Selecting a Countertop: Pros and Cons of 6 Popular Styles

With almost all of my clients, the toughest part of designing a kitchen is choosing the countertop. As manufacturing technology grows, so do the number of choices—each with its own set of pros and cons.

The decision really comes down to how you live and work in your own kitchen. Let’s cut to the chase with our top six countertop choices—in order of my own preference.

Quartz: Also called engineered or manufactured stone, this is the surface I install in the most homes—and the reasons are simple. It’s available in so many patterns and colors, is very simple to clean, and is more resistant to heat, scratches and stains than almost any other surface. It requires no sealing or treating over time. Best of all, my clients are always surprised that it’s no more expensive than granite.

Photo Credit: Kerrie Kelly Design Studio

Photo Credit: Kerrie Kelly Design Studio

Dekton: This is the new super surface brought to you by modern technology. Its ultra-compact surface means it’s non-porous, and extremely resistant to heat and drastic changes in temperature—not to mention scratches, chips and stains. For durability, you can’t do better. Colors and patterns are catching up with other options on the market. You will pay a bit more per square foot, but you will not regret it.

Dekton Countertop

Natural Stone: Though this category includes marble, lime and soapstone, we’re really talking about granite here. Its natural beauty is simply undeniable, which makes it the other big favorite among my clients. As it has proven in nature since the beginning of time, it’s very durable and heat resistant. Because it’s porous, it just needs to be sealed when it’s installed (and will need some resealing over the years), but the effort there adds real stain resistance to the list of its benefits—not to mention real value to the home that will never go out of style.

Stainless: I often envy the simplicity of stainless steel when we install it. So clean and simple, its industrial-grade durability is completely antibacterial, and stain and heat resistant. Even scratches really blend in over time. Surprisingly, installation takes this one to the higher end of the cost scale, but it’s also very flexible in terms of design. It brings a cool edge to a more traditional kitchen and can even soften the edge of an ultra contemporary style.

Stainless Countertop

Wood: Wood is pretty straightforward in terms of pros and cons. It’s very budget friendly, and most of my clients who choose it do so knowing that its imperfections only add to its beauty, over time. Scratches and burns can even become part of the charm. However, if you treat it with oil a few times a year, it’s a very durable and practical choice, too. Remember, it’s available in many grains and stains, and you don’t necessarily need butcher block thickness to get the same great look.

Laminate: Laminate countertops can’t be beat if budget is the primary factor. Available in a wide array of colors and patterns, you can go with bold, bright, primary colors or choose a finish that replicates stone and wood. It’s made with a sheet of resin laid over particle board and is resistant, though not impervious to heat, stains and scratches. It is easy to clean and easy to repair.

What’s on your wish list for that new kitchen countertop?

** Kerrie Kelly is a guest blogger from The Home Depot.  Kerrie Kelly draws from her experience of consistently designing amazing kitchens to provide tips for The Home Depot and Kerrie Kelly Design Labs, to help you make the right kitchen choices.  To view a big selection of countertops that Kerrie talks about in this article, visit The Home Depot.

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