10 Types of Countertops for Your Kitchen

Kitchen countertops are one of the most important elements of any kitchen design. They need to be durable, easy to clean, and stylish. With so many options available, it can be tricky to choose the right countertop material for your needs and budget. Here is an overview of 10 popular types of countertops to consider for your kitchen.

Granite Countertops

Granite is one of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops due to its natural beauty, durability, and status as a luxury material. Granite is an igneous rock formed from cooled magma, made up of quartz, feldspar, and other minerals. The mineral composition results in a very hard, non-porous surface that stands up well to heavy daily use.


  • Extremely durable and scratch-resistant
  • Heat resistant up to temperatures of 350°F
  • Stain-resistant and easy to sanitize
  • Available in a wide variety of natural colors and patterns
  • Adds value to your home


  • Expensive (starting around $60 per square foot, installed)
  • Can chip if subject to impact
  • Needs yearly sealing to prevent staining
  • Some very dark granites can show scratches

Granite remains classically beautiful over time. With proper care, a granite countertop can last for decades. It’s ideal for kitchens that get a lot of use and want a material that endures. The natural patterning makes each granite countertop unique.

Quartz Countertops

If you love the look of granite but want a lower maintenance and more budget-friendly option, quartz countertops are a great choice. Quartz countertops are engineered stone slabs made from around 90% ground quartz combined with polymer resins and pigments.


  • Durable, scratch-resistant surface
  • Stain and heat resistant
  • Available in wide range of colors including realistic granite, marble, and stone looks
  • Non-porous so does not need yearly sealing
  • Resists bacterial growth
  • Seamless appearance


  • Higher cost than laminate ($50-$100 per square foot installed)
  • Avoid direct heat from pots and pans
  • Can chip if subjected to impact

Quartz is an excellent option for busy kitchens prone to spills and stains. With routine cleaning, quartz countertops stay looking like new for many years. Quartz also comes in a huge array of colors and patterns to suit any kitchen style.

Marble Countertops

For a luxurious, timeless look, marble countertops are a fantastic choice. Prized by sculptors and artists for centuries, marble is a metamorphic rock formed from limestone under heat and pressure. This results in a soft stone with elegant veining patterns.


  • Classic, elegant aesthetic
  • Available in range of colors like white, gray, black
  • Naturally cool surface stays cool to the touch
  • Can be honed or polished to different finishes


  • Expensive, starting around $75 per square foot installed
  • Porous and easily stained
  • Can etch from acid (lemon juice, wine, etc)
  • Needs frequent sealing and re-polishing

Marble makes a bold design statement but requires some maintenance to keep it looking pristine. Marble works best in kitchens that are more lightly used and don’t have young children prone to making messes. Proper sealing and avoiding placing hot pans directly on marble can help maintain its beauty.

Soapstone Countertops

For a truly unique look in the kitchen, soapstone provides an earthy elegance. Soapstone is a metamorphic rock primarily made up of talc with varying amounts of other minerals like micas, chlorite, amphiboles, and more.


  • Has a smooth, velvety feel
  • Stain-resistant
  • Heat-resistant up to very high temperatures
  • Develops a patina and darkens naturally over time
  • Neutral color complements many kitchen styles


  • On the expensive side, $70-$100 per square foot installed
  • Can scratch and nick fairly easily
  • Needs routine oiling to keep water spots away
  • Limited color range (dark gray to black)

Soapstone is perfect for kitchens that need to withstand baking, cooking, and entertaining. The natural patina that develops is attractive in its own right. Soapstone provides a nice alternative to more common granite or marble.

Stainless Steel Countertops

Stainless steel countertops impart a contemporary, industrial chic look. Stainless steel is a metal alloy containing chromium and iron. Stainless steel countertops are made from sheets of stainless steel formed into a countertop work surface.


  • Highly heat, stain, scratch resistant
  • Easy to sterilize and sanitize
  • Does not require sealing
  • Durable and impossible to chip
  • Sleek, modern aesthetic


  • Prone to showing water spots, fingerprints
  • Can dent from impact over time
  • Noisy when items are placed on it
  • Not as warm or inviting for some people

Stainless steel is perfect for professional chef kitchens as well as contemporary homes. The reflective surface adds a design element on its own. Keeping the surface clean and dry helps reduce marks. This is an especially great option for messy cooks!

Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops provide an affordable, fuss-free option for any kitchen. These countertops have a laminate surface made from sheets of resin, plastic, and sometimes real wood fiber fused together under heat and pressure.


  • Budget-friendly option starting around $20 per square foot installed
  • Wide range of colors and patterns available
  • Fairly easy for DIY installation
  • Scratch and scorch resistant
  • No need to seal


  • Not as durable as stone or metal
  • Seams may be visible
  • Can be prone to bubbling over time

Laminate is perfect for rental units, first homes, or spaces that will get changed up frequently. Go with a commercial grade laminate for best durability. Use cutting boards and trivets to protect the surface. Laminate holds up well to daily use but does have limits.

Butcher Block Countertops

Butcher block offers the warmth and beauty of real wood for a fraction of the price of solid wood slabs. Butcher block countertops are made from strips of hardwood glued together in a checkerboard pattern. Popular wood choices include oak, maple, cherry, and walnut.


  • Warm, natural aesthetic
  • Budget-friendly starting around $50 per square foot
  • Easy for DIY installation
  • Naturally antibacterial
  • Can be sanded and resealed


  • Easily scratched and stained if not properly sealed
  • Needs frequent oiling to prevent drying out
  • Not heat or moisture resistant

Butcher block is ideal for kitchen islands and lower traffic areas. It provides a great surface for meal prep. With routine care, it develops a patina that results in a unique, aged look over time. Butcher block provides the beauty of wood at an accessible price point.

Concrete Countertops

Concrete counters provide an edgy, ultra-modern look. Concrete counters can be cast in place or pre-cast and installed. The concrete is poured into a mold and colored and finished as desired.


  • Highly durable and heat resistant
  • Stain-resistant sealed finish
  • Lower cost than stone, around $70-$150 per square foot
  • Can be customized with special aggregates and finishes


  • Needs careful initial sealing and ongoing maintenance
  • Cracks and chips more easily than stone
  • Can be prone to scratches over time

Concrete is great for urban lofts and modern spaces. The counters can be uniquely molded, etched, or stained to suit your style. They provide an artsy, bold option compared to more expected materials.

Tile Countertops

Ceramic or porcelain tile can also be used to create a countertop surface. Tiles are adhered to the under-counter base. Grouting is used to seal the seams between tiles.


  • Durable, heat and scratch resistant
  • Water resistant and easy to sanitize
  • Many style options including stone, glass, mosaic tiles
  • Often a DIY friendly option
  • Typically costs $40-$70 per square foot installed


  • Grout requires sealing to prevent staining
  • Not seamless appearance
  • Tile can crack or chip if subjected to impact

Tile works best for backsplashes and low-use spaces. The grout takes more maintenance than other options. Using large format tiles minimizes grout lines. Tile allows you to create a truly custom look not possible with other materials.

Reclaimed Wood Countertops

Bring a touch of rustic charm to your kitchen with reclaimed wood countertops. These counters utilize old barn wood, fencing, flooring, and other salvaged lumber. The wood is cleaned, planed, and sanded to create the countertop.


  • Unique, one of a kind look
  • Eco-friendly use of recycled materials
  • Natural warmth and texture of real wood
  • Relatively affordable, around $80-$150 per square foot


  • Requires significant sealing and maintenance
  • Easily scratched or stained
  • Color and texture variations
  • Won’t have a uniform appearance

Reclaimed wood adds loads of character to a country cottage or farmhouse style kitchen. The wood develops an antique worn look over time. Reclaimed wood counters should be limited to accent spaces like islands that won’t have heavy daily use.

Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface is made from acrylic or polyester resins and alumina trihydrate filler. Popular brands include Corian, Avonite, and Swanstone. Solid surface counters are fabricated to create seamless installations.


  • Seamless, non-porous surface
  • Integral sink option for completely waterproof surface
  • Matte or lightly textured finish helps hide scratches
  • Heat and stain resistant
  • Mid-range cost of $55-$100 per square foot


  • Can scorch if very hot pans placed directly on surface
  • Not as scratch resistant as quartz or granite
  • Limited colors and patterns available

Solid surface performs well in kitchens needing a durable yet stylish fuss-free option. It’s easier to repair than stone if damaged. The seamless look provides a sleek, modern aesthetic.

10 Types of Countertops for Your Kitchen

When selecting your new kitchen countertop, consider how you use your kitchen, your overall design style, and your budget. Discuss the pros and cons of each material with a kitchen designer. Some additional tips when choosing kitchen countertops:

  • Look larger samples of countertops you are considering to get a feel for the material and true color. Photos online can be deceiving.
  • Consider your cabinetry color and style as well. You want your counters to complement your cabinets.
  • Darker colors like black, very dark browns or blues will show dust, crumbs and water marks more noticeably. Keep that in mind if tidy counters are important to you.
  • If going for a higher-end look on a budget, choose a nicer material like quartz or marble for the main cooking area surfaces, then use something like butcher block or laminate on the perimeter and island.
  • Count on spending 10-15% of your total kitchen remodel budget on countertops for a mid-range kitchen. High-end kitchens may spend closer to 20%.
  • Make sure you are working with a qualified countertop fabricator that does professional measurement and templating. Do not rely on contractor dimensions alone.
  • Inspect your countertops carefully before final installation for any flaws or mismatches with what you ordered.
  • Consider rounded corners and edges for a softer, contemporary look. Eased edges also hide chips better.

Your countertops see a ton of action so make sure you absolutely love the look you choose! Carefully weigh the pros and cons and factor in your unique needs. With some smart planning, you can have beautiful, functional countertops that withstand the test of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most popular kitchen countertop materials?

The most popular kitchen countertop materials are granite, quartz, laminate, butcher block, and marble. Granite and quartz provide high-end luxury looks. Laminate and butcher block are often used for budget-friendly options.

What countertop material is the most durable?

Granite, quartz, and stainless steel are the most durable options. They resist scratches, heat damage, and stains better than softer materials like marble or wood.

What are the least expensive countertop options?

Laminate, tile, and butcher block are the most affordable kitchen countertop choices, starting around $20-$50 per square foot installed. They provide an inexpensive facelift option.

What countertops work best for baking and cooking?

Granite, quartz, soapstone, stainless steel, and tile hold up best to frequent baking and cooking. They are more heat resistant and non-porous than alternatives like wood or marble.

How thick should kitchen countertops be?

A standard thickness for granite, quartz, marble, and solid surface countertops is 3 cm or 1 1/4″. Laminate is typically 1/2″ thick with a particleboard substrate. Tile ranges from 1/4″-3/8″ over a sturdy underlayment.

How much do new kitchen countertops cost?

The average cost for new kitchen countertops ranges from $40-$100 per square foot installed depending on the material and quality. More luxurious materials like granite, quartz, and marble fall on the higher end.

Should I DIY or hire a pro to install kitchen countertops?

For beginners, installation of tile or butcher block counters may be DIY-friendly. However, for most countertop materials, hiring a professional fabricator and installer is highly recommended to get proper measurements and a quality end result.

How are laminate countertops installed?

Laminate countertops use a plywood or particle board substrate that is adhered to the cabinet base. The laminate sheet is glued over the substrate using contact cement or other adhesives. Trim pieces finish the edges.

What thickness is best for quartz countertops?

The standard thickness for quartz kitchen countertops is 3 cm or 1 1/4″. Some manufacturers offer quartz in 2 cm for vertical applications like backsplashes to reduce costs. For heavy usage main counter areas, 3 cm provides the best durability.


The options for kitchen countertops offer something for all tastes, budgets, and lifestyles. Consider your needs and style preferences carefully when selecting a material. granite, quartz, marble, and laminate remain some of the most popular choices. Stainless steel, concrete, and reclaimed wood provide modern alternatives. With proper care, your new counters can provide lasting function and beauty for years of meal prep and entertaining to come.