Kitchen Countertop Options

Advice for Getting the Best Countertop for Your Kitchen

Part Three: How to Make Kitchen Remodeling Choices You’ll Never Regret

Oh, the tile and grout – how much do you loath thee?

You can be sure it was pretty at one time, but now it just looks worn, outdated and is a pain (in the you know what) to keep sanitary.

Tile and grout countertops were the mainstay for many, many years. But now solid surface countertops are the standard.

Where to Start for the Best Kitchen Countertop Options

Cabinets set the style of the kitchen, and are undoubtedly your biggest investment when it comes to a kitchen remodel. But countertops, while about fourth on the list in terms of cost, is the one area that you can make a kitchen your own in relation to style and functionality.

First and foremost, you need to pick a material that fits your life-style and your family. You may love butcher block, but are you really prepared to commit to the time it takes to maintain it. And of course, marble just screams luxury, but do you want the patina (that is the stains, scratches, pitting, etc.) look it will eventually have? Stainless steel is another option, but it will scratch and dull. Or maybe you love those looks, in fact in Europe the aged looks of these materials is desired and considered beautiful, so if from this post (click here) you are going with a French Villa, Tuscan Warmth, or Rustic Mediterranean style, than maybe you want them.  These are all considerations you need to weigh up when picking your best countertop options.

Classic Counter Choices for the Best Kitchen Countertop Options

A large slab seamless counter top together with a backsplash of exquisite tiles is now the norm in kitchen design. Let’s breakdown the pros and cons of each counter top material choice so you can figure out your best countertop options.

Butcher block:  One counter in my kitchen is butcher block. My house was built in 1952 and the counter is original to the house. When we bought our house, the butcher block had been covered with some weird shellac.  I simply sanded all that off and applied a layer of Tung oil. This counter looks warm and inviting. Sure, it gets stained, but eventually the stains evaporate out and I clean it each week with food grade mineral oil and I adore this classic countertop material.  Would I suggest having all your tops butcher block – no. But in one small area or just on a small island it adds a nice natural touch making your kitchen feel nostalgic.

Stainless Steel: This material is shiny, sleek, and easy to clean. If you are looking for an Urban Industrial or Cozy Modern style, this is a good bet. But if you want it to look brand spanking new foreva’ – forget ‘bout  it. It will scratch and dull, but that is what I like about it. This “patina” gives it an authentic feel, because it should look well used. Scrub it down with a non-abrasive cleaner like Bar Keeper’s Friend to keep it clean and looking its best.

Soapstone: Considered the original, this truly authentic countertop material has been used in kitchens since the dawn of kitchens. It is very soft, so it is easy to work with. It will scratch easily, but since it is so soft scratches are can be buffed out with a simple Brillo pad. You can leave it natural or apply mineral oil to darken it. The neat thing about soapstone is its temperature conductivity. So when you installing your countertop, take the remnants and make some small cubes, put them in the freezer and use them to chill your cocktails (hence, the name Whiskey Stones). If you determined your style is English Charm, then a nice Soapstone top would be ideal.

Marble: Not considered an ideal material for the kitchen, marble is often installed in kitchens. The acid properties of food does not play well with marble (but the alkaline products used in bathrooms are compatible with marble), so you will have stains, etching, pitting and the like. But if you really MUST have marble, just be prepared to have lots of maintenance or be willing to live with the inevitable patina. Or, how about this, use marble on the backsplash to get that Luxurious Classic style you dream about.

Quartz Composite: Becoming the work horse for kitchen countertops, quartz is non-porous, antimicrobial, and will withstand a lot of abuse. I like the plain, ole white quartz tops with little detail. They look clean, simple, and will stand the test of time. This material is best suited for a more modern look. But quartz comes in many colors and patterns and you could just about find anything to go with any style. If you have a highly grained wood cabinet or highly intricate mosaic tile backsplash, a plain quartz top is the perfect countertop to balance all those other textures and patterns.

Granite: When most people want a solid-surface top, they say they want “a granite countertop” as it has become generic for solid surface tops. Granite comes in many, many colors and patterns. The thing I don’t like about it is the busyness. When the crumbs blend in with the countertop, it bugs me. Also, the upkeep! It is much more porous than quartz and requires semi-annually sealing. You can read about how I really feel about granite here.

One Material or Two for Best Kitchen Countertops Options

Very trendy and very nice looking is varying materials on different surfaces. Maybe the island is stainless steel and the rest of the tops are quartz? Or what if, one counter is darker and the other lighter?  I especially like it when one small area is butcher block or marble.

Have you been wanting to remodel your kitchen, but it seems like there are too many decisions to make?

Do all these choices put you over the top (countertop that is) and have you throwing in the towel?

Let the designers at KTJ Design Co help you figure it out. Ya know, we are really good in the kitchen! Check out our ReFAB Clinic Package and get the kitchen of your dreams, without all the nightmares.


This is part of an eight part series on kitchen design “How to Make Kitchen Remodeling Choices You’ll Never Regret.” Don’t miss out; get this series delivered straight to your in-box each week. We will go over the eight key elements you need to know before you start any kitchen remodel.

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