Upgrading your kitchen with new countertops can completely transform the look and feel of the space. With so many options to choose from, selecting the perfect countertop material for your needs and budget can feel overwhelming.
We’ll compare factors like cost, durability, maintenance, and style so you can make the best choice for your dream kitchen.
Countertop Material Comparison
Here’s an overview of how the most common countertop materials stack up:
|Cost Per Sq. Ft. Installed
|$20 – $50
|$40 – $150
|$100 – $250
|$80 – $150
Laminate countertops, like Formica, offer an affordable option starting at $20-50 per square foot installed. Made by pressing plastic laminate onto particle board or MDF, these countertops are available in a wide range of colors and patterns.
While laminate counters are prone to chipping, scratches, burns, and stains, the material is fairly repairable. If damage occurs, the laminate can often be patched rather than requiring a full replacement. Easy DIY installation is also a plus.
For a temporary upgrade or rental property, laminate provides an updated look without a huge investment. But for long-term use, more durable options may be worth the added cost.
- Wide range of colors and patterns
- Easy DIY installation
- Repairable if damaged
- Prone to scratches, chips and burns
- Not as durable as stone or quartz
- Lower resale value
Prized for its natural beauty and durability, granite makes a superb countertop option. Granite costs $40-150 per square foot installed, with a higher price tag for rare granite types.
Granite’s hard composition resists scratches, stains, and heat damage exceptionally well. No two slabs are alike – the stone’s variation in veining, crystal patterns, and colors adds to its allure. Unsealed granite can be prone to staining and cracking over time.
For a classic, high-end look that lasts for decades, granite is hard to beat. Proper sealing and polishing are needed to maintain its beauty.
- Extremely durable and scratch-resistant
- Heat resistant
- Natural beauty with unique patterns
- Timeless, classic aesthetic
- On the pricier side
- Can stain if not properly sealed
- May have natural pits and cracks
Few materials exude luxury like marble, making it a stunning focal point. However, marble comes at a cost – expect to invest $100-250 per square foot installed.
The veining patterns and smooth finish create an elegant, upscale look. However, marble etching and staining can occur when exposed to acidic foods and liquids. Diligent sealing and polishing is critical for preventing damage.
While marble elevates your kitchen’s aesthetic, significant maintenance may not suit busy families. For those seeking a glamorous statement piece, it’s a worthwhile splurge.
- Luxurious, elegant aesthetic
- Wide variety of natural patterns and colors
- Creates a focal point
- Prone to staining and etching
- Requires frequent sealing and polishing
Engineered Quartz Countertops
Quartz counters offer man-made durability starting at $80-150 per square foot installed. Made of crushed quartz blended with resin, this material is non-porous, making it impervious to stains and scratches under normal use.
With UV-stable colors, stylish pattern options, and antibacterial properties, quartz provides an ideal balance of form and function. Seamless installation, low maintenance, and longevity make it a smart investment.
For a family-friendly, fuss-free option, quartz checks all the boxes in both beauty and performance.
- Stain, scratch and heat resistant
- Stylish patterns and colors
- Low maintenance
- Higher price point
- Limited custom edging options
Choosing the Perfect Countertop Material
When selecting your dream kitchen countertop, consider your budget, design style, and how you use your kitchen. Low maintenance quartz or granite suit busy spaces prone to spills and stains. For a striking focal point, marble and granite both add wow-factor.
Be sure to order samples to make an informed decision. Viewing large samples at home under different lighting allows you to ensure the color and pattern fits your space.
While cost often dictates choices, don’t choose materials based on price alone. The highest quality option within your budget will give you the most enjoyment long-term.
With this overview of the most popular kitchen countertop materials, you now have the information needed to select your perfect fit. Trust your instincts, weigh the pros and cons, and don’t be afraid to take your time deciding.
Soon you’ll be enjoying your beautiful new countertops as the centerpiece of your dream kitchen. We can’t wait to see how your space transforms!