Best Kitchen Countertop Material For 2023

Typical Cost To Install Granite Countertops Average: $1,680 - $3,720
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If you are planning a kitchen remodel, whether to increase the resale value of your home, or for your own living pleasure, don’t neglect the countertops!

Contact your local countertop installers for a FREE Estimate on replacing your kitchen counters.

What Is The Best Kitchen Countertop Material?

Depending on your needs and budget, there are many great countertop materials to consider. In general, they can be divided into two categories: natural and man-made.

When considering your options, don’t just focus on looks or cost: functionality and maintenance can make or break the comfort of your kitchen.

Assess your habits and cooking preferences, amount of stains, spills, dirt that is typically found on your counters, and make your selection accordingly

Before you settle on a countertop, consider the benefits and drawbacks associated with the 17 most popular kitchen countertop materials available today.

Also, you can use our Kitchen Countertops Cost Calculator to estimate the price of your project.

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1) Granite Countertops: Classy and Sophisticated

Granite countertops are my personal favorite and with so many color and pattern varieties, there is a slab of granite to please any eye.

In addition to timeless elegance, granite offers nearly unrivaled durability, so it is an all around win. Granite countertops can be paired with everything from traditional or farmhouse-style cabinets to ultra-modern and sleek installations to equally dazzling effect.

Granite is high-ranking on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, making it a very durable choice. Granite countertops can be cleaned and disinfected easily on a daily basis with a cleaner formulated for natural stone surfaces.

Some granite materials will never require sealing, while others can be more absorbent and require resealing on a semi-annual basis.

Cost: You should expect to invest between $40 to 100 per square foot for materials and installation of granite countertop materials, depending on the particular type of granite you choose and the complexity of installation.

Learn how we bought Premium Netuno Bordeaux granite countertops for only $56/sq.ft. (costing $2856 for a 51 s.f. job).

2) Marble Countertops

Another classic option that never goes out of style are marble countertops. They can be ideal if you’re less active in the kitchen.

Since marble is significantly softer and more susceptible to staining and scratching than granite, it may not be the best fit for countertops which will be expected to withstand heavy use.

While marble can be fairly versatile in terms of color schemes and cabinet styles, it’s most popular in all-white kitchens with traditional cabinetry.

Maintenance can be a challenge, especially if you want to avoid marble’s tendency to develop a patina with use. Even the mildest detergents can dull the surface, and it will need to be sealed every two years at minimum.

Cost: Marble countertops are synonymous with luxury, and luxury comes with a price. With a $125 to $250 per-square-foot range, marble’s close to granite’s price point for materials and installation, but will usually involve more cost over time for maintenance and protection.

Cost to Install Granite Countertops
$1,974 - $3,079
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3) Butcher Block Countertops: Charm And Function

If your kitchen remodel calls for a workhorse countertop to accommodate your love of cooking without breaking the bank, a wood or butcher block countertop just might fit the bill.

Made from natural wood, sanded until smooth and sealed for durability, wood and butcher block countertops are available in a wide range of wood types and finishes.

The most popular wood types include maple, cherry, zebrawood, bamboo, or a mixture of a few different wood species for a unique look. Butcher block countertops natural look will pair well with almost any cabinet color, and offers a striking focal point in white or light color kitchens.

While they’re resistant to cutting and scratches, wood countertop materials can also be sanded periodically to remove any signs of wear. They do need to be sealed regularly to prevent bacterial growth, but are easy to clean.

Cost: Butcherblock and wood countertop materials can be made of a variety of woods, and the one you choose will affect the price. As a general rule, costs will range from $35 all the way up to $200 per square foot.

4) Stainless Steel Countertops

If you’re working towards a more streamlined, modern aesthetic with sleek cabinetry and minimalist design cues, or if you’re a serious cook who spends lots of time in the kitchen, stainless steel countertops are worth consideration.

Made of at least 10,5% chromium for rust and corrosion resistance, stainless steel is available in a wide range of grades, dependent upon the other alloys used. It also comes in several gauges, which determines thickness and strength.

Because it’s nonporous, stainless will not facilitate bacterial growth or stain, can be cleaned with ease, and is completely nonabsorbent. It will, however, gain a patina over time.

Cost: For kitchen-grade stainless steel countertops, you should budget between $100 and $200 per square foot for materials and professional installation.

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5) Quartz Countertops

Whether you call it “engineered stone,” “engineered quartz” or simply “quartz,” there’s no denying the beauty of this countertop option.

In most cases, color schemes for engineered quartz will fall somewhere along the earth-tone spectrum, making them an ideal choice for natural wood cabinetry and particularly well-suited to contemporary kitchen decor themes.

Quartz counters are so durable that most manufacturers will offer a warranty, which is not typically the case with natural stone options. Cleaning is easy with any sanitizing spray, and maintenance requirements are negligible.

Cost: Depending on how much work you’re planning to do yourself and the grade of quartz chosen, your new countertops can cost anywhere from $40 to $200 per square foot for materials and installation.

6) Laminate Countertops

When you’re looking for a countertop material that won’t exhaust your entire kitchen budget, laminate could be the option you’re looking for.

Made of particle board bases with a layer of bonded plastic to create the work surface, laminate is by far the most affordable material.

It’s also relatively durable, and offers a more diverse range of colors and styles than almost any other option on the market. Because of this, it’s fairly easy to find a laminate product which will work with almost any finish or style of cabinet.

Cleaning is a breeze with a simple sanitizing spray, but laminate is somewhat susceptible to scratching and will not tolerate high heat.

Cost: Choosing laminate countertops is ideal if you’re on a tight building or remodeling budget, since costs will typically run between $20 and $50 per square foot for installation and materials.

7) Make A Splash With Tempered Glass Countertops

Do your tastes run towards the sleek and minimalist look of modern decor? If so, you may find your kitchen countertop match in tempered glass. The tempering process creates a more durable surface, one which is ideal for modern cabinetry and kitchen design.

Since it’s a nonporous material, glass won’t harbor bacteria, and is capable of withstanding high heat. It will require regular cleaning to rid the surface of fingerprints, but little in the way of long-term maintenance tasks.

Cost: When you’re budgeting for a kitchen project which includes tempered glass countertops, leave room for anywhere from $115 to $300 per square foot in your budget for materials and installation.

8) Recycled Paper-Based Countertops

Are you an eco-conscious homeowner with the desire to create an on-trend kitchen with minimal environmental impact?

Recycled paper countertops, which are comprised of recycled post-consumer paper, along with resins and pigments (which aren’t sourced from petroleum products), can meet all your needs.

Because they’re generally available in dark or medium color schemes, with few lighter colored options, this matte countertop option will look best with colorful or light cabinetry for an eye-catching contrast.

Nonporous and stain resistant, recycled paper-based countertops are easy to care for, but will require some protection from direct heat.

Cost: Recycled paper-based countertops aren’t just good for the environment; they’re also good for your bank account. Cost for materials and installation will generally range between $40 and $80.

9) Concrete Countertops For Fashion-Forward Kitchens

No matter what kind of look or mood you’re looking to create, there’s probably a concrete countertop option which will beautifully complement your overall design.

Concrete countertops can be dyed, stained and acid-etched to create almost any color or texture you can imagine.

Perfect for everything from modern to rustic and farmhouse kitchens, concrete is one of the more versatile countertop options. Highly durable and resistant to heat, concrete is easy to care for and customize.

Cost: Because they’re made specifically for your kitchen and customized to your color and finish specifications, you should be prepared to pay between $70 and $140 per square foot for your new concrete countertops.

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10) Soapstone: The Intellectual’s Countertop Of Choice

Black Soapstone Countertops in a Traditional Style Kitchen

Millions of scientists can’t be wrong; soapstone is the countertop option of choice for laboratories around the world, and for good reason. If you’re looking for a surface which will never harbor bacteria and is capable of withstanding high heat, soapstone may be worth a second look.

A living countertop material which will darken over time, soapstone is fairly soft and can scratch easily. This can be welcomed as part of the natural patina, or sanded to restore smooth finishes and sharp edges.

Easy to clean and maintain, soapstone is also an aesthetically versatile option which will be beautifully suited to farmhouse or traditional kitchens, or equally at home in a more modern decor.

Cost: Soapstone is practically impenetrable and can easily last a lifetime, but its price tag can reflect this longevity. Prepare to spend $80 to $100 per square foot for materials and installation.

11) Travertine Countertops For Old World Charm

When you’re looking for the class and elegance of natural stone without the hefty price tag, travertine can rise to the occasion beautifully.

Naturally formed when limestone is subjected to intense pressure and heat, travertine has been in use for thousands of years.

More recently, however, it’s become a popular choice for kitchen countertops. Colors range from light cream to deep walnut or even shades of red, but will almost always fall along the earthtone spectrum.

For this reason, travertine countertops are best suited to cabinetry in warm hues or natural wood tones, and are particularly beautiful in contemporary kitchen design themes.

Because it’s highly reactive to acids, it’s important to protect travertine from exposure to common kitchen acids, like lemon or tomato juice, which can stain or etch the surface. It’s also somewhat susceptible to scratches and will need to be disinfected to protect against bacterial growth.

Cost: Available in slab or tile form, the cost of travertine countertops will vary depending upon the type you choose. For slabs, costs for materials and installation will usually run between $50 and $100 per square foot, or $6 to $14 per square foot for Travertine tile.

12) Tile Countertops

No matter your taste or color preference, you’ll be able to find a tile countertop option to suit your needs. Available in almost any color, size or style you can think of, tile is a versatile choice which can be perfect for a vintage-style kitchen, farmhouse decor or even more modern applications.

While tile itself it’s overly susceptible to staining, grout may require more cleaning and care to stay fresh. Tighter grout joints or choosing a darker colored grout can cut down on the need for vigilance.

Cost: This is one countertop material option capable of scaling with your budget. Depending on the type and style you choose, you can spend as little as $20 per square foot for materials and installation, or as much as $75.

Cost to Install Granite Countertops
$1,974 - $3,079
See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

13) Copper Countertops

If you’re interested in a living countertop material which will develop and evolve with continued use, copper is a great choice. Copper will develop a patina over time, but this this can be staved off through vigilant resealing and care.

Though it lends an old world charm to traditional and rustic kitchens, copper is versatile enough to work well in more modern or industrial-inspired spaces, as well.

Newly installed copper countertops will be the color of a bright, new penny, but can develop shades of deep brown and green through oxidation.

Cost: You’ll need to work with a skilled contractor to ensure copper countertops are properly installed, and the material itself can be a bit pricey. Plan to spend anywhere from $100 to $175 per square foot for materials and installation of copper countertops.

14) Zinc Countertops

Are you torn between natural stone and the patina of metal? If so, zinc just might be the perfect compromise. While it’s a metal, zinc offers a matte surface which closely resembles some types of stone.

Newly installed, zinc will be pale gray in color and will gain a green or blue shade as it ages. It’s naturally resistant to bacteria, mold and mildew, making it an ideal choice in terms of cleanliness, and is resistant to staining.

While it’s found primarily in rustic or old world-inspired kitchens, zinc is highly versatile and can look just as stunning in ultra-modern applications or contemporary kitchens.

Cost: Elegance and distinctive style aren’t cheap, so you should budget accordingly for zinc countertops. Look for installation and materials to run between $100 and $120 per square foot.

15) Nano Crystallized Glass Countertops

Do you dream of countertops with a pure white surface, unbroken by grout lines or veining? If this is the case, nano-crystallized glass is your answer.

The very limited color variation of this white countertop option make it perfectly suited to modern kitchens, especially those with dark cabinetry.

Nonporous, nano-crystallized glass is resistant to stains and scratching, easy to clean, resistant to heat and requires little maintenance.

Cost: Installation costs will vary because this glass can be difficult to work with. To get an accurate price quote contact a distributor that sells this countertop material in your area.

16) Recycled Glass & Concrete Countertops

When you’re looking for countertop materials that are almost infinite in their customization capabilities while also being earth-friendly, recycled glass and cement can be the perfect fit.

Comprised of cement, recycled glass and pigments, these countertops are well suited to eclectic or modern kitchen design themes and available in a wide range of colors.

Heat and scratches aren’t a concern, though the porosity of the concrete can present a risk of staining.

Cost: Budget anywhere from $100 to $160 per square foot for your new recycled glass and cement countertops.

17) Solid-Surface Countertops

Whether you want to mimic the look of natural stone, wood, or just about any other material, you can find a solid-surface countertop option to meet your needs.

This is particularly useful if you have your heart set on a material which isn’t known for durability or will require heavy maintenance.

Its versatility means solid-surface countertops can be perfect for any design scheme. Impervious to staining, bacterial growth or patina development, solid-surface counters are easy to clean.

They’re not particularly heat resistant, though, so you’ll want to avoid placing hot pans directly on the countertop.

Cost: Unlike pricier options, solid-surface countertop materials won’t devour your entire kitchen budget. Plan to spend between $75 and $125 per square foot to mimic the look of far more expensive options.

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About Leo B

Leo has been a contractor since 2003, specializing in: roofing, siding, general contracting (GC) and residential remodeling. Leo is also a Certified HVAC, Oil & Gas Heating Technician/Installer. In addition to roofing and remodeling, Leo is passionate about Solar, green building and energy conservation, so a lot of my time and energy goes to installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

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