Top 10 Countertops: Prices, Pros & Cons – Kitchen Countertops Costs

Today we’re exploring countertops and solid surfaces for kitchens, bathrooms, and for all related home improvement and DIY needs! Selecting a new countertop for your kitchen can not only be exciting, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. After all, there is such a wide variety of materials and countertop surfaces to consider, along with their thickness, benefits and drawbacks, colors, costs, and other options.

It’s not at all surprising that many homeowners are easily dazed and confused by the wide array of choices and options. In fact, many people who have already been through the process of installing a countertop in their kitchen or bathroom will readily attest that it’s not at all an easy choice! 😉

Some of the top questions being asked by many of the “quality and cost” conscious consumers, have to deal with the cost of materials, their pros and cons, and labor or installation costs for most common surfaces including granite, Formica, quartz, marble, and the good ol’ laminate.

If you have not faced any major remodeling decisions before, then you should know that all modern countertops have their inherent strengths and flaws. It’s up to you to decide which particular factors and material characteristics are most important to you. Yes, it’s all about your wants and needs! 🙂 — Some of the main ones to consider are: durability, luster, heat resistance, maintenance, price and style.

In this guide, will cover the top ten most common materials for countertop surfaces. We’ll give you the necessary information, so you can make an informed decision.

| 1. Granite |
| 2. Quartz |
| 3. Solid Surface |
| 4. Wood |
| 5. Laminate |
| 6. Concrete |
| 7. Nanotech Matte |
| 8. Glass |
| 9. Stainless Steel |
| 10. Soapstone |

1. Granite

For years granite has been one of the most popular surface choices among the US homes, owning to its natural beauty, durability, and ruggedness. It’s a natural stone, so every individual slab is 100% unique in its hue, pattern and shading.

Mediterranean-style-granite-countertop-McCullough Design Development

By McCullough Design Development

Since each piece is different in appearance and size, many consumers will often have go to their local granite warehouse and select the actual pieces of granite that will go into their kitchen or bathroom. Each slice of granite is approximately 9 to 10 feet long and 5 to 6 feet wide. There are some places carrying granite slabs as large as 12 feet long for those extra long open-space kitchens. If your countertop is larger than this, the granite will need to be installed in pieces, thus inevitably resulting in some seams.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Unique – One of a Kind!
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Stain resistant
  • Heat resistant
  • Water resistant (when sealed)
  • Easily cleaned
  • Variety of colors and patterns

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • High maintenance
  • Can break when exposed to excessive stresses during transportation or installation

Price: Granite has an average material cost of $45-$100 per square foot depending on the size, pattern, and thickness of the slab. Although, some select species of granite can be as expensive as $150-$250 per square foot! It will be a grand total of $3,000 to $5,000 for an average 40 square feet granite surface installed.

Tips: Save money by using a thinner slab of granite, or use granite tiles for a fraction of the cost.

2. Quartz

Quartz can give granite a run for its money (especially considering the cost of higher-end granite) surfaces, with the durability and look of natural stone, minus the maintenance. It’s a very hard, impervious to water drops or moisture stone quarried out of the earth, ground into small pieces, mixed together in a sheet layer and held together in a resin as part of its manufacturing process. As with all countertops, it has some advantages and disadvantages.

White Quartz Countertop by Marble of the World

By Marble of the World

Like granite it will have seams, but they will be less noticeable. Its consistent look and pattern allows the seams to blend more easily. Quartz is a nonporous material, so it doesn’t need to be sealed. However, it’s not completely heat resistant. A hot pot can be sat on the counter, but it can’t be left there for very long, as the heat will react with the resin and leave a burn mark!

Pros:

  • Durable
  • More Flexible than granite, which makes it stronger and more tolerant to stress
  • Available in glossy and matte finishes
  • Non-porous
  • Stain and crack resistant
  • No sealing
  • Wide range of colors
  • Easily cleaned
  • Antibacterial

Cons:

  • Not heat resistant
  • Seams

Price: $60-$100 per square foot. It will cost you in the range of $2,500 to $4,500 for an average 40 square feet granite surface installed.

3. Solid Surface

An acrylic manmade product created by DuPont under the brand name, Corian. The seamless material provides a durable, hygienic and nonporous surface.

Orange Corian Countertop Kitchen - Susan Jay Design

By Susan Jay Design

Corian comes in a variety of colors, hues and patterns that can be designed to fit anyone’s style. Choose a stone pattern for a warm, traditional decor, white or black for a minimalist style or brighter colors for a more eclectic look. Custom colors are also available.

Its look is consistent and lends itself to soft curving designs and integrating features like sinks, drain boards and backsplashes.

Pros:

  • Nonporous
  • Stain resistant
  • Easily repaired
  • Seamless
  • Customizable
  • Several colors, patterns and finishes
  • Quick installation
  • Easily cleaned

Cons:

  • Not heat resistant
  • Can be scratched and dented
  • Not a natural material

Price: $40-$90 per square foot

4. Wood

Wood countertops have been used for hundreds of years. They’re unique, natural and add warmth to any space. Various types of wood and finishes can be used to fit different decor and lifestyles. For a traditional style use cherry, teak, yellow cedar, mahogany or white oak with an oil finish. For a modern or more carefree wood countertop, you can finish the wood surface with a waterproof varnish. For an eco-friendly, rustic style, reclaimed wood can be used.

rustic-wood-kitchen-top

By Hill Farm Furniture

Wood naturally contains enzymes which attack and kill bacteria, making it an excellent choice for the kitchen. Although it’s very durable, it’s not impervious to damage.

While the thought of using a butcher’s block countertop as one long chopping block may sound convenient, it’s not advisable. It would cause scratches, chipping and damage to the surface. Other options are to have a separate chopping block or have one built in.

Pros:

  • Appearance
  • Works with all designs
  • Durable
  • Gentle on glasses and dishes
  • Heat resistant
  • Recyclable

Cons:

  • Maintenance
  • Requires special care
  • Must be kept dry
  • Not scratch and dent resistant

Price: $50-$100 per square foot

5. Laminate

Although it’s often scoffed at by natural material lovers, laminate is still a widely used countertop option. Not only is it budget-friendly, new designs are helping laminate make a huge comeback.

Laminate Countertop Travertine Silver Formica

By Formica

Manufacturers are teaming up with top designers to create amazing on trend designs.
For a fraction of the cost, you can have the look of marble, granite or wood. Or, if your tastes are more modern, you can choose to go with bolder, brighter colors and patterns.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Variety of styles
  • Low maintenance
  • Easily cleaned
  • Stain resistant

Cons:

  • Laminate can crack, scratch and scorch over the years
  • More difficult to repair

Price: $8-$20 per square foot

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