Kitchen Counter Top Comparison

Can't decide which kitchen counter top surface is the best? Well, that's not surprising given the numerous options including granite, marble, quartz, solid surface, soapstone, stainless steel, ceramic, wood and laminate, so it's tough...

Many Myths and marketing messages swirl around the internet often stretching or slanting the truth.

The result is conflicting or confusing information about the pros and cons of the various surfaces for kitchen countertops.

This is especially true when comparing Silestone vs. granite or Corian vs. granite countertops.

But don't worry... you're in luck.

You'll find below helpful information and links on the various kitchen counter top materials followed by unbiased, real world comparisons that will illuminate the benefits and drawbacks and dispel the myths to help you decide which of the many kitchen countertop surfaces is perfect for your project.

Kitchen Countertop Choices

Granite Countertops

granite picture

Granite is the traditional favorite kitchen counter top material for its unique colors and patterns, proven durability and lasting value.

Granite counter tops are of course natural stone that is heat, scratch and stain resistant and nearly impossible to damage if you follow some simple procedures for granite care & cleaning. 

Granite is a good choice for any project inside or outside including walls and floors.

Marble, Travertine and Limestone

These are gorgeous stones prized for their elegant beauty. Hundreds of different color and pattern combinations are available.

white Carrara marble sample picture

Marble counter tops are softer than granite, which makes it more susceptible to scratches. However, contrary to what you may have read, most marble is not very porous and does not stain easy (though being a natural product there is variation).

In fact, polished marble is nearly stain-proof and rarely needs sealing. Marble does etch easily though and most people mistake etching for staining, which is incorrect.

Etching is a reaction from acidic foods and drinks like sauces, fruit, coffee and soda.

Etch marks also occur from using too harsh household cleaning products and chemicals that leave a clear, but noticeable dull mark on a polished surface.

You can better hide this problem with a matte or honed surface, but only avoiding contact with damaging substances will stop etching.

Sealing has nothing to do with it and won't prevent etching, which is why marble is not a good choice for a kitchen countertop.

travertine picture

Travertine has qualities and characteristics similar to marble. Likewise, travertine is not recommended for use as a kitchen countertop. Limestone falls into the same category with marble and travertine. It is softer, so will scratch although it is generally fairly dense and stain-resistant, however limestone also etches.

limestone picture

Limestone, Travertine and Marble again are not the best choices for a kitchen counter top, but... these stones are perfect and elegant for countertops that are not heavily used such as second or powder bathrooms, table tops, showers and floors for their excellent footing with a honed finish.

See these marble alternative materials for your kitchen countertops

Quartz Countertops

quartz counter top picture

Engineered stone, or quartz countertops are an excellent product manufactured from 93% quartz (also a component of granite countertops) and a binding resin.

Note that quartzite countertops are different. Not that same as "quartz". 

Quartz countertops are very similar to granite and both will make excellent countertops.  but marketing efforts confuse and distort the pros & cons of each.

For a complete head to head comparison go to Silestone vs. Granite.

Several companies (Silestone, Cambria, Zodiaq, Caesarstone) offer basically the same product (material composition) with different colors and patterns that in total are somewhat limited compared to granite and marble. However, the major quartz manufacturers have upgraded their color palette in recent years with many beautiful choices. 

Solid Surface

corian color picture

Corian is the most popular brand name for this type of countertop surface. Blending acrylic polymers with stone-derived materials makes for a durable kitchen countertop surface.

It's basically rocks and plastic with some notable differences to other counter top materials.

This surface type resists stains pretty well, but it is rather easily scratched by knives or dented by pots and pans and it will be damaged by heat.

The good things are that stains and scratches can be sanded or buffed away, it can be installed without seams and sinks can be molded right into the surface as one piece.

Color choices are limited and conservative, but complimentary to most styles.

As noted above, many marketing myths surround the qualities of different kitchen counter top materials. Mainly, this concerns Corian (solid surface), Silestone and other quartz countertop makers and granite.

Soapstone & Slate

Soapstone and slate countertops are two less common choices for kitchen countertops that have similar characteristics. For a classic black and white kitchen design, or modern minimalist, or a rustic feel, these two surfaces are worth a look. 

Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops have improved a lot in the last decade with many new color options as well as more customized edge treatments. Laminate has stood the test of time and definitely gives the most bang for the buck. 

Get the real story and in-depth comparisons of Granite, Quartz & Corian at:

Countertop Materials Comparison - page 2



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