.


Wood is becoming a more popular option for modern kitchen countertops. It’s very easy on knives – hence being used for and referred to as butcher’s block – and it’s durable and long-lasting. Wood countertops, however, can be easily scratched or burned, though that type of damage may be able to be sanded out. Wet spots must be mopped up and not left standing, because moisture can damage the wood and even cause mold to grow. It is a mid-priced option.

Prepared by Lizel S for CHS a fine kitchen sink retailer and design studio.

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