Getting to Know the Best Counter Materials

You’d be surprised to learn how important a kitchen is to people looking to buy a new home. At times, it’s the most important thing. A good first step towards a perfect kitchen is a new counter.

As long as there have been dedicated kitchen areas, there have been counters. And as long as there have been counters, there have been home decor trends —- which were not always great for counters.

When remodeling your kitchen, or replacing your counters, you’d probably rather not do this again next year. Picking the right material in your budget — that isn’t ugly — can be more complicated than it seems. Here are some of the most popular choices for you to consider.

Butcher block

It’s the original countertop, and it’s rather durable. But it requires extra maintenance and some effort to install. The quality of the wood is also an issue, and the good stuff can be just as expensive as granite. Plus, it doesn’t take heat well.

If you’re up to protecting them from hot pans and crockpots, and also resealing them, you can have the kitchen of your French Country Rustic Shabby Chic dreams.


Tile comes in many forms and materials. They are a bit labor-intensive to install, but can be beautiful and more heat-resistant. The problem is cleaning though — the grooves are tricky. Plus they are more prone to breaking and cracking.

Tile is more popular for backsplashes. The key is knowing what it’s made of and being ready to spend some money for the good stuff, or using that as an accent.


It’s plastic. It’s durable, easy to clean, but dated. You can paint plastic, but it takes a lot of work. However, once installed, it is functional and, if it’s not baby puke green, it’s not the worst.

With plastic though, heat is an issue. For the price, it’s not that bad of an option, and there are some good-looking faux styles.


It’s trendy but increasingly popular — but not cheap. The materials aren’t cheap, but with DIY labor it can be done. And given regular resealing, it’s durable and sturdy. It also looks pretty and close to higher-end materials.

If you’re patient and kind of funky, concrete counters could work in your kitchen.


Metal is very industrial, durable, the Duggars — the ones with all the kids — have it in one of their kitchen, so it can put up with a lot. Thought it acts funny with certain chemicals, for the price, though, it’s reasonable maintenance.

Installation is easy, most of the time. Metal counters typically premade, with backsplash. So if your kitchen is  irregularly shaped, this can be a problem.


It sounds expensive, but it’s not. Engineered stone doesn’t have to be sealed or babied. There are mostly no drawbacks, and it’s 90 percent quartz. Price wise, it is mid-range. And a multitude of colors can be engineered.

If you want a fancy but don’t have a fancy budget, engineered stone is for you. Also consider soapstone, which is its softer cousin.


Marble looks good, but…it has pros and cons. They are a lot of work and have limited resistance. If you have lots of money and time to kill, or have a kitchen in an ancient temple, go for it.


What is quartz? Only Christina El Moussa’s favorite thing in the world, recycled, crushed, and mixed with concrete. But it looks good. Almost like marble but less, marble-y. This makes it less pricey. Since it’s new, though, colors can be limited.

And there’s also the new Caesarstone category, which is more made up and has slightly limited colors.

If you’re trend-driven but practical and want to splurge a little, quartz is for you.


You can install it yourself, and it’s heat-resistant, but cleaning is needed. Glass counters are made for adult homes with money to spare. It has to be custom-made and thick. It can also look dated easily. It’s good if you love mirrors, though.


Granite is still one of the most popular counter materials. It does require regular cleaning and resealing every year, but it’s more affordable than ever, thanks to quartz. It is never DIY though, so budget for labor.

Are you near Brimfield, MA? Infinite Granite is your local granite distributor.

Choose the best counter material that you can afford. You might find that the renovation thing is so inspiring that you want to do even more in the kitchen. Investing in your house is never a bad idea. Consider taking out a second mortgage to get more cash to make more improvements. Contact local institutions about their mortgage services.

You might just keep going from there. Renovate room by room, and you could just find yourself owning one of those homes of distinction. Then, sit back and enjoy your place.