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Countertop Pros and Cons

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Choosing the right countertop is one of the most important aspects of kitchen design. It’s an investment that should last for years and reflect your sense of style. Every type of countertop has pros and cons regarding hardness, durability, and functionality. 


Marble countertops still reign as king in terms of aesthetics and high-end. This natural stone instantly elevates a kitchen, giving it a clean, contemporary feel.  It is not the most practical choice, however. Marble is softer and more porous than other natural stones, so it’s essential to consider its propensity for scratching and staining. One unique aspect of marble is that it maintains a naturally low temperature, making it ideal for people who enjoy baking. While marble looks upscale and expensive, some kinds of marble can be quite budget-friendly.


Granite countertops have been the standard for many years because it’s natural stone with outstanding durability. It is available in various colors and requires little maintenance. Some granites are more porous and may require periodic sealing to prevent stains. It is heat-resistant similar to marble; however, its ultra-hard surface will claim many dishes and glassware.


Quartz could be the best option if you want to invest in an all-around durable countertop built to last. This stone is non-porous, incredibly hard, and never needs to be re-sealed.  Because quartz is artificial, these countertops are a great way to get the look of natural stones like marble or granite without worrying about durability issues. 


Soapstone is a natural stone sourced from the Appalachian Mountains or imported from Finland and Brazil. It has a unique look and is available in various gray shades with blue or green undertones. When compared to marble and granite, soapstone has several advantages. It requires minimal maintenance and is entirely non-porous, so it’s stain, bacteria, and heat-resistant.  


Concrete countertops offer a chic farmhouse kitchen or add a special touch to an industrial, modern kitchen with a bold, striking look. It is also almost entirely indestructible (which is why this material is used for roads and sidewalks).  Concrete is far from perfect. It can take up to 28 days to dry completely, so it’s not ideal if you’re working on a tight schedule. It also needs to be sealed to avoid staining.  These countertops have been known to crack as a home settles. The good news is that cracks are easy to repair. If you’re looking for a countertop that will look picture-perfect for years to come, it’s probably best to choose a different material.

Butcher Block

Butcher block is an affordable alternative to stone countertops. It’s made from pieces of wood that are bonded to form a larger slab. These countertops are the only type of surface that allows for direct cutting and slicing because it is essentially a giant cutting board.  Butcher block countertops have traditionally been made from all types of wood, including cherry, maple, oak, walnut, and even teak. What finish you choose depends entirely on your home and kitchen style. Butcher block countertops can be sealed or unsealed.  Unsealed butcher block countertops must be oiled twice a year. Once the wood is sealed, it is no longer safe for food prep and must be used with a separate cutting board. This material is also porous, so there is a risk of staining the wood. 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has always been a popular choice for commercial kitchens, but it’s also become a trend in residential kitchens. This countertop is an instant way to give your kitchen a stylish, industrial look. Stainless steel is easy to maintain if appropriately cleaned.  But the longer you leave a splash or spill, the harder it becomes to clean. Stainless steel shows fingerprints and water spots easily, so it isn’t ideal for a home with young children.  Another pitfall of stainless steel is that it can dent and scratch, but other than that, it’s incredibly durable and entirely non-porous.


Laminate countertops were trendy during the 80s and 90s. While older laminate countertops can look dated, newer laminates can give the look of more expensive materials like wood and stone for a fraction of the cost.  This product is nonporous and won’t absorb bacteria. It also never needs resealing and is easy to clean with a little bit of soap and water.  However, a few things to keep in mind if you choose laminate: It is easily damaged by heat and will not add resale value to your home. 

There are many countertops options, which will largely depend on your style and budget.  The best rules of thumb to consider are durability, longevity, and the resale value of the surface.   

Whether sprucing up your kitchen to sell or searching for a home that already has the perfect one, Prism Realty is here to help.  If you have questions about the market, call us at 512-676-5842, we’re here for you!