How to Choose a Kitchen Countertop

So today we are going to be talking about how to choose a  kitchen countertop.  This topic seriously gave me hives while we were doing our kitchen remodel.  There are just so many options available and just tiny little samples to help you make your decision.  Ugh.  I spent hours upon hours researching different coutertop materials and ended up bringing countless samples home to “test out”.   It was, by far, the hardest decision I made when it came to choosing what I wanted in the kitchen.
Great tips on how to choose a kitchen counter.
So… I thought that I would share some of what I learned with you and hopefully it will make choosing your kitchen counter a little easier! :)  Keep in mind that I am not an expert.  The price estimates are just a rough guideline to give you an idea what you are looking at – obviously the cost can vary greatly depending on the quality, how much time you are willing to spend budget hunting, the amount of customization required and your location.

Kitchen Counter Materials


  • very budget-friendly
  • low maintenance and easy to clean
  • comes in a variety of colors, patterns and textures
  • highly stain resistent
  • heat and sharp knifes can damage it and this cannot be repaired
  • consider not using the laminate backspash and using tiling instead for a more modern look
  • approximate cost – $20-$60 per square foot

How to pick the right kitchen counter for you.{source: Centsational Girl}


  • stands up well to heat, knife marks, splashes, and other daily wear and tear
  • since no two stones are equal, there may be a variance in appearance either within the slab itself or between the sample slab and your finished product
  • comes in a natural variety of colors, textures, and finishes
  • overall, very resistent to cracks and chips; however, the edges have been known to chip if something heavy is dropped against it
  • requires resealing about once every 6-12 months
  • approximate cost – $45-$100 per square foot

How to choose a kitchen counter.{source: Better Homes and Gardens}

How to choose a kitchen counter.
{Honed granite countertop from Better Homes and Gardens}


  • elegant and timeless
  • stands up well to heat
  • very susceptible to stains even with sealing
  • can chip and scratch easier than other materials
  • approximate cost – $50-$125 per square foot

How to choose a kitchen counter.{source: Fiorella Design}

Quartz {Engineered Stone}

  • made from a combination of crushed quartz and resin that replicates the look of stone
  • comes in a wider variety of patterns and colors than natural stones
  • environmentally friendly and naturally antibacterial due to its non-porous nature
  • seams are less visibile
  • the most resistant material to damage and stains
  • virtually no maintenance requires
  • approximate cost – $40-$90 per square foot

How to choose a kitchen counter.Quartz counter from This Old House.

Great tips on how to choose a kitchen counter.
Quartz countertops via Apartment Therapy.

Solid Surfacing {Corian}

  • made from acrylic and polyester resins, powdered fillers and pigments
  • nonporous requiring no sealing or special cleaning like the natural stone materials
  • resistent to stains, mildew, and bacteria
  • more susceptible to scratches and burns, however, these are typically easy to sand out {as it has a consistent color all the way through}
  • coutertops available in a wide variety of colors
  • dark colors will show more fingerprints
  • seamless installation with no cracks to trap any dirt or debris
  • approximate cost – $35-100 per square foot

Great tips on how to choose a kitchen counter{Corian Countertops from Kitchen}

Butcher Block

  • classic appearance with a warm, natural feel
  • low maintenance – just periodic oiling is recommended
  • cleans with soap and water
  • can be easily scratched but areas of damage can be quite easy to repair
  • wood will swell and contract with moisture
  • harbors bacteria so needs to be disinfected frequently
  • works well with other countertop materials and is often used on kitchen islands
  • approximate cost – $35-70 per square foot

Great tips on choosing a kitchen counter.{Butcher Blocks Counters from Smitten Studio}


  • industrial chic look
  • can have color added to them
  • stands up well to heavy use although not as heat resistant as other surfaces
  • will stain without frequent sealing
  • small cracks may develop over time
  • is very heavy so strong supports are required
  • even with sealing, moisture or oil can make the countertop look “wet”
  • approximate cost – $65-$125 per square foot depending on the amount of customization required

Great tips on how to choose a kitchen counter.{Concrete Counter via Houzz}

Love the look of concrete countertops but not the price?  You can also try this faux concrete look that can be applied directly over a laminate countertop.

Great tips on choosing a kitchen countertop.
{Faux Concrete Counters from Design Dining and Diapers}

The Details

Once you have chosen your counter material, you will still need to decide on the color, finish, etc.  Here are a few things to keep in mind…

  • In general, darker countertop colors {and especially black} will show crumbs, dust, fingerprints, streaks, etc. more easily.  Matte {honed} finishes will also show marks more easily than the polished finishes.
  • To hide marks, look for lighter, more polished counters with greater variations in patterns.
  • Make sure your that your countertop choice compliments the other materials that you have chosen for your kitchen.  Bring samples home so that you can see the countertop in the natural lighting of your home.  Place them against paint and tile samples to ensure that you like the look of them together.
  • Can’t decide on one material?  Mix and match to get the look you want!

How to choose a kitchen countertop{Source: Better Homes and Gardens}

So what did we go with?  After almost a month of decision making, we finally decided on a quartz countertop, mainly due to its durability and the no maintenance required.  There was, however, a “little” mix-up with our counter order, and instead of receiving the Storm Grey Quartz from Dupont that we had ordered, we ended up with the Stone Grey quartz from Caesarstone {although it actually looks quite a bit different in the photo than it does in real life}.  I must say that I almost had a heart attack when I realized that, but, in the end we were actually quite happy with the Stone Grey and saved quite a substantial amount of money between the two products.  Everything always happens for a reason, right? :)

Great tips on choosing a kitchen countertop!
{Kitchen Reveal from Clean and Scentsible}

If you are looking for more kitchen inspiration, check out these posts….

Beuatiful white kitchen inspiration!
White Kitchen Reveal

Great collection of beautiful kitchen design ideas.
Kitchen Design Ideas 

The complete guide to cleaning and organizing the kitchen.
How to Clean and Organize the Kitchen



    • says

      Yes, stainless steel is definitely an option. I just didn’t do any research on it when we were doing our kitchen as I knew that was not something that I wanted. I do love it though when it is combined with another countertop material. Hope yours turns out fabulous!

  1. Janel says

    Thanks for the tips. We’re just starting to look and it is overwhelming. We actually really like the counter you have. Beautiful!

  2. Becky says

    Did prices vary a lot at different stores? I don’t even know where to begin looking. How much per square foot did yours cost? I really like it!

    • says

      Like everything else, the prices really can vary a lot at different stores. If you are using a contractor, they will often be able to help get you deals compared to some of the big box store pricing. Even pricing between brands of the same material can vary greatly so it definitely pays to shop around! I gave rough pricing to give people an idea, but again, this will likely vary from region to region. After having the quartz countertop though I would highly recommend it. :)

  3. says

    We will be redoing our counters in the next year. Thanks for doing the research for me. Now all I have to decide on is the color. :) Thanks for sharing with the #homemattersparty. We’re glad to have you!

  4. Adrienne says

    Great to know! We’re not in a position to remodel yet, but I am always drooling over the pictures of butcher block counters and wondered if there were any major drawbacks. I think I can handle sanitizing though, I’m kind of a freak about that anyway. Thanks so much!

    • says

      Yes, those butcher block counters look lovely. I especially love for an island. Have fun dreaming about your remodel. I think the planning is half the fun anyways!

  5. says

    I have a polite correction to the granite sealing. One shoulf NOT just sral every 6-12 months. Natural stone sealers penetrate into the stone. If they sit and dry on the surface they can interact with virtually anything, including water.

    To test to see if your natural stone requires sealing put a small amount of water on the stone leaving it there for 5 minutes. If the area where the water was turned darker when you wipe the water away the stone is absorbing. Then you should seal.

    Also, sealing does not prevent acid-etching, only stains. The way to prevent acid-etching is to coat marble, travertine, onyx, limestone with TuffSkin.

  6. says

    Thank you so much for this! We are planning a kitchen remodel and this was very timely for me because I didn’t know what the comparisons are between different countertops. I had wanted butcher block, but I was concerned about bacteria build-up. I started considering quartz instead. Reading this I immediately decided against butcher block (probably use it on my island since that won’t be used for food prep) and now I am leaning even more towards quartz.

    • says

      I love the look of butcher block and think that it would be perfect for an island. I absolutely love our quartz counters – I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed!

  7. says

    we decided to get granite countertops-black with highlights. My kitchen walls are a shade of brick and the cabinets are oak. Do you feel this will create to dark a room. I don’t have a lot of natural light in the room.

    • says

      It does sound like it might be a little dark but I guess it depends on what your preference is and it’s hard to tell without a picture. Is it closed off or do you have an open floor plan? Are there any walls that you could lighten up? I have seen oak cabinets with dark counters before that have worked well so I would go with your instinct!

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