Selecting kitchen countertops is one area where we see clients wanting some guidance. There isn’t just one obvious choice! Every type of countertop material, from marble to granite to concrete, comes with its own set of pros and cons.
To help you minimize hours of research, uncertainty, and decision paralysis, here’s a simple guide to 4 of our favorite countertop materials: quartzite, granite, soapstone, and concrete.
Have a question about these materials or others? Ask us in the comments below!
1 / QUARTZITE
Quartzite (not to be confused with man-made Quartz) is the hardest and most durable natural stone. It is one of our favorite countertop options for the simple reason that it excels in just about every category.
Pros: Quartzite is extremely heat resistant, so you can go ahead and set those scalding pans down. It also resists acid, stains, and scratches, and cleans easily with baking soda and water. Quartzite’s array of veining and color options (including some that mimic the look of marble) make it easy to get the look you want.
Cons: For any scratch or chip repair, we recommend hiring a professional. You’ll also want a professional to apply sealer every 1-3 years, depending on the porosity of your quartzite slab.
Price Range: $$-$$$
2 / GRANITE
Contrary to popular belief, granite is not just the stone of the 90s. Granite slabs come in a wide range of veining, splatter, and color options, so it’s more than possible to incorporate a style that will keep your space looking current. Plus, the stone’s long-term durability is well worth the investment.
Pros: Granite is extremely resistant to damage from heat, acid, common foods, and household cleaning products. Granite is also scratch resistant, so if you’re known for using your counters as chopping blocks, your granite will survive… though the sharpness of your knives may not!
Cons: In the unlikely event that your granite chips or scratches, you’ll want to hire a professional to repair it. You’ll also need to schedule a professional sealing application every 2-4 years.
Price Range: $$-$$$
3 / SOAPSTONE
We love materials that patina and get better with age, and soapstone is at the top of that list. If you want a countertop that has beauty and longevity, you should give soapstone your serious consideration.
Pros: Like quartzite and granite, soapstone is extremely heat resistant. Though it’s the softest natural stone, its lack of porosity resists damage from acid, bacteria, and stains. Scratches can happen, but they’re easy to buff out with 60-80 grit sandpaper. Removing any residue or blemishes is also easy to do without calling in a professional.
Cons: Your color options are limited to a range of veining in white and gray, and body colors in gray and green. Perhaps the biggest con is that soapstone requires regular maintenance. Mineral oil applications are necessary 1x / week for the first few months, as well as every few months afterward, though you don’t need a professional to do it. Also, keep in mind that mineral oil turns your stone dark, as in this before and after photo. (Though we see this as a plus!)
Price Range: $$
4 / CONCRETE
Concrete countertops look beautiful, especially in modern spaces, and will develop a lot of character over the years. If you don’t mind the high maintenance, their beauty is worth your extra loving care.
Pros: Concrete countertops are extremely heat resistant and have a versatile selection of color, pigment, and finish options.
Cons: As a porous material, concrete is prone to scratches and stains and is susceptible to etching from acids. While a yearly sealing is the minimum requirement, sealing won’t protect the surface from all stains or etching. You’ll also want to call a professional for any chip and scratch repairs.
Price Range: $-$$$
Have questions? Did we leave out your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!