Looking to replace a countertop in your kitchen? You need to know all the options available and there’s a lot to choose from. To make it easier for you, we’ve made an exhaustive list of all the types of kitchen countertops available, featuring all the materials that you can use for a countertop.
This list considers the pros and cons of all types of kitchen countertops as well as their approximate pricing. We hope that it will help you choose which material will work for you.
As a natural mineral, Quartz brings a touch of nature into kitchen countertops. It has a high rating of 7.0 on Moh’s Hardness Scale (measure of scratch resistance), so is extremely durable, as well as aesthetically pleasing. On average, high-quality quartz countertops cost around $75/square foot, with low- to mid-quality quartz ranging from $50 to $70/square foot (prices do not include installation).
Pros: resistant to stains, resistant to heat, easy to clean, non-porous, comes in up to 70 colors, finish, and texture choices.
Cons: expensive, not suitable for outdoor use.
Polished Granite Countertops
Polished granite countertops bring luxury into kitchens with their highly reflective and smooth surface. Their polished look reflects light beautifully while highlighting the stone’s inner qualities. On average, polished granite costs about $40/square foot.
Pros: resistant to scratching, staining, and heat, comes in a wide variety of colors, comes in a wide variety of patterns, high on the hardness scale to resists chips, dents, or cracks, highly reflective, suitable for outdoor use, non-porous so repels food bacteria, germs, and moisture.
Cons: over time, may need to be resealed, can be quite pricey, depending on the finish chosen.
(HD) Laminate Countertops
Laminate countertops are an eco-friendly option as they are made from layers of paper that is compressed and sealed. Laminate countertops have been around for a long time and have evolved into new designs replicating the look of some of the higher-end countertops available. It is a budget-friendly option as laminate can be purchased for around $25/square foot.
Pros: available with antimicrobial protection, finishes available with enhanced scuff and scratch resistance, HD laminates are up to five times more durable than regular laminates, comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and textures, environmentally friendly as laminates are made of 70-percent paper.
Cons: not a huge longevity as once a scratch or chip goes through the sealant, it cannot be repaired and will eventually need replacing.
Butcher-block wood countertops are a fabulous warm-looking alternative to the cold look and feel of stone countertops. They are made from strips of wood bonded together and finished with a sealant. They can be made from numerous types of wood from maple, cherry, oak, walnut, teak, to bamboo. As the choices of wood vary, so does the price, but on average, butcher-block runs from about $35 to $60/square foot.
Pros: offers a rustic warmer look, butcher-block is an appropriate material for chopping and slicing on, price variance offers a flexible budget.
Cons: softer than stone, it can be scratched and dented, will likely need to be sanded and refinished in 10-20 years.
Marble countertops are one of the softer options from the natural stone arena, so it is less expensive than other quartz and granite options available. It offers a timeless elegance and adds a clean bright look to a kitchen. It is widely available and can be purchased starting at around $40/square foot.
Pros: more affordable than granite or quartz, a cool stone that doesn’t conduct heat.
Cons: a softer and more porous stone, less resistant to food bacteria and germs, vulnerable to scratches, vulnerable to staining, vulnerable to staining from acidic foods.
Honed Granite Countertops
Granite is one of the most popular natural-stone choices for kitchen countertops. Honed granite offers a sleek cool modern look as its depth and darkness resembles the look of soapstone. Its price starts as low as $40/square foot.
Pros: a hard stone, resistant to scratches, water resistant, withstands temperature changes, available in a wide variety of color choices.
Cons: needs to be sealed more frequently than polished granite as it is more likely to hold stains.
Stainless Steel Countertops
Stainless steel countertops are made of metal alloy and a 10-percent chromium content. They give kitchens a modern look and feel and are available in finishes from satin to antique matte or specialty. Stainless steel countertops flow seamlessly in a kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Stainless steel averages approximately $65/square foot.
Pros: environmentally-friendly choice as they are 100-percent recyclable, made from recycled stainless steel, old scrap, new scrap, and raw materials, very strong material, highly durable and shiny, non-porous and easy to clean and disinfect, heat resistant, rust resistant, stain resistant.
Cons: can be dented easily, can be scratched easily, not the most kid-friendly as they show fingerprints and smudges easily.
Glass countertops are quickly gaining popularity amongst those wanting more of an imaginative or artistic look to their kitchen. The glass can come in numerous styles: crushed glass, painted glass, textured glass, glass with LED lighting, glass with painted design inserts. It has a high installation cost, but the glass itself starts at around $50/square foot.
Pros: unlike stones and metal, it is highly heat resistant so can have hot pots and pans placed right on the countertops, easy maintenance as glass is not porous, simply wipe clean, wide variety of colors, styles, textures, can be shaped and formed almost limitlessly, highly durable, won’t age with time, hygienic as there are no cracks/crevices for dirt and bacteria to hide in, cheaper than natural stone or metal materials.
Cons: can crack, chip, or dent, glass is difficult and expensive to fix, so if it’s chipped, it might need to be fully replaced, it has high installation cost.
Recycled Glass Countertops
Recycled glass countertops are a great option for those looking for an eco-friendly and unique look for their kitchen. Recycled glasses are blended into a one-of-a-kind looking surface, while the super strong binders give it superior strength and durability. There are many factors that alter price, but on average, recycled glass countertops can start at around $40/square foot.
Pros: superior beauty and strength, environmentally-friendly, performs like stone, no staining, sealing, waxing, non-porous, it has an amazing array of colors to choose from.
Cons: high installation cost, can chip or crack if heavy items are dropped on it.
Homeowners are taking advantage of concrete countertops’ versatility as they can be cast in numerous shapes and custom designs. The concrete countertops are cured, sealed, and are made from a combination of cement, lightweight aggregates, and additives such as acrylic and fiber reinforcements. Pricing starts at approximately $65/square foot.
Pros: available in any color, can be personalized with embedded items, highly heat resistant, custom edge designs an option.
Cons: can patina over time, seams can be visible.
Soapstone is the perfect choice for those wanting a natural stone with warmth and character. A favorite in farmhouse kitchens, its milky look lends it a rustic feel. Made from quarried stone, it is a steatite stone containing chlorite, magnesite, and dolomite. Its price is approximately $70/square foot.
Pros: has a unique milky appearance, more pliable than granite, highly resistant to cracks, highly resistant to stains, doesn’t require sealing, easy to clean.
Cons: needs a periodic oiling to maintain appearance, its softness makes it vulnerable to cutting and chopping, somewhat limited in color from whites to charcoals.
Travertine countertops lend a sophisticated and traditional vibe to kitchens, resembling that of marble. From the family of limestone, it is available in earthy colors of cream, ivory, gold, beige, silver, walnut, and shades of brown. It is available in four finishes: polished, tumbled, chiseled edge, and honed. It ranges in price from $25 to $50/square foot.
Pros: available in a variety of warm earthy tones, available in slabs or tiles, durable, stain resistant, can be used outdoors, available in a wide variety of designs and sizes.
Cons: highly reactive to acidic materials, so spills can cause stains, it is naturally porous, due to the natural stone cavities, alkaline-based cleaning products must be used to avoid scratches, needs to be periodically polished and sealed.
Tile countertops have a wide range of looks from sleek and elegant to unique and artistic. Competent installers can create amazing designs and patterns or even a mosaic look. Prices range from approximately $5 to $10/square foot.
Pros: different textures, colors, designs, patterns available, ability to customize the look via the install, inexpensive countertop option.
Cons: tiles are easy to crack and will need to be replaced, grout joints between tiles are hard to maintain and keep clean, the grout joints needs to be resealed yearly, grout joints can become stained.
Engineered stone is an ideal alternative to wanting the look of natural stone, without the maintenance. Engineered stone is cut from pure granite, marble, or sandstone and is held together with a resin binder. Its price starts at approximately $40/square foot.
Pros: has the appearance of natural stone, similar color and texture options of granite and slate, has a wide range of earth-tone colors, has a very hard finish so is highly durable, crack resistant, heat resistant, scratch resistant, non-porous, stain resistant.
Cons: expensive, hard to create curved countertops.
Solid Surface Countertops
Solid surface countertops are a great alternative to wood or real stones for a low-maintenance non-porous countertop. They are made by pouring stone pieces, resin, acrylic, and chemicals into a mold, which is then heated and formed into top sheets. It ranges in price from $30 to $70/square foot.
Pros: easily repairable, versatile and durable, seamless installation, easy to clean, scratch resistant, can be shaped to custom.
Cons: vulnerable to heat and scratches, cannot cut or chop directly on the countertop, can be damaged by chemicals, costly to install.
In this day and age, being eco-friendly is a great boast for any product to be able to make; countertops are no exception. While there are many eco-friendly options on the market, there of the most eco-friendly countertop options are ice stone, Eco, and bamboo.
Pros: Eco is made from natural components and a large percentage of post-industrial or post-consumer products, ice stone has 21 colors available, low maintenance, ice stone and Eco are hard surfaces resistant to damage, Eco is non-porous so needs no sealant, Bamboo has anti-bacterial properties.
Cons: IceStone is non-porous and needs to be resealed twice a year, Eco is only available in neutral colors, bamboo can be easily marked by cutting and can easily stain.
Lava stone is one of the newer types of countertop materials available. It is made from lava stone extracted from open-air quarries in France, cut into slabs, glazed with enamel, and fired in a kiln at 1,300 degrees. As it is cooling, a beautiful crackled finish emerges, forming the signature look of lava countertops. It can have a shiny or matte finish. This is a super expensive one, largely due to the cost of shipping from France, weighing in at $260+/square foot.
Pros: stunningly beautiful and unique, non-porous, resistant to stains, resistant to scratches, can withstand shock and temperature change, low maintenance, can be made seamless.
Cons: very expensive, as it is a newer countertop type, its longevity remains untested.
Resin countertops are a solid surface countertop with a seamless finish. They are fabricated from cured epoxy, polyester resin or acrylic. The epoxy can be tinted for a customized look. Price varies but starts at around $50/square foot.
Pros: resistant to impact, stains, UV rays, scratches and heat, unlikely to be stained by acidic materials, non-porous, affordable.
Cons: lack of consistency across the product board, so know the right questions to ask.
Reclaimed Wood Countertops
Reclaimed wood is a hot product in many areas of home décor. For an environmental warm character feel, reclaimed wood is salvaged and repurposed into countertops. A variety of woods are used from hardwood to maple, cherry to oak, and birch to teak. With the many different woods and stains available, reclaimed wood countertops add an unparalleled warmth to a kitchen. Due to the wide range in woods, price varies from $30 to $200/square foot.
Pros: eco-friendly, different styles such as butcher block and parquet, recyclable.
Cons: needs proper sealing, can be water damaged, can need refinishing, vulnerable to scratches and dents.
Most people would be surprised to learn that porcelain is actually stronger than granite or quartz. It is an engineered stone made from kaolinite clay baked at a high temperature. Ranges in price from around $30 to $50/square foot.
Pros: heat resistant, scratch resistant, water resistant, stain resistant, hard stone, non-porous, no sealing needed, recyclable, lightweight so can be installed over existing countertops.
Cons: can crack under strong force, limited edging options.
Copper countertops are a unique option for adding warmth and character to a kitchen. Copper has a rich and ever-changing coloration that patinas over time. It averages around $60/square foot.
Pros: antimicrobial, non-porous, stain resistant, unique appearance.
Cons: soft metal that can be damaged, scratched, or dented, can patina over time, difficult to install.
Zinc countertops give an industrial look, and as zinc is a living metal, it has the added interest of changing color and appearance over time. It costs around $120 to $170/square foot.
Pros: non-porous, anti-bacterial, changes color over time.
Cons: a soft metal so vulnerable to scratches, can warp from exposure to heat, expensive.
Recycled Paper-based Countertops
Recycled paper-based countertops, also known as paperstone, is a composite material made entirely from recycled paper. Originally used in skate parks, it is highly durable and is obviously very eco-friendly. They range in price from around $15 to $40/square foot.
Pros: high density, resistant to moisture making it impervious to bacterial growth, easy to clean, stain resistant, chemical resistant, heat resistant, can be used outdoors, eco-friendly.
Cons: while it is made from recycled materials, it cannot be recycled as it is mixed with plastic resin.
Limestone is one of the most popular stone choices for countertops. It is unique in its origins as it is made over time from fossils of aquatic life and sea shells. Its neutral tone makes it a popular choice and is known to add value to a home. Its warm neutral grey tones are known as the perfect complement to stainless steel appliances. Price is approximately $45/square foot.
Pros: resembles marble, comes in a wide range of sizes, there are many color choices, many texture choices available.
Cons: not scratch resistant, not heat resistant, needs to be resealed regularly, acid sensitive so is easily stained by juices, tomatoes, wine, needs specific cleaners to avoid etching issues.
Bamboo countertops are enjoying a surge in popularity as they are an environmentally-friendly option. Although they resemble wood, they are actually made from many grass pieces attached into boards, similar to how plywood is made. Price ranges from $30 to $50/square foot.
Pros: eco-friendly, anti-bacterial, strong and durable.
Cons: some types are treated with chemicals, not heat resistant.
Acrylic countertops are a solid surface made by thick pieces of acrylic placed over plywood substrate or particle board. Price ranges from $12 to $22/square foot.
Pros: no base material needed in the install, stain resistant, easy to clean, easy to repair damage, rather than having to replace the entire countertop.
Cons: plastic-looking appearance, vulnerable to cuts and scratches, prone to melting and holes.