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10 Best Kitchen Countertops

Explore the best types of kitchen countertops.
When embarking on a kitchen remodel project, kitchen countertops are often one of the first elements homeowners consider updating. New countertops can bring life to any kitchen and add value to your home along the way.

Homeowners have an array of options when selecting the new countertops—including a variety of materials, colors, and patterns. Each type of kitchen countertop has its benefits and drawbacks, from durability to appearance to cost. The right kitchen countertop for you will depend on your priorities for your kitchen remodel . The experts at Modernize researched the best kitchen countertops and their strengths and weaknesses, maintenance requirements, and prices. This guide will help you make a confident decision on the best kitchen countertop for your remodeling project.

10 Best Kitchen Countertops

This list of the best kitchen countertops was curated by the home improvement experts at Modernize based on cost, lifespan, durability, appearance, and ease of maintenance.

Granite

Granite remains one of the most popular kitchen countertop materials , thanks to its durability and prized aesthetic that can give any kitchen a luxurious feel. Because it is a natural stone, granite kitchen countertops can last 100 years or more when maintained properly. Granite comes in a variety of unique minerals, fine details, and colors that can match almost any kitchen aesthetic, including shades of white, cream, yellow, brown, and black. Keep in mind that due to granite's high quality, it is one of the costlier countertop types.

To keep your granite countertops in prime condition, use a microfiber cloth and water daily, and a weekly dash of a pH-neutral soap. Steer clear of vinegar. Blot stains right away and avoid wiping to limit spread. Granite will also need regular sealing. The best way to test for this is to splash water on the countertop. If it flows freely and does not bead, it’s time to re-seal.
Cost per square foot
$40 - $60
Lifespan
100 years
  • High heat resistance
  • Low maintenance
  • Large variety of colors

Quartz

Quartz is quickly becoming a popular kitchen countertop material. Quartz kitchen countertops are an engineered, composite stone that contains quartz, other minerals, and a resin binder. Like granite, it is a solid, durable material that can last up to 100 years or more when cared for properly. It also is more stain-resistant than granite, as it is a non-porous stone. Quartz comes in a variety of colors and detailed textures, from whites to natural beiges to grays and blacks. Bear in mind that quartz can be even more expensive than granite, due to its prized quality.

Protect your quartz countertops by routinely wiping with a damp cloth and mild dish soap. Only use degreasers specifically made for quartz as needed. While the material can tolerate heat, direct contact with extremely hot pans can lead to damage and should be avoided. It is also recommended to use a cutting board to prevent scratching.
Cost per square foot
$50 - $150
Lifespan
100 years
  • Stain-resistant
  • No sealing required
  • Wide variety of colors/patterns

Laminate

One of the most budget-friendly materials, laminate kitchen countertops are a go-to for homeowners looking to spend a little less on their kitchen remodel project. Laminate can mimic natural materials such as granite and quartz at half the price. At the same time, laminate is heat-resistant, stain-resistant, and will not hurt your home's resale value either. Keep in mind that because laminate is not real stone, its lifespan is shorter - about 10 to 20 years with proper care.

Laminate is very easy to clean and requires minimal care to maintain a high-quality condition. Regular cleaning with mild dish soap and water, and a thorough drying to prevent pooling, are typically all that is required. Additionally, cutting directly on the surface without a cutting board should be avoided, as should placing hot pans directly on the countertop.
Cost per square foot
$20 - $30
Lifespan
10 - 20 years
  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean
  • Countless colors/patterns

Wood and Butcher-Block

Wood and butcher-block kitchen countertops are a great way to add warm, earthy tones to any kitchen. Homeowners are installing these countertops in kitchens more than ever because they are easy to maintain, can be used as a natural cutting board, and comes in a variety of wood grains and textures. Wood is also a naturally sanitary material in kitchens. On the downside, note that wood is easily scratched and susceptible to stains. Wood and butcher-block kitchen countertops also require regular resealing or oiling.

Spills should be treated immediately using hot water and mild dish soap. Vinegar can be used, but should be wiped away with a damp cloth after application. The most important step to protecting your wood countertops is regular oiling. To do this, apply the mineral oil to clean, dry countertops and work in with a dry rag. Allow the oil to sit for at least 30 minutes and wipe away the excess with a dry cloth. Perform the process about once per month to maximize the lifespan of the wood countertops.
Cost per square foot
$40 - $150
Lifespan
20 - 80 years
  • Natural look and feel
  • Great for cutlery use
  • Can be sanded to remove scratches

Marble

A true symbol of luxury, marble countertops are a coveted material for any contemporary kitchen. Marble is highly heat resistant, scratch and stain resistant, and its appearance cannot be imitated by any other material. Like granite and quartz, there is a wide variety of colors and details to choose from. While marble may be the highest quality natural stone material for kitchen countertops, it is pricy. Bear in mind that the cost can add up quickly if you are covering all your kitchen countertops in marble. You might consider featuring marble on only a kitchen island to save money.

Spills on marble countertops should be treated right away. Always use a large cutting board or slip mat when handling acidic foods or beverages. Dust weekly using a dry microfiber cloth. To protect your investment, regular re-sealing should be performed. Many manufacturers will have a recommended schedule to perform re-sealing, but it can be tested by splashing water on the countertop. If it flows freely and does not bead, it is time to re-seal.
Cost per square foot
$75 - $250
Lifespan
100+ years
  • High heat resistance
  • Top quality natural stone
  • Best for adding home value

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel kitchen countertops bring a modern, industrial look that is increasingly trendy in residential homes. This countertop is heat and bacteria resistant, will not stain or rust, and provides a sleek, modern appearance that can brighten up any kitchen. Stainless steel can be finished in a variety of ways, including satin, brushed metal, and matte. On the downside, they are a more expensive type of kitchen countertop and can show fingerprints if not cleaned regularly.

Steel countertops should be cleaned daily using a mild dish soap or a specially designed cleaners available at a local supermarket or hardware store. You will also want to use cutting boards to protect the countertops from scratches and burn marks.
Cost per square foot
$100 - $300
Lifespan
20 - 25 years
  • High heat and bacteria resistance
  • Easiest countertops to clean
  • Adds brightness to kitchen

Concrete

A staple of modern and industrial homes, concrete kitchen countertops provide homeowners with fully customizable options that are typically cast in your kitchen. Concrete is also highly durable, lasting to to 100 years or more, while offering a lower price point compared to marble, granite, and quartz. This material also comes in a variety of color options. You can expect a kitchen remodel with concrete countertops to boost your home's value.

Regular cleaning with pH-neutral soap is typically all properly sealed concrete countertops need to stay clean. Sealers should be applied as needed, and homeowners should keep in mind that high heat can damage these sealants. Trivets are recommended for long-term care.
Cost per square foot
$80 - $150
Lifespan
50 - 100 years
  • High heat and scratch resistance
  • Highly customizable
  • Long lifespan

Soapstone

Soapstone is a natural stone that contains naturally occurring talc, giving it a soap-like or smooth feeling, as well as a dark color. It is more affordable than other natural stone kitchen countertops, like granite and marble, without comprising appearance. It is also highly resistant to moisture, heat, stains, and bacteria. On the other hand, it is softer and does scratch and chip easier than marble, granite, and quartz.

Soapstone is easy to care for and maintain, though does require some extra upkeep the first few months after installation. For daily cleaning, a simple soapy sponge will suffice. It is recommended that homeowners apply mineral oil to new soapstone counters weekly for the first few months, then reduce to a monthly or bi-monthly cadence. Since the material is non-porous, simply spread the mineral evenly over the countertops and wipe away with a dry cloth.
Cost per square foot
$50 - $100
Lifespan
20 - 80 years
  • High heat, stain, and bacteria resistance
  • Resistant to acids
  • Can be sanded to repair scratches

Ceramic Tile

Tile kitchen countertops were a staple of homes in the ‘70s and ‘80s. However, recent years have seen the style reemerge as homeowners seek out more affordable options for their kitchen remodel projects or rely on their DIY skills. Tile kitchen countertops are very affordable, with ceramic tile costing as little as $2 or $3 per square foot, while lasting up to 100 years. Another plus is that there are many types of tiles available to choose from. Keep in mind that tile countertops can stain and chip, and grout can harbor bacteria if not cleaned regularly.

Tile countertops should be cleaned immediately after use or after a spill to prevent staining. Homeowners should take special care to regularly clean grout lines with soapy water and thoroughly dry using a clean rag.
Cost per square foot
$2 - $150
Lifespan
100 years
  • Can be very affordable
  • Highly customizable
  • Easy to clean

Solid Surface

Solid surface kitchen countertops are constructed through the blending of acrylics and resins, and are considered to be a mid-tier option for kitchen remodels. They are non-porous, making them stain and bacteria resistant. They are also low maintenance and easily restorable - scratches can be sanded down as needed to repair. Bear in mind that they can be damaged by heat.

A damp microfiber cloth and occasional mild dish soap should be enough to keep your solid surface countertops clean. Homeowners will also want to use cutting boards and trivets to protect the countertops from scratches and burn marks.
Cost per square foot
$75 - $100
Lifespan
10 - 30 years
  • Stain-resistant
  • Integrated sinks available
  • Can be sanded to repair scratches
When is it time to replace kitchen countertops?
After excessive use and wear, kitchen countertops will need to be replaced and upgraded. Depending on the material of your kitchen countertops, they will need to be replaced once about every 10 to 80 years. Strong, durable natural stone such as marble or granite will typically last longer - up to 100 years - while laminate, wood, and stainless steel will need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years. You will be able to tell that your kitchen countertops need to be replaced if they are cracked, eroding, have irreparable stains and/or burn marks, or have structural damage. Other homeowners will want to replace countertops to boost resale value, modernize their kitchen's appearance, or accommodate a family member with accessibility needs.
How do you replace kitchen countertops?
Replacing and installing new kitchen countertops is a complicated home improvement task that normally involves the work of a professional contractor. The process involves detaching water and gas lines, and removing screws, sink and range effectively. During a countertop replacement, you will also need to slice through caulking when there is a backsplash present. Without professional training, you run the risk of damaging your kitchen and paying for costly repairs. Modernize recommends always getting in touch with a reliable kitchen remodeler prior to starting a countertop installation.
What is the best material for kitchen countertops?
The best kitchen countertop often depends on the homeowner's preferences for their kitchen remodel project. Countertops can be analyzed in terms of cost, quality and lifespan, appearance, and ease of maintenance. If you are looking for the highest quality material that will last the longest, we recommend choosing an authentic natural stone such as granite, quartz, or marble, which can last 100 years or more. If you are looking for a material that is visually appealing but can still help you cut costs on your kitchen remodel, we recommend looking into laminate, concrete, and solid surface kitchen countertops.
What is the standard height and standard depth of kitchen countertops?
The standard height of kitchen countertops is 36 inches, or 3 feet above the floor. Professional countertop installers recommend this height as it allows most people to reach the counter comfortably and naturally without bending over. This standard countertop height accounts for the fact that the standard base cabinet is 34.5 inches tall, and the standard countertop is 1.5 inches thick. If you are looking to install a bar-height countertop, the standard height for this is 42 inches above the ground, allowing for bar stools of 29 to 32 inches tall. An ADA compliant kitchen will feature countertops that have at least one section that is 28 to 36 inches off the ground for home accessibility purposes.

Standard kitchen countertops are 25.5 inches deep. While homeowners can opt for deeper kitchen countertops, this may result in wasted counterspace and making the kitchen appear smaller.
Can kitchen countertops be repaired, rather than replaced?
Often it is possible to repair your existing kitchen countertops to restore their quality and appearance. For instance, wood and butcher-block countertops can be sanded down to repair burn marks and cut marks. Natural stone countertops can be resealed every few years to protect your investment. Make sure to ask your professional kitchen remodeler what maintenance and care is needed for your specific countertop type to keep it in its most pristine condition.
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