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Countertop Buying Guide

Finding the perfect countertop shouldn't be a challenge. Learn about different types of countertops so you can find a surface that’s right for your home and budget.

Kitchen Countertop Buying Guide

Laminate Countertops

Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops consist of sheeting glued to plywood or particleboard substrate. The result is a beautiful, affordable countertop that's quite durable. Laminate countertops resist water, are the easiest surface to clean and maintain and come in hundreds of color and style options.

Keep in mind that they sometimes have visible seams and edges and are susceptible to cuts and scratches. Laminate countertops are less heat-resistant than solid stone, so be sure to use a trivet.

Solid-Surface Countertops

Solid Surface Countertops

Solid-surface countertops are made of nonporous acrylic material for a visually seamless appearance. They are available in a range of colors and patterns, including some eco-friendly options, and offer the option of an integral sink and backsplash. Solid-surface countertops resist water, bacteria and stains, providing a low-maintenance option for your home.

Solid-surface countertops are susceptible to scratching and less heat-resistant than quartz or granite.

Granite Countertops

Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are crafted from beautiful, durable, natural stone.  Visually rich and dynamic, they're highly heat-resistant and can stand up to stains and bacteria when properly sealed.  And, thanks to their ultra smooth texture, granite is phenomenal for baking preparations, like rolling dough.

Granite countertops do have visible seams. To maintain your granite, seal it yearly. Use caution around stress points as the stone can split.

Quartz Countertops

Quartz Countertop

Quartz is another nonporous natural stone countertop option that is the most durable option available. Like granite, quartz resists heat, water, bacteria and stains, but is easier to maintain because you never have to seal it. Quartz countertops have more consistent colors and patterns and are very easy to clean.

With quartz, there are fewer shades to choose from and you will have to contend with visible seams, but with so many other benefits, quartz is a wonderful choice for countertops that last.

Good to Know

Although natural stone countertops are heat-resistant, it's a good idea to protect all surfaces from hot pots and pans with hot pads or trivets.

Butcher Block Countertops

Butcher block countertops are constructed from a variety of solid wood boards. The name is derived from the fact that this style of countertop was traditionally seen in butcher shops. These surfaces typically come in thick wooden slabs, which must be cut to shape, sanded and finished before installation. The selling point of butcher block for most individuals is it’s natural beauty. Although it can provide a long-lasting, visually appealing work surface, there are several important maintenance considerations.

Wood is a naturally porous substance, so it must be properly treated to prevent the growth of germs and bacteria. Surfaces can either be sealed or oil-finished. Oil-finished countertops can be used for cutting and food preparation if properly maintained, while sealed ones cannot. Wood surfaces that are not sealed must be regularly treated with a special food-grade oil or conditioner to prevent cracking, water damage, and to maintain sanitation standards. Applying butcher block oil or conditioner often requires multiple coats and may change the color of the wood slightly. Spills must be wiped up immediately to prevent staining the wood. Natural blemishes will occur over time, especially if the surface is used for cutting, and should be considered as part of the rustic charm of the product. Sanding and refinishing the surface can restore the look of butcher block.

Recycled Glass Countertops

A recycled glass countertop is an attractive, environmentally friendly option that lends a completely unique looks to any kitchen. The glass chards used to manufacture the surface are held together using either a cement-based binder, which must be resealed annually, or a resin-based binder, which requires no sealing. Like other more traditional surfaces, recycled glass countertops come in a variety of colors and patterns and are stain, heat and scratch resistant — plus the resin-based varieties are completely non-porous, so they resist mold and mildew.

Because recycled glass countertops are made from repurposed materials, the final product may vary slightly from manufacturer-provided samples. Also, special care should be used as these surfaces may scratch or chip, especially around the edges, if heavy objects are dropped or sharp objects such as knives are scraped along them.

Combining Countertop Surfaces

Countertop Selections

For a truly customized cooking experience, install a combination of different countertops for specific kitchen tasks. For example, stone surfaces work nicely near the range for placement of hot pots and pans, while solid surfaces are perfect for use around the sink for easy cleaning.

Because of special exceptions, like custom orders, combinations of countertops could be the most expensive option. Speak with a kitchen project specialist about your budget or needs to find the perfect countertop options for your kitchen.

Explore your countertop options.