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Kitchen Counters

As any homeowner can attest, the type of material used for the kitchen countertop has a big impact on the kitchen. Each individual surface that is available for use in countertops has its own variation on style, necessary upkeep, pros, and cons. So, what types of materials are out there, and what is important to know about each?


Style: Granite has a natural but glossy appearance. It’s considered luxe.

Durability: Granite is extremely durable.

Necessary Upkeep: Granite does, in fact, require a good deal of upkeep. Although good granite is resin-coated, which prevents the formation of permanent water marks, it is necessary to seal granite every six months or so in order to maintain its luster.

Pros: Durability, appearance.

Cons: Frequent upkeep is necessary, and granite is on the more expensive end of the spectrum when it comes to kitchen counters. Granite ranges from $60 to $100 per square foot.


Style: Luxe and polished.

Durability: Softer than granite, marble is prone to scratching and staining.

Necessary Upkeep: There isn’t a great deal of upkeep with marble, however, staining and scratching are inevitable.

Pros: Some love the look that marble gains over time with staining and scratching, seeing the wear and tear as warm.

Cons: Others would prefer a consistently polished look such as the one achieved with granite.


Style: Natural and warm. Perfect for traditional kitchens, but darker finishes also lend themselves to designs that are more modern in appearance.

Durability: There is a wide range of hardness in the world of wood, so durability is somewhat dependent upon which wood you’re working with.

Necessary Upkeep: Periodic oiling to prevent a wooden countertop from drying is necessary.

Pros: A truly natural and warm feel.

Cons: Wood is soft and porous and is therefore susceptible to staining and scratching.


Style: Smooth and natural, soapstone has a matte appearance. Colors range from soft gray to charcoal.

Durability: Soapstone is one of few natural surfaces that is not affected by acids. For this reason it’s often used in labs or other science-related areas. In the kitchen, this is a pro because spills of common elements such as coffee or orange juice will not affect the surface.

Necessary Upkeep: Soapstone is easy to clean and isn’t porous, so it’s fairly stain resistant. However, mineral oils can improve the appearance of soapstone.

Pros: Natural and unassuming, soapstone is seen by many as a very visually pleasing element in the kitchen. Stain resistance is also a major pro. Heat resistance is another big winner.

Cons: Nothing screams out as a negative to soapstone, but its cost may be a budgetary consideration for some.

Stainless Steel

Style: Modern and industrial. Stainless steel is used in most professional kitchens, and is therefore associated with high-end cooking.

Durability: Stainless steel is extremely durable.

Necessary Upkeep: Fingerprints and other incidental markings appear easily on stainless steel, so if a consistent look is important to you, stainless steel may be frustrating.

Pros: Heat and stain resistant.

Cons: Vulnerable to denting and scratching.