Countertops are the centerpiece of your kitchen. They are out in the open, used every day, and contribute a lot to the decor and style of your cooking palace. That style is important! It drives how you style the rest of the kitchen and can highlight the decor to make your kitchen really pop.
Whether you are planning a renovation or just looking to replace your countertop, knowing what your options are is a great first step of the project.
The big question is: what material to choose? There are so many countertop materials out there, that question can get complicated quickly. This article will go over the coolest parts of each of these options, ranging from the classics, like granite, to some less traditional ones, like glass. Read on for some insight into 13 cool kitchen countertops!
Stone countertops are the foundation of kitchen countertops. The granites and marbles will always be in style. Across the board, these are durable countertops. Though they can get expensive, these are the countertops you can keep looking brand new for over a decade.
Granite is a very popular option for countertops. It is gorgeous and unbelievably durable. A heavy price tag comes with these countertops, however, making them one of the most expensive on this list. As far as maintenance goes, it just requires periodic cleaning and sealing to keep it shining and strong. There are three main types of granite countertop, each with its own set of pros and cons.
The main event is the granite slab. This piece is the flagship of granite countertops, each one unique and crazy durable. Not to mention it looks amazing in just about any kitchen. You do, however, have to pay a pretty penny for this stone.
Modular granite is a less expensive option. Modular granite is a series of large tiles that make up your countertop. They are smaller and thinner, meaning they cannot match the strength of a granite slab, but they are a great middle-of-the-road option for a granite countertop.
Granite tile is the cheapest addition. Often added over a core of cement, granite tile is a thin layer on top of another. It does not have the grandeur of the granite slab, but it is the cheapest and easiest to install of the three. You can even have it installed on top of your current countertop! The biggest downside to this tile is the grout is incredibly hard to keep clean.
Another sneaky way to get a “granite countertop” is with a paint kit. With multiple layers of primer, paint, and resin, you can transform almost any countertop with a granite facade.
Granite is expensive, but what you pay for is returned as a beautiful and durable stone counter.
The most expensive option on this list, marble is a beautiful option for a kitchen countertop. Its unique, veined pattern gives it an elegance unmatched by any other option. Similar to granite, marble comes in slabs, modular tiles, and regular tiles.
Even after the hefty price tag on installation, marble requires a lot of maintenance to stay pristine. It is a soft, porous stone, leaving it prone to scratches and stains unless it is regularly sealed.
Marble is expensive and hard to maintain but delivers maximum looks and style to your kitchen.
Slate is a cheaper stone countertop. It is an excellent choice when comparing the cost to durability. Slate is very easy to maintain, resisting stains and wear and tear incredibly well.
Slate comes in mostly dark colors, not able to match the variety of other stone countertops. The gritty and matte texture of slate does not go with every kind of kitchen, but it matches yours, this is a great choice!
Slate is cheap and easy to maintain but does not work with every style of kitchen.
Soapstone is an uncommon countertop, giving it a sense of intrigue from the start. Coming in warm whites and greys, soapstone gives a unique look to any kitchen it is in. Like slate, soapstone is easy to maintain, only needing to seal and oil it once in a while to keep it looking good. It can be scratched or gouged, however, but that might just add to its style!
Soapstone is a more expensive countertop material due to its rarity, but it is easy to maintain and will set your kitchen apart from many others.
Man-made countertops are growing more popular and stylish every year. They are often much more versatile in color scheme, texture, and shape. They may not have the same heft and grandeur as their natural stone counterparts, but they are still an excellent option for a new kitchen.
Laminate is a great, cost-effective countertop material just about anywhere in your home. Constructed of a paper and plastic layer laminated onto particleboard, it has an almost unending variety of colors, textures, and finishes to suit any kitchen. Cleaning laminate is easy, but it is prone to scratches and gouges if you are not careful. Two big brands of laminate are Formica and Wilsonart
Formica — For over 100 years, this company has manufactured and furthered laminate countertops. One of their new products, the 180fx, offers high-resolution true-to-scale woodgrain, granite, and stone patterns.
Wilsonart — Founded in the 1950s, Wilsonart is another big laminate brand. Their AEON technology has increased laminate’s durability threefold.
With all the advances in laminate, this cost-effective countertop can fit into any kitchen style you have in mind.
Concrete is new and classy countertop material. It is very modern, limiting your kitchen styles, but it looks amazing in the right context. Each piece is usually poured to your specific specifications, meaning it will be a perfect fit but rather costly.
Concrete is also very heavy. With the countertop installation comes a special support structure to keep it stable. Part of the cost of a concrete countertop is the special installation required for it.
Concrete is a sleek, modern countertop material that will draw the eyes of your guests. It is incredibly durable but expensive.
A cheap and easy-to-install material, ceramic tile adds a fun look to your kitchen counters. There are many patterns and styles of tile, giving you lots of options. Grout on a countertop is a pain, but larger (up to four square feet) tiles minimize the grout lines on your counter. The tile itself is also prone to chipping and cracking and is difficult to repair, often requiring tiles to be replaced.
Ceramic tile is a good option if you are on a budget, and can be done as a DIY project. It is difficult to care for, however, as it is easily chipped and hard to repair.
This mixture of polyester and acrylic originated as a cheaper alternative to natural stone. This synthetic stone is shaped into countertops, letting you mold it to your specifications. There are hundreds of colors and finishes, giving it incredible versatility. It is easy to clean, but prone to scratches and burns.
Solid surface countertops are a great addition to a kitchen renovation on a budget. It allows you to get the look and feel of natural stone without paying for it in full.
These countertops are new to the party, made with a mixture of crushed rock and resin. This is a fairly expensive material, on par with granite. It looks amazing, capturing the natural stone look and it is incredibly durable and easy to clean.
This new material is a great way to make your kitchen pop, but it is a costly purchase and installation.
Wooden kitchen countertops are enjoying a return to popularity. They are on the cheaper end, easy to install, and easy to maintain. Sanding and refinishing your countertop is an excellent way to remove scratches and scrapes it has received during its time.
Alongside that, having a wooden countertop is like having a cutting board all throughout your kitchen when you need it!
The standard wooden countertop is the butcher block. Most kitchen countertops are made of hardwood, giving them a little more durability. Wood is also an incredibly eco-friendly countertop option.
One downside to wood is the maintenance it needs. Keeping it finished and oiled is an important step in keeping it looking fresh and new.
Reclaimed wood is all recycled, making it the most eco-conscious choice on this whole list. There are loads of spots where wood is recycled, and it is more than possible to find a piece that can fit your kitchen!
Armed with this knowledge about countertops, which will you choose? There are many countertops for many styles of kitchen, from classic to modern, rustic to sleek. The countertop is a great foundation for any kitchen renovation project, big or small. If you are looking to start a project, give the pros at Honest Renovators a call and we will happily help you make the kitchen you’ve always wanted!
Kyle Reyes is a part-time writer and a full-time nerd studying English Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. A lover of all things fiction and food. You can connect with Kyle on LinkedIn or Twitter.