One of the many things you will need to consider for your new kitchen is your choice of countertop. It is not only a decision based on aesthetics, but also a practical one. There are many options to choose from, but mostly it’s going to come down to 4 deciding factors.
4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Kitchen Countertop:
- Budget. Countertops range from entry-level postform tops to luxurious natural stone and your budget will in large part determine which options are available to you.
- Look & Feel. The material that you choose needs to complement the rest of the finishes and the style of your kitchen.
- Durability and Maintenance. Your lifestyle and how you use your kitchen will have a large influence on the level of durability you require.
- Long-term Value. A quick overhaul in order to sell will look very different to the choice of countertop in your forever home.
The first thing to resolve is how much you are prepared to spend.
Inexpensive Kitchen Countertop Options:
Laminates have come a long way since they were first introduced to the kitchen environment more than 100 years ago. The HPL’s like Formica® that are available today are highly durable, stain-, scratch- and heat-resistant and come in such a wide variety of designs that there is something to complement every kitchen. The core of HPL’s are made with woodchip or wood fibre, so they can absorb moisture and warp if they are not properly sealed around sinks and taps.
While tiles can be used as a countertop surface it needs to be carefully considered. They require a lot of maintenance and because grout is porous, it can also become a problem to keep the surface hygenic. It does, however, give the option to create a colourful, exotic look.
A beautiful and warm choice, wooden countertops have been an integral part of traditional kitchens for many years. Not many people use solid worktops because of the possibility of the wood warping, but assembled wood, or butcherblock, is a great option that is both durable and stable. Solid wood can be used directly as a cutting surface, but these cut marks could become a problem with collecting bacteria. Wooden tops are not resistant to stains, water or heat damage, but most of these can be sanded away and resealed to bring the top back to its former beauty.
Another very popular choice in domestic kitchen finishes, concrete is durable, scratch-, heat and stain resistant. Concrete is purpose-made for a specific kitchen, which allows a lot of customization: the concrete can be coloured of left natural, splashbacks can be cast with the tops and integrated sinks can also form part of the design.
Mid-Range Kitchen Countertop Options:
Quartz in manufactured by compressing natural quartz and resin. This man-made product has many great qualities: it is non-porous, stain- and scratch resistant and will last many years with virtually no maintenance. Their only drawback is that they are not entirely heat proof and can be damaged by hot cookware or appliances. Brand names include Ceasarstone®, Zodiac® and Silestone®.
Corian & DCUK
Another man-made countertop material, solid surfacing like Corian®, Formica® and Staron® are highly durable, scratch resistant, and allows completely seamless countertops. Scratches or other damage can be buffed out which allows them to look like new for a very long time. These products also usually come with extensive guarantees that further emphasize their lifespan.
Houzz & TD Universe
Granite countertops are a popular mid-range option. They are known for their durability and natural beauty, but prices can vary depending on the specific type of granite so best to enquire with your local supplier. The tops can be matte or gloss to suit the style of your kitchen.
Countertops made from recycled glass materials offer a unique and eco-friendly option in the mid-range price category.
Premium Kitchen Countertop Options:
Beautiful and elegant, marble countertops are durable and can add significant value to your home. There is a big variety of colours available and with the correct sealant, your tops will look great for many years. Acids can easily damage marble, so care should be taken with acidic foods like citrus and coffee, and certain cleaning products with a high acid content.
Natural Stone (Exotic Varieties)
Exotic natural stones like onyx or soapstone fall into the expensive category due to their rarity and distinctive aesthetics. If you are lucky enough to live in a region where stones are mined, you should definitly consider using them! Soapstone especially has gained massive popularity in recent years. It is highly resistant to stains, scratches and acids and therefore makes an ideal material for kitchen countertops. Regular oiling with mineral oil is necessary to maintain is beauty – the oil will also deepen its colour over time.
Solid Wood (High-End)
Premium wood countertops, such as reclaimed wood or custom hardwoods, can be expensive and are chosen for their unique character and quality. Again, your location here can be key.
Home Designing & Besth
Traditionally used in industrial kitchens for their superior anti-bacterial and hygienic properties, stainless steel tops have now become a very popular choice in modern kitchens. They are easy to clean, have high stain resistance and are heat proof. On the down-side, they are prone to scratching over time and easily show fingerprints.
Sintered stone countertops are a relatively new option, known for their durability and resistance to heat, stains, and UV rays. Made from minerals and formed with extreme heat, it is a completely natural material containing no resin binders. The look and feel is similar to that of porcelain, granite and quartz, but it has significantly less porosity that those materials.
Look & Feel
You might already have a picture in mind of your perfect kitchen, and chances are that is has a distinct style to it. Whether farmhouse, minimalist or industrial, your kitchen countertop needs to enhance that style.
For a farmhouse look, consider materials like butcher block or warm-toned natural stone. In a minimalistic kitchen, opt for sleek materials like solid surface or engineered quartz. And for the ever-popular industrial kitchen, concrete or stainless steel countertops fit well.
Texture matters too. Smooth, polished surfaces like quartz or granite add refinement, ideal for traditional kitchens. Honed or matte finishes found in materials like soapstone or concrete work beautifully in contemporary spaces, while textured surfaces create warmth for family-centered kitchens. Let your kitchen’s personality guide your countertop choice, and you’ll create a space that both looks and feels right for you.
Have a look at out our Kitchen Design Ideas section if you need design inspiration.
Durability & Maintenance
The different activities in a kitchen will determine which countertop materials are most suitable. A very busy kitchen where hygiene is the highest priority will do great with stainless steel tops. A baker’s kitchen on the other hand will likely need a marble work surface, while a family-friendly kitchen needs durable finishes like solid surfacing or engineered stone.
A second consideration under functionality is your choice of sink. Some surfaces, like marble, granite and quartz can successfully accommodate an under-mount sink. If you are considering an integrated sink, then you will need to choose solid surfacing or concrete. You can also have natural stone fashioned into integrated sinks by joining slabs together. This is an especially popular solution with soapstone.
When selecting kitchen countertop materials, you must also keep maintenance in mind. For those seeking low-maintenance options, engineered quartz and solid surface countertops are excellent choices, as they are non-porous, making them resistant to stains and easy to clean.
Natural stones like granite and marble can add sophistication to your kitchen but require regular sealing to protect against stains and damage.
Wooden countertops, while warm and inviting, need ongoing maintenance, including sealing and occasional sanding.
Surfaces like stainless steel and other metals are amazing from a hygiene point of view, but tend to show up watermarks and fingerprints.
Before making your choice, find out if the countertop material you want aligns with your willingness and ability to maintain it. This will ensure that your kitchen remains both aesthetically pleasing and hassle-free.
Choosing a countertop material for your kitchen isn’t just about its immediate visual appeal or cost; it’s also about long-term value.
Materials like granite, quartz, and solid surfaces are increasingly popular because they not only offer durability and resistance to wear and tear but also tend to stand the test of time, making them a solid investment for your home. These materials often enhance the resale value of your property, making your kitchen renovation a financial asset as well as for your own enjoyment.
In contrast, while more affordable options like laminate may save you money upfront, they may require more frequent replacements or refurbishments, which can lead to higher costs in the long run. So when selecting a countertop material, it’s necessary to consider not only its initial price but also its durability and how it will impact your home’s value over the years.
To ensure that you choose the right countertop for your kitchen, determine what functionality you need from your countertops and then choose the best one you can afford. For assistance, contact one of our friendly designers who will be happy to assist.