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Kitchen countertops are where we throw our bag when we come home, prep and mix for baking, chop up vegetables for dinner, sit our child who needs a bandage, entertain, spill, and clutter with stuff from everyday life. They must be beautiful, functional and durable!

More than just the work horse of the kitchen, they also complete the design and style of your kitchen.

If you’re ready to match cabinetry and countertops, here are six popular countertops for a kitchen remodel. (Note: Popular because of durability, look and style. Pricing will vary based on availability and fabrication costs.)

Quartz

Quartz countertopOften homeowners choose quartz countertops because of its many advantages. Quartz doesn’t need to be sealed, and its seams blend very well. It is easy to clean and is heat, scratch and stain resistant. Quartz countertops are an engineered stone made of ground up quartz, which is one of the hardest minerals on earth, bonded with resins. Many color patterns and options are available through brands such as Cambria, Samsung, Eternia, Zodiaq, Silestone and many others. Some are similarly priced with granite and some are more expensive. Few are less expensive than granite.

Granite

Granite surfaces are slabs of stone cut from the earth, so each piece is unique. It is more porous than Quartz but is sealed as part of the installation and should be resealed once or twice a year. You can pay extra for a longer-term sealer process. You can order granite countertops with a polished, shiny finish; a silky, honed (matte) finish; or a specialty finish such as flamed or leather. Design flexibility, because of the many choices in colors and finishes, is a significant advantage in choosing granite.

Marble

Often this natural stone countertop is 2 cm (3/4”) thick; however, more-and-more 3 cm (1-1/4”) thick slabs are available at your stone selection warehouse. As a counter surface, marble offers a beautiful, timeless look. It has been a preferred stone in architecture throughout the ages. Baking enthusiasts rave that it’s the best surface for rolling out dough. However I must warn you: marble is softer and more porous than granite. It is more susceptible to stains and scratches. You might say it is more of a “living” finish, but be sure you are willing to “live” with it. Even so, some of the most successful and beautiful countertop installations are marble.

Glass

Do you love color, pattern and modern design? You could consider glass countertops. They offer a very clean, modern look. Recycled glass countertops are available through various manufacturers as well. You will find many colors, patterns, finishes and edges just as you would with granite. However, finding a qualified glass countertop fabricator and installer can be challenging. If you find a qualified glass fabricator, you can edge-light the glass countertops creating a look that you can’t get with any other material that I know of.

Wood

A durable surface for hard-working kitchens, wood countertops are more sanitary than you may think! Wood offers warmth both visually (the color) and tangibly (in contrast to cold stone surfaces). Many homeowners desire a portion of their kitchen countertop to be a wood species such as cherry, maple, hickory, walnut, teak, sapele or mahogany. If you use a wood countertop as a cutting or chopping surface, be willing to accept cuts and scratches in the surface and simply apply a hypoallergenic oil to the wood.  (Tip: we prefer wood countertops custom made from Grothouse Lumber Company.)

Concrete

The important part of selecting concrete is simply to be aware of the pros and cons. Pros: concrete can be prefabricated or cast in place. It can be dyed and can feature inlaid designs. The selection process is fun because artistic possibilities are endless! Cons: concrete must be maintained with periodic wax and sealant applications because it is greatly susceptible to staining (be aware of buzzwords such as “patina over time” and “living finish”). Finding an experienced fabricator for concrete who is also careful, neat, and clean can be challenging.

Instead of discussing all of the countertop options that exist, we chose six popular countertops for a kitchen remodel. There are other good quality surfaces you might want to consider researching: Durango, Soapstone, semi-precious stone and Quartzite.

Cabinetry and countertops are a dynamic duo – together they make a beautiful design!