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Central Irvington Kitchen Remodel

Countertop Pros and Cons: How to Pick the Right Option For Your Next Remodel

Whether you’re talking about a kitchen, a bathroom, or a bar area, countertops can dramatically change the entire look of your space. You can either make them a focal point or have them blend into the background. With so many materials to choose from, narrowing your options can be a daunting task. We’re here to help! Here are some countertop pros and cons when planning your next remodel.

Sherwood Kitchen

Countertop Pros and Cons: 10 Most Popular Countertop Materials

It can seem like the possibilities are endless when it comes to countertops, so we’ve broken them down by the ten most common types, and we’ve rated each by color options, durability, maintenance, sink installation style (as some materials aren’t compatible with all types of sink installations), and cost.

Laminate

countertop pros and cons: laminate countertop
from Formica

When it comes to laminate, color options are unlimited. From metal to wood and marble-look patterns, you have a lot to choose from. Some of the patterns are dated in their look but the technology for printing has improved over the years so they can have a truer stone-like appearance. Not common in kitchens these days, a typical application would be in a laundry room. It’s a great place to do a fun pattern while keeping the costs down. 

Pros:

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Lots of color options
  • Easy to clean
  • Stain-resistant

Cons:

  • Seams and separation from the edge
  • Not as durable or heat resistant as stone
  • Prone to scratches
  • No resale value
ColorsDurabilityMaintenanceCostSink type
better/bestgoodgoodgoodOver mount

Thinscape

countertop pros and cons: thinscape countertop
from wilsonart

If you’re looking for something in between laminate and manufactured stone, Thinscape might be an option. Made from a 1/2 inch base, Thinscape mimics the look of marble, granite, and quartz surfaces but at a cheaper cost. It’s durable, easier to fabricate than other surfaces, and is scratch and moisture resistant. It comes in 12 styles. The material can also be integrated to create a seamless look; leaving you with a sleek and low maintenance surface.

Pros:

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Durable
  • Stain-resistant
  • Sanitary (germ resistant)

Cons:

  • Not as durable or heat resistant as stone
  • Can scratch and scrape
  • Not as heat resistant as many stone surfaces
  • Limited to a dozen styles
ColorsDurabilityMaintenanceCostSink type
betterbetterbetterbetterUnder and Over mount

Quartz

countertop pros and cons: quartz countertop
from daltile

Quartz is by far the most popular countertop material we work with. It’s an engineered stone made by grinding natural quartz into dust and combining it with other synthetic materials and adhesives. The result is a hard and durable surface, but it can be damaged by high heat, due to the resin and polymers used to manufacture it. Quartz countertops come in a large array of colors and a variety of brands and finishes. The cost of the material depends on the variation in the color and pattern of the countertop you choose.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Scratch, chip and stain-resistant
  • Sleek, modern appearance
  • Large choice of colors and patterns
  • Non-porous
  • Easy maintenance

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have the look of a natural stone
  • Can be pricey
  • Susceptible to heat damage
ColorsDurabilityMaintenanceCostSink type
betterbetterbestbetterUnder and Over mount

Quartzite

quartzite countertop
from daltile

Where quartz is engineered, quartzite is a completely natural stone. It comes typically with gray and white veining, but its patterns are more varied than manufactured quartz. It’s also averse to scratches and resists heat better, as it doesn’t contain any of the resins and polymers that quartz does. However, it can be pricier than quartz and can be more susceptible to stains.

Pros:

  • Durable, natural stone
  • Varied patterns to choose from
  • Scratch and heat-resistant
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Not many color options available
  • Can be prone to staining
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Can be costly
ColorsDurabilityMaintenanceCostSink type
goodbetter/bestbetterbestUnder and Over mount

Natural marble

countertop pros and cons: marble countertop
from daltile

For sheer natural-stone wow-factor, marble is hard to beat. Its use throughout history to adorn ancient palaces and serve as the material of choice for many of the greatest sculptors gives it an enduring allure. That’s why it’s still a popular choice for many high-end home remodels. Its beauty does come with a cost. Not only can it be expensive, it also requires a fair amount of maintenance to resist stains and other damage. But, if you’re looking for a truly unique countertop choice and don’t mind spending a little extra, this may be the ideal option for you.

Pros:

  • Stunning natural stone
  • Available in several colors and patterns
  • Can increase property value
  • Can be long-lasting if maintained

Cons:

  • Can be expensive
  • Porous, so can stain relatively easily if not maintained regularly
  • Can chip and crack
  • Heavy; can’t install on your own
ColorsDurabilityMaintenanceCostSink type
betterbettergood/betterbestUnder and Over mount

Granite

countertop pros and cons: granite countertop
from daltile

Granite is one of the most common countertop materials, and for good reason. It’s extremely durable, so you can place hot pans on it with little worry. It’s resistant to chipping. It’s a natural stone so each slab is unique. And it is extremely versatile — it can be used as a kitchen or bathroom countertop, backsplash, shower walls, and even fireplace surrounds, inside or outdoors.

Pros:

  • Very durable
  • Heat, scratch, and stain-resistant
  • Natural stone
  • Easy to maintain
  • Several style options

Cons:

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Requires intermittent sealing
  • Likely to come with seams on larger countertop areas
ColorsDurabilityMaintenanceCostSink type
betterbestbestbestUnder and Over mount

Solid surface

solid surface countertop
from Formica

Intended to mimic the appearance of granite, marble, or other natural stones, solid surface countertops are made up of non-porous, low-maintenance materials. The non-porous aspect is aimed at making it more stain-resistant, while still being fairly durable. Its density also helps prevent the build up of harmful bacteria — so it can be a more sanitary option. While it resembles stone much more than laminate for example, solid surface countertops lack natural stone depth.

Pros:

  • Almost totally non-porous
  • Easy to repair (can sand down scratches)
  • Affordable
  • Lots of colors and patterns

Cons:

  • Easily susceptible to heat damage
  • Can scratch, stain, and dent easily
  • Not as durable as natural stone or engineered stone
ColorsDurabilityMaintenanceCostSink type
bestgoodbettergoodUnder and Over mount

Tile

countertop pros and cons: tile countertops

Whether you want to add a pop of color to your space with mosaic countertops, or prefer a solid pattern, tile can offer the versatility you’re looking for. Unlike stone slabs or laminate surfaces, tiles do not come in seamless blocks, rather they’ll be laid down with grout. That means you’ll be able to see some grout lines. Still, they can be easier to install than other materials and often are more affordable. And these large format tiles can add a flare of sophistication to your space.

Pros:

  • Lots of color, pattern, and size options
  • Easy to replace single damaged tile than a whole granite or marble slab
  • Relatively easy to install
  • Lightweight
  • Heat-resistant

Cons:

  • Tiles can be fragile and susceptible to damage
  • Grout can be porous and difficult to clean
  • No seamless slab look
ColorsDurabilityMaintenanceCostSink type
bestgood/betterbetterbetterOver mount

Metal (stainless steel, copper)

countertop pros and cons: metal

Once nearly exclusive to commercial kitchens, stainless steel countertops are becoming a more popular choice for home cooks. Typically custom-fabricated for precise installation, stainless steel countertops can be a durable, easy-to-maintain option for your next kitchen remodel. Copper is also becoming a more popular choice. Copper countertops have a striking appearance, are easy to clean, and are germ resistant. However, you’ll need to maintain them regularly to help prevent tarnishing and they can be susceptible to dents and scratches.

Pros:

  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight
  • Striking looks
  • Germ-resistant

Cons:

  • Can scratch and dent
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Fabrication may be complex
  • Maintenance required
ColorsDurabilityMaintenanceCostSink type
goodbetterbetterbetterUnder mount

Dekton

dekton countertop
from Dekton

Dekton is known as an “ultra-compact surface.” It’s made from a combination of the same raw materials used to make quartz, glass, and porcelain countertops, mixed and engineered at high heat. The result is an extremely durable and heat-resistant countertop that’s easy to maintain. Dekton claims it is not only stain resistant; it is completely stain proof, and more resistant to abrasion than granite.

Pros:

  • Very durable
  • Stain proof
  • Heat resistant
  • Won’t scratch
  • Good color choices

Cons:

  • Can chip and crack
  • Somewhat expensive
ColorsDurabilityMaintenanceCostSink type
good/betterbestbestbestUnder mount

Other options

While the above countertops are among the most common styles and materials, you have others to choose from. Whether, you like the rustic natural feel of a wood slab, or the industrial vibe of concrete, or any of the others listed above, chances are you’ll find the perfect one for you and your budget.

Thinking about some new countertops for your next home remodel project? Our in-house designers have years of experience working with all kinds of countertop materials and can recommend some ideal options for your style and budget. Schedule an appointment with us to get started!