Woodgrain inner banner

The Ultimate Guide to Countertop Materials

The Ultimate Guide to Countertop Materials

While remodeling your bathroom or kitchen can be exciting, you might find it challenging to narrow down the best countertop materials for your needs.

Many options make excellent countertop materials, from granite to marble to quartz. Choose from natural stone with high durability to manufactured materials that present lower costs and various styles and colors. You might even opt for an eco-friendly countertop — many factors are involved in selecting a suitable kitchen or bathroom surface.

Follow our guide to countertops for helpful advice on making your choice. You’ll want to consider your aesthetic preferences, budget and lifestyle to decide on the best option for your home renovation project.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Countertop Material 

Several countertop options provide durability, heat resistance and low-maintenance properties for your home or business. You’ll want to decide on one that matches your lifestyle and budgetary preferences so that it holds up to frequent use and looks great for years.

For bathroom and kitchen countertop materials, look for something that provides the ideal durability level depending on your lifestyle and the level of care you can provide. Also, consider the average costs of each material to help with budgeting your project.

Consider a few factors when choosing a countertop material:

  • Budget: You’ll want to select a suitable countertop material to ensure you remain within your remodeling budget. Different materials vary in price, and when you have other tasks and investments to consider, you’ll want to find the right countertop to stay within your set price range.
  • Durability: Kitchens and bathrooms are some of the most high-traffic areas of our homes. Countertop durability matters because you’ll want a material that withstands frequent use while maintaining its look and finish. For instance, your countertop material should be resistant to damage caused by dicing and chopping in the kitchen. And, both kitchen and bathroom countertop materials should fare well against wet conditions. 
  • Maintenance: Consider the level of care you can provide for your countertop. All materials will require a certain amount of maintenance. However, if you have an active family, you’ll probably want a low-maintenance option that won’t require regular staining or sealing to prevent water damage. 
  • Storage and cabinetry: While designing a kitchen or bathroom, you should have ample storage space. Many cabinetry designs include storage below kitchen islands or bathroom sinks, so you’ll want to consider a countertop material that the cabinet can effectively support. 
  • Heat resistance: Countertop heat resistance is especially important for kitchens and homeowners who cook frequently. Your kitchen surface should be able to handle the heat from steaming pots and pans without sustaining any damage. You’ll want to invest in suitable countertop materials by considering heat-resistant qualities for a busy kitchen. 
  • Eco-friendly options: Many homeowners hope to live more sustainably. If you’re one of them, consider eco-friendly countertops, which use recycled materials rather than sourcing raw elements. However, they may require more maintenance, so ask your local supply source for care instructions when considering an eco-friendly countertop. 

Natural Stone Countertops 

Natural stone makes an excellent addition to any bathroom or kitchen. With every material unique and robust enough to withstand frequent use, you might consider natural stone for your countertop project. 

Granite 

Granite remains a popular countertop material among builders and buyers for many reasons. You’ll enjoy granite in your home or business for decades as long as it’s maintained well. You’ll find numerous benefits from installing granite in your kitchen or bathroom, including its high durability and resistance to bacteria and dirt:

  • Durable: When installed correctly and properly cared for, granite can last for decades. Granite is a hard material and therefore highly durable and resistant to scrapes and chips. It’s also easy to fix if kitchen accidents occur. You might drop something heavy in the kitchen and find a chip in your granite countertop — natural stone experts can quickly repair it with putty dyed to match its surface. They’ll then reseal it to protect the surface from further spills and damage. 
  • Hygienic: Your granite countertop is no longer porous once sealed, meaning nothing will soak into it. Your counter will be less likely to gather dirt, bacteria and other grime associated with kitchen and bathroom countertops. Enjoy a healthier home when you install granite countertops. 
  • Resistant to heat, stains and moisture: Since granite is formed by high pressure and heat, hot pots and pans won’t scorch its surface. Granite also provides a smooth area to clean messes from kitchen spills and other debris, which is more manageable. With the appropriate sealant, granite countertops withstand dampness in bathrooms as well. 
  • Eco-friendly: Various options for environmentally friendly solid surfaces exist since these countertops often feature a blend of raw and manufactured elements. You can opt for materials such as recycled glass, porcelain and pottery for a sleek look while helping to protect the environment. 

Prices vary depending on the slab’s thickness, though granite’s average cost runs between $40 and $60 per square foot. It will likely outlast other materials in your home for up to decades, so granite countertops are more of a high-value investment.

As for maintenance, it’s essential to clean your granite countertops routinely with mild soap and water while removing spills as they occur. If you have any spills that happen to dry on your granite, you can gently remove them with a plastic scraper to keep the surface looking shiny and new. Once a year, have a professional reapply a penetrating sealer to better protect your granite countertop from scratches and spills.

Quartzite 

Quartzite is the hardest natural stone you can use for your countertops. Many people appreciate quartzite countertops for their scratch-resistant surface, especially busy families who use their kitchens frequently. With many options that look similar to marble and sandstone, quartzite makes a durable and stylish countertop for any remodeling project:

  • Highly versatile: Since quartzite is harder than granite on the MOH scale, quartzite countertops are strong surfaces resistant to scratches and chips. Whether you install quartzite in a bathroom or kitchen, you’ll notice its hardiness and ability to adapt to its environment and complement most interior styles. 
  • Fire and heat resistant: Quartzite countertops resist high temperatures and do well near stovetops while resisting scorches from hot pots and pans.
  • Stain-resistant: Many quartzite options are less porous than granite, making them popular for their health benefits and resistance to germs. This countertop type makes an ideal addition for families since its surface won’t build up bacteria over time, especially after you apply the proper sealant. 
  • Widely available: While it’s already a popular material, quartzite is becoming more widely available and easier to purchase for kitchen and bathroom projects. You’ll find many options that provide a luxurious look at a similar price range per foot as granite. 

Quartzite is a relatively low-maintenance material for kitchen countertops. Depending on its level of porousness, you’ll want to care for it similarly to granite. Sealing it once per year is an excellent way to protect it from moisture and chips. Regular care involves cleaning spills immediately and wiping surfaces with a damp rag and pH-balanced dish soap to preserve their finish. 

Marble 

Marble adds uniqueness to any kitchen or bathroom, making it a trendy countertop option for homeowners. Marble countertops bring brightness and elegance without sacrificing durability or longevity. The material poses several benefits for your kitchen or bathroom, making it an excellent choice for businesses and homeowners alike:

  • Durability: Marble is a natural stone highly resistant to scratches and cracking. It’s also softer than granite, so it’s easier to incorporate unique and ornate designs into its surface during fabrication.
  • Distinction: The wide range of hues and colors in marble determine its origin. Marble materials also include original limestone minerals from heat and pressure transformation, which is why marble is popular for its unique look. Every piece of marble used in your countertop project will offer distinction.
  • Heat resistant: Marble is resistant to hot appliances like other natural stones. It won’t catch fire or burn, though you’ll want to use protection before placing hot pans or pots on its surface to preserve its finish. Marble also offers a cool surface for rolling out pastries, making it a favorite for chefs and home bakers alike. 
  • Longevity: Marble’s ability to withstand the test of time makes it ideal for building materials. When marble countertops are professionally installed, sealed and regularly maintained, you can expect them to last a lifetime. 
  • Affordability: Like other natural stones, marble’s price depends on the type chosen and its thickness, though it can sometimes cost less than granite or quartzite. Check with your local countertop supplier to learn about your options before deciding on the right marble countertop for you.

Compared to granite and quartz, marble requires more care. It’s more porous, so it’s prone to staining and etching, though all you’ll need is a mild cleanser and a soft cloth to keep marble countertops looking great. Prevent stains by wiping away deep-colored liquids immediately. To remove stains, use hydrogen peroxide before rinsing the countertop thoroughly. 

Additional Types of Countertops 

Manufactured materials such as quartz, laminate and solid surfaces make low-maintenance countertops for busy households and businesses. 

Quartz 

Quartz is an excellent option for its durability and stylish appearance in your home or business remodeling project. Though sometimes confused with quartzite since they use both raw elements and artificial engineering in their materials, quartz countertops are different. Quartz provides many benefits when used as a bar, kitchen or bathroom countertop:

  • Nonporous: Quartz is entirely nonporous and highly resistant to liquids and moisture, unlike natural stone countertops. As long as you wipe spills away when they occur, quartz will do exceptionally well in homes with children, so you won’t need to worry about messes. You can enjoy a luxurious-looking countertop that won’t be affected by moisture buildup or stains.
  • Low maintenance: You won’t need to apply too much care to your quartz countertop. Its nonporous nature means it doesn’t require the sealing typical of natural stone countertops, and you won’t need to spend much on maintenance or replacement costs over the years. 
  • Highly durable: Quartz countertops are incredibly hard since they’re made partly of quartzite. You can bang pots, pans, utensils and other household items on your countertop while likely never noticing any etches or scratches. This type of material is also stain and heat-resistant, lasting many years without showing signs of age. 
  • Reduced imperfections: Quartz countertops are precisely cut and fitted to blend seamlessly into your home or business space. You won’t notice the streaks or fissures that can show up in natural stone when you opt for artificial surfaces like quartz. 

The average price of quartz ranges from $50 to $200 per square foot, accounting for purchase and countertop installation. The durability of quartz countertops ensures they last for years without added costs. Quartz is also highly sought after, making it a prevalent material in house searches — you can relax knowing you’ve installed a valuable asset if you decide to sell your home in the future. 

Laminate 

Laminate is an excellent material that comes in many colors and styles at an affordable price, making it a popular countertop choice for homes and businesses:

  • Variety of colors and designs: Today’s laminate presents an array of colors, patterns and materials for remodeling projects. You can opt for laminate that resembles quartz and marble with modern or classic design elements. 
  • Budget-friendly: Purchasing laminate countertops means you’ll have extra room in your budget for other remodeling projects. Laminate countertops average between $40 and $80 per square foot, including materials and labor, making them the most budget-friendly countertop option. Installation is also relatively easy, making them a smart and cost-effective option for DIY projects. 
  • Stain-resistant: Laminate is nonporous, meaning dirt and moisture won’t penetrate its surface, and stains are less likely to occur. Its nonporous properties also mean laminate countertops don’t require annual seals and won’t absorb germs and other bacteria. However, you’ll want to be careful not to drop knives or place hot pans on the surface since laminate can easily sustain damage and scratch. 
  • Maintenance-free: Laminate is a family-friendly countertop since it doesn’t require extra care to stay looking great. Occasionally use a mild soap and some water on the surface for upkeep. Laminate countertops are excellent for those who are careful with sharp edges and hot materials, but they can show signs of wear and fading after a couple of years, so they’re best suited for low-frequency use at low moisture levels to avoid delamination. Though laminate has a shorter life span, it is a convenient, affordable option for businesses and homes.

Solid Surfaces

Solid surface countertops are manufactured with acrylic or polyester resins to mimic the appearance of natural stone. The materials are available in several patterns, colors and at affordable prices, which is why these counters are the preferred choice over natural stone for some homeowners:

  • Durability: Although granite and quartz countertops are slightly more durable, solid surfaces are still quite hard and impact resistant. If you use a cutting board and do happen to knick the surface, professionals can easily sand out and repair the damage. This quality is why solid surfaces are highly restorable materials. They’re less heat resistant than other countertop materials, though experts can even quickly repair cracking caused by severe heat. Just ensure you don’t leave hot pots or pans on the counter, and it’ll hold up well.
  • Nonporous: Solid surface countertop material uses nonporous acrylic to repel bacteria. The low porosity properties also mean solid surfaces are stain-resistant and won’t trap dirt or require sealing in even the messiest kitchens. You can rest assured your kitchen or bathroom counter will be safe from germ buildup and highly hygienic for your family when you opt for solid surfaces.
  • Low maintenance: Caring for these countertops is quick and easy, requiring only soap and water. You can also use non-abrasive household cleansers to keep the surface in top shape. You also won’t need to call for a professional sealing, making solid surface countertops a convenient option for many.
  • Seamless appearance: Nonporous acrylic bonds together with an adhesive that uses a tight seam. The acrylic and adhesive give solid surface countertops a seamless, attractive appearance in a bathroom or kitchen. You can even use this material for your sink or backsplash projects to create a unified look. 

Many styles of solid surface countertops imitate natural stone, so you can select one that matches your kitchen or bathroom at a more affordable price. These countertops provide a high-quality look with basic materials starting at $20 per square foot.

Choosing Bath Kitchen and Tile for Your Countertop Needs 

To renovate your kitchen or bathroom, you’ll need high-quality materials from a leading supplier you can trust. At Bath Kitchen and Tile, we carry kitchen cabinets, countertops, appliances and more. Browse our extensive countertop options, from granite to quartz, to start your renovation project.

Our granite countertops come in various colors and designs for your kitchen or bathroom. Forged from the Earth’s heat and pressure, each piece of granite is unique while offering varying finishes and flairs. From our trendy white options to bold black and green granite, you’ll surely find something for your remodel. Our neutral-colored Grey Soapstone presents a classic aesthetic for minimalist bathrooms or kitchens, while Peacock Green showcases an eclectic side with its gold flecks and deep green and blue hues.

Consider a marble countertop for an elegant bathroom or kitchen. We offer a selection of marble in both refined and striking styles and colors to match your home project. Choose from Glacier, with its classic swirls and bright markings, or Calacata Midnight Marble, which offers traces of gold and white billows to make your countertop stand out. 

Our wide variety of Corian quartz countertops offers memorable patterns and precise cuts for your space. Each color and design add a level of uniformity to transform your kitchen or bathroom. Choose from full slabs in white, graphite, gray and cream patterns for a classic design aesthetic. 

Our Wilsonart laminate countertops showcase this affordable material’s versatility, with eco-friendly wood options and patterns that mimic marble and other natural stone. Find high-quality, recyclable laminate for your home or business at Bath Kitchen and Tile. 

Contact Us to Learn More About Our Countertop Options

Now that you know the numerous benefits of different countertop materials, you’re likely anticipating starting your bathroom or kitchen renovation. When selecting the right material, always consider the many features of natural and synthetic countertops while keeping your style and budgetary preferences in mind.

At Bath Kitchen and Tile, we offer quick builds, free quotes and same-day designs to get your home renovation project started. Our friendly team has been serving homeowners, builders and contractors since 1963, and we strive to provide the level of quality you deserve at competitive prices. Our designs are backed by our fit guarantee, where we offer a complementary measurement check after your first appointment to ensure every detail. 

To begin your new kitchen or bathroom countertop project, contact us today! 

Visit Us Today

You can find high-quality cabinets from industry-leading manufacturers at Bath Kitchen and Tile Supply Company. With kitchen and bathroom showrooms conveniently located across Delaware and Maryland, we’re here when you need us. Contact us to learn more about our products today!