Best Countertops for Kitchens and Bathrooms

Choosing the best countertops for your kitchen and bathroom can be a daunting task. With so many options available, from natural stone and quartz to laminate and tile, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each material to make the right decision for your home and lifestyle.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the most popular countertop materials, considerations for kitchens versus bathrooms, cost comparisons, and maintenance requirements. We’ll also provide tips for choosing the right color, style, and edge profile to complement your space. Let’s dive in!

Comparison of Countertop Materials

When it comes to Best Countertops for Kitchens and Bathrooms, you’ll first want to familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the most common countertop materials. Here’s an overview:

Granite Countertops

Granite is one of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops. Made from natural stone, granite is highly heat and scratch resistant while offering a beautiful and unique appearance with its natural variations.


  • Extremely durable and can last a lifetime with proper care
  • Heat resistant
  • Scratch resistant
  • Available in many colors and patterns
  • Easy to clean
  • Adds value to home


  • Expensive, starting around $60 per square foot installed
  • Can stain or etch from acidic foods and liquids
  • Requires annual sealing
  • Some porous varieties may harbor bacteria
  • Can crack if not properly supported
  • Heavy weight may require cabinet reinforcement

Quartz Countertops

Quartz has surged in popularity in recent years as an alternative to granite and solid surface countertops. Engineered from natural stone and resins, quartz is durable, low-maintenance, and available in a wide array of colors and patterns.


  • Extremely durable
  • Resistant to scratches, stains, heat, and bacteria
  • Easy maintenance with no sealing required
  • Available in many colors and patterns
  • Non-porous
  • Optionally can be fabricated to appear like natural stone


  • More expensive than laminate but less than granite, starting around $60 per square foot installed
  • Can be damaged by excessive heat
  • Limited number of thick edge profile options
  • Seams more visible than granite

Marble Countertops

Marble is a classic and elegant natural stone with striking veining patterns. It creates an upscale look but requires more maintenance than granite or quartz.


  • Exquisite appearance with unique patterning
  • Softer look and feel than granite
  • Available in many colors like white, gray, black
  • Heat resistant


  • Expensive, starting around $70 per square foot installed
  • Etches easily from acidic foods and liquids
  • Stains easily and needs frequent sealing
  • Easily scratched and chipped without proper care
  • Seams more visible than granite

Soapstone Countertops

Soapstone is a metamorphic rock with a smooth, soft feel. Its natural gentle gray and blue hues give it an organic look.


  • Smooth to the touch
  • Doesn’t stain or etch
  • Resistant to heat, acids, scratching
  • Can be repaired and resealed easily
  • Neutral colors complement most decors


  • Expensive, starting around $80 per square foot installed
  • Needs periodic mineral oil sealing
  • Prone to scratches and abrasion
  • Limited color range, mostly grays and blues
  • Not very hard or durable over time

Engineered Quartzite Countertops

Engineered quartzite offers the look of natural quartzite but with increased durability. Quartz particles are combined with resins to create an amalgamation that resembles stone.


  • Mimics the look of natural quartzite stone
  • More durable and lower maintenance than natural quartzite
  • Resistant to scratches, stains, heat, and bacteria
  • Greater consistency in coloring and patterning


  • Very expensive, starting around $125 per square foot installed
  • Limited color and edge profile options compared to quartz
  • Still prone to damage from excessive heat or impact

Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops provide an affordable option starting around $20-30 per linear foot. Laminate features plastic bonded to wood substrate within a wide array of colors and patterns.


  • Most affordable countertop option
  • Easy installation for DIYers
  • Wide range of colors and patterns
  • Materials are renewable and recyclable


  • Prone to chipping, scratching, bubbling
  • Not very durable
  • Seams are more visible
  • Can be susceptible to water damage and staining
  • Low resale value

Tile Countertops

Tile countertops allow you to customize your space with endless shape, color, and pattern options. Ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tiles are adhered to the substrate and grouted.


  • Highly customizable using different tiles
  • Durable and easily replaced if damaged
  • Porcelain and ceramic tiles are affordable starting around $5 per square foot
  • Provides heat resistance
  • Easy to clean


  • Grout lines can discolor and require regular sealing
  • Not seamless appearance
  • Ceramic tiles prone to chipping
  • Takes longer to install properly
  • Naturally porous materials like marble tile stain easily

Concrete Countertops

Concrete offers a trendy, sleek, modern look. Concrete is poured and molded on-site using molds allowing for custom edges and inlays.


  • Highly durable and heat resistant
  • Stain resistant
  • Can be cast in wide range of colors
  • Allows for custom shapes and textures
  • Matte look complements modern kitchens


  • Heavy weight may require cabinet reinforcement
  • Prone to cracking if improperly cast or supported
  • Expensive, starting around $100 per square foot installed
  • Takes skill to get perfectly smooth finish
  • Requires periodic resealing

Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface countertops like Corian are made from a blend of acrylic resins and minerals. While not as durable as stone, solid surface requires less maintenance.


  • Seamless appearance for custom look
  • Available in wide range of colors
  • Repairable if damaged
  • Resists stains with proper cleaning
  • Doesn’t require regular sealing


  • Prone to scratches, scorches, and dents
  • Avoid hot pans directly on surface
  • Expensive, starting around $80 per square foot installed
  • Limited thick edge profile options

Countertop Considerations for Kitchens vs. Bathrooms

While many of the same materials can work well in both kitchens and bathrooms, there are a few considerations unique to each space.

Countertops for Kitchens

For kitchen countertops, prioritize durability, heat resistance, stain resistance, and ease of maintenance. Popular options include:

  • Granite
  • Quartz
  • Marble (with caution about etching and staining)
  • Soapstone
  • Engineered quartzite
  • Ceramic or porcelain tile

Avoid softer or high-maintenance materials like wood, unsealed concrete, or laminate which won’t hold up as well.

Consider surfaces like granite, soapstone, concrete, or tile for rolling out doughs or pastry. Quartz and solid surface can lack the smoothness needed for these tasks.

For avid home chefs and bakers, having some surface area with a resistant heat surface like granite, soapstone or concrete can allow placing hot pans directly on the surface without worry.

Countertops for Bathrooms

Bathroom vanity tops don’t require as much durability for cutting, heat resistance, or heavy usage. More options like wood, laminate or semi-precious stones like onyx can provide beauty and style when properly sealed and cared for.

Moisture resistance is paramount near sinks or areas of water exposure. Avoid porous stones like marble, concrete, or natural quartzite which can stain. Instead opt for non-porous options like:

  • Quartz
  • Granite
  • Solid surface
  • Tile
  • Laminate

Vessel sinks have unique considerations given their bowl shape sits above the counter. Opt for water-resistant materials in locations prone to overflow.

Delicate materials like marble, wood, or semi-precious natural stone work best when used sparingly on bathroom vanity countertops or islands out of harm’s way.

Cost Comparisons

One of the biggest factors influencing countertop decisions comes down to cost. Here’s a look at price ranges starting from low to high:

  • Laminate: $20-30 per linear foot
  • Ceramic or porcelain tile: $5-15 per square foot
  • Granite: $60-150 per square foot
  • Quartz: $60-120 per square foot
  • Marble: $70-250 per square foot
  • Soapstone: $80-100 per square foot
  • Concrete: $100-150 per square foot
  • Engineered quartzite: $125-175 per square foot
  • Solid surface: $80-100 per square foot

Keep in mind pricing depends on factors like edge profiles, design complexity, thickness, and regional labor rates.

Pricier options like granite, marble, and quartz will add more value to home resale than inexpensive laminate or tile. Balance your budget with the look, functionality, and durability you want to achieve.

Maintenance Requirements

Maintenance requirements vary widely depending on the type of countertop material:

High Maintenance

  • Marble – Requires frequent sealing and gentle cleaning to avoid etching/staining
  • Soapstone – Needs regular mineral oil applications to enrich color
  • Concrete – Needs periodic sealing to prevent stains
  • Natural stone tile – Needs sealing of grout lines
  • Wood – Requires sealing to repel stains and water damage

Medium Maintenance

  • Granite – Annual sealing recommended to prevent staining
  • Quartz – Simple cleaning with stone cleaner and no sealing needed
  • Laminate – Avoid abrasive cleaners that can dull surface

Low Maintenance

  • Porcelain or ceramic tile – Clean with water and mild detergent
  • Solid surface – Simple cleaning and no sealing required
  • Engineered quartzite – Resistant to stains and etching with simple cleaning

Consider your habits and willingness to keep up with regular sealing or conditioning when deciding on natural stone materials like marble. For busy households, durable quartz or porcelain will retain their beauty with minimal upkeep.

How to Select Edge Profiles, Styles, and Colors

Beyond the functional considerations, selecting countertop materials and styles that align with your overall kitchen or bath design aesthetics is key to pulling the space together.

Countertop Edge Profiles

Countertop edges come in a variety shapes including:


  • Square – 90 degree angle
  • Bevel – Angled edge for softer feel
  • Eased – Subtle rounded edge


  • Bullnose – Rounded, overhanging edge
  • Dupont – Shaped like the letter C with rounded top
  • Ogee – S-shaped curved profile

Creatively Shaped

  • Ribbon – Flowing irregular serpentine edge
  • Double waterfall – Sides cascade over the cabinetry
  • Inset tiles or inlays – Decorative materials recessed into the surface edge

Budget often determines edge options, as built-up and custom edges cost more in materials and fabrication. Softer profiles like bevels or eased edges minimize impact if bumped into.

Overhanging bullnose or dupont edges work well for granite or quartz islands while built-up edges can increase chances of chipping on surfaces like concrete.

Coordinate your edge choice with the cabinetry style. Modern, sleek cabinets pair well with square, minimal edges. Traditional cabinets can match better with built-up ogee, bullnose or dupont edges.

Vessel sinks pair best with little to no edge build up allowing the dramatic bowl shape to take center stage. Undermount sinks provide more flexibility.

Countertop Styles

Beyond the edge, selecting additional design elements can customize the overall look:

Patterned Materials

Granite, marble, quartz, and tile offer natural patterns and variation. Browse slabs at distributors to visualize how patterns will appear across contiguous surfaces.


Tiles, glass, metals, stone shapes, or colored concrete inlaid into the surface add artistic flair. This works well with concrete counters or islands.

Specialty Shapes

Curved and shaped countertops make a statement. Quartz can be bent to a degree allowing for softer curves. Tile and concrete can be molded into any shape.


A thicker front edge with a thinner backsplash area visually separates the countertop into two zones. Ideal for add prep space without requiring a deeper overall counter depth.

Contrasting Islands

Using a different material or color on the island from the main countertop defines it as a distinct, focal feature.

Drainboards and Trivets

Built-in drainboards and trivets allow function and style providing a place to rest hot pans away from the main surface area. Choose heat-resistant materials like tile.

Countertop Colors

Countertop materials come in a wide spectrum of colors and patterns. Be sure to consider:

  • Cabinets – Contrast or coordinate with cabinet finishes and hardware. Light countertops like white marble pair well with dark cabinetry for balance. Neutral countertops like gray soapstone blend seamlessly into white cabinetry.
  • Flooring – Try to coordinate the undertones in the countertop with the flooring color so they complement each other.
  • Lighting – Countertops with more movement and pattern reflect light well. Solid, darker colors like black quartz can fall flat under cool LED lighting.
  • Appliances and plumbing fixtures – Visualize how the countertop color plays off fixtures like the faucet and range hood. Stick to matching metals throughout for a cohesive look.

While color coordinating between surfaces is recommended, don’t be afraid to use the countertop as a striking contrasting element. Bold emerald green tile paired with light cabinetry makes a daring style statement.

Best Countertops for Kitchens and Bathrooms – Final Thoughts

When selecting the best countertops for kitchens and bathrooms, take time to analyze both the practical performance needs and design aesthetic you envision. While more durable surfaces like granite, engineered quartzite, and porcelain tile may come at a higher upfront cost, they pay off in longevity and worry-free maintenance.

Factor in the everyday use the space will see along with your own habits and routines. Busy family kitchens and baths require durable, kid-friendly options. Frequent entertainers may want to splurge on heat resistant surfaces and eye-catching statement styles.

Don’t forget about your overall design vision for the space. The colors, patterns, shapes, and textures chosen for countertops, cabinetry, flooring, lighting and metal finishes should work together to create a cohesive look.

With some careful consideration of all the factors, you can feel confident investing in the perfect countertop that both suits your needs and enhances the space for many years to come. Enjoy bringing your dream kitchen or bath to life with the ideal countertop!