The Classics vs. the Alternatives - Six Popular Kitchen Countertops

Kitchen Remodeling
Additions and Remodels
Small Projects and Repairs
By Contractors.com Team May 06, 2021

Plus a Few Honorable Mentions

The kitchen is the nucleus of everyday life. Whether it’s to whip up something quick for hungry kids, prepare a 4-course meal for the classiest dinner party, or work from home, all of us use our kitchens every day. And since the kitchen is such an important part of our daily routines, it must be an enjoyable place to be in. Ideally, we’d all have a kitchen that combines a perfect balance of functionality and beauty. Having a kitchen that looks good, feels nice, and works well can have a big positive effect on your mood and productivity. 

Choosing the right worktop is one of the main factors in determining how nice your kitchen looks and feels. As many interior designers attest to, a kitchen countertop is what determines the look of the room. A good solid surface countertop can also have a positive effect on your home’s value. After all, the kitchen countertop you choose will be seen and touched almost every day. So, this part of the kitchen must be aesthetically pleasing.

And although Instagram may make it seem like everyone’s opting for the same kitchen countertops (ahem, white marble, ahem), there is no shortage of choice in gorgeous countertops. Thanks to new stylistic and technological advancements, there’s a huge range of solid surface countertops to choose from ranging from the tried and true classics to some cool new alternatives. There are also plenty of places for the enterprising kitchen remodeler to get design tips and tricks

If you’re considering a kitchen remodeling project, consider this list of classic and alternative kitchen countertops. You might just find one that’s right for you. 

Marble Countertops 

Popular Countertop Choices

Popular Countertop Choices

This is one of the mainstays of classic countertops and is worth considering for your kitchen remodeling project. There’s nothing quite like a marble countertop when it comes to effortless style. Installing a marble countertop in your kitchen is a sure way to give it a classy, luxurious feel. The other benefit of marble is its permanence and durability. Marble kitchen countertops don’t need much maintenance and can last for decades. It’s also a nice surface to work on since the natural stone is smooth with no rough edges. It’s pretty easy to clean too, and just imagine rolling out some pastry dough on such a nice worktop surface. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to branch out to something different, consider getting a green marble countertop.

Classic Countertops That Aren't Going Anywhere Soon

Classic Countertops That Aren't Going Anywhere Soon

Combine green marble kitchen countertops with some copper-colored faucets, and you’ll have a kitchen that neatly blends modern minimalism with the charm of traditional aesthetics. To avoid any breaks in the style, you can also have your sink made of the same material. This will help it to fit with the rest of the worktop and will also make it feel much nicer than the standard stainless steel job most homes have.  

Concrete Countertops 

Alternative Countertops Quickly Become Classics

Alternative Countertops Quickly Become Classics

Our first alternative countertop just might be the epitome of rugged elegance and is a favorite among those who love industrial interior designs. Concrete goes well with many different materials making it a pretty versatile material to work with.  Concrete can easily be paired with steel, glass, tile, and even marble. Concrete kitchen countertops can come in nearly any shape and color you can think of, complete with details and patterns of your choosing. Your countertop can even be made to appear more like natural stone. With enough time and effort, you can even make a DIY concrete countertop for your kitchen

The Advantages of Concrete Countertops

The Advantages of Concrete Countertops

Concrete is also a famously durable material, so it’s guaranteed to last. If you’re planning to build an outdoor kitchen, concrete would be an excellent choice. A concrete countertop is sure to give your kitchen a very unique look that embodies the starkness of industrial design. Concrete kitchen countertops can even save you energy since they are quite good at capturing heat and releasing it as the temperature falls. 

Quartz Countertops 

Why You Should Pick Quartz

Why You Should Pick Quartz

Quartz stone is one of the most durable countertop materials to have come out in the past few decades. White quartz countertops give you that same sleek and smooth feel that other premium materials such as marble have. One thing to know about quartz countertops is that they aren’t 100% quartz stone. Instead, quartz countertops are a melange of quartz stone and recycled materials such as marble and granite. A quartz countertop usually costs around $200 per sq. ft. compared to granite’s average price of $60 per sq. ft.  

The Best Countertop Choices for the Kitchen

The Best Countertop Choices for the Kitchen

Quartz countertops require less maintenance than even marble and are also scratch-resistant. Because it is made from recycled materials, quartz is a “green” choice and as such is perfect for those that want to make their kitchens more environmentally friendly without compromising on that premium feel natural stone gives you. Because quartz is an engineered stone, it is much easier to work with than natural stone materials. Because of this quartz countertops can come in a variety of designs, shapes, sizes, and colors. White quartz is easily one of the most popular kitchen countertop choices for 2021 and is still growing in demand.

Granite Countertops 

Classic Kitchen Countertops vs. the Alternatives

Classic Kitchen Countertops vs. the Alternatives

Granite has been one of the most common countertop materials used. The reason for granite’s popularity is no mystery once you see how it can imbue a kitchen with natural beauty. No one slab of granite is the same, so your countertop is guaranteed to have its unique assortment of colors and patterns if you opt for granite. It's a great choice for those that want a black countertop with a rustic feel. Much like marble, granite will give your worktops that nice premium feel of natural stone. Unlike marble, it requires more maintenance. Granite tends to stain, but sealing should help to prevent that from happening. 

The Versatility of Granite Countertops

The Versatility of Granite Countertops

Besides, there are many compelling benefits. Because it is a natural material, granite is very durable. Granite countertops are scratch-resistant, which makes them great surfaces to work on. Unlike marble, granite is heat resistant as well so it won’t get damaged if you put something hot on it. Granite is also one of the more affordable countertop materials, which is always a plus. All these qualities make it ideal for use in an outdoor kitchen countertop as well.    

Stainless Steel Countertops 

Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertops

Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertops

Sometimes, the simplest choices make the biggest difference, and the minimalist interior style is proof of that. Using stainless steel countertops is a great way to infuse your kitchen with a dash of trendy minimalism and give it a more contemporary feel. It’s a countertop material that perfectly embodies the minimalist aesthetic because it effuses beauty through simplicity. A stainless steel countertop gains more character as it ages, as characteristic wear marks of stainless steel worktops tell a story of well-used worktop space. 

Benefits of Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertops

Benefits of Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertops

Stainless steel countertops are quite durable as they are both stain and heat-resistant. They are also low maintenance: the occasional scrub is all stainless steel needs, and small scratches can be easily buffed out.  An added benefit is that stainless steel combines well with other materials, making it an excellent choice for all kinds of kitchen designs. There are plenty of different finish options and edge profiles to give a stainless steel countertop a bit more of a personalized look. Stainless steel countertops are easy to install, too. So easy that this is one of those installation projects you can easily do yourself. Metal is of course completely recyclable, making stainless steel a more environmentally friendly choice as well. And nowadays that’s very much in style.   

Butcher Block Countertops

Butcher Block Countertops - Both Traditional and Innovative

Butcher Block Countertops - Both Traditional and Innovative

If you pine for the serenity of the countryside, but can’t afford a rural getaway, why not bring the country aesthetic to your home? Butcher’s block kitchen countertops made of hardwood or grain are an affordable way of doing this since they exude a warm, cozy country cottage feel. Wood is a great surface to work on since it has that distinctive solid natural feel of high-quality timber. Butcher’s block countertops are one of the most cost-effective options, costing as little as $5 per sq. ft., and can also be a budget-friendly DIY project. 

Kitchen Countertop Ideas That Aren't Mainstream

Kitchen Countertop Ideas That Aren't Mainstream

Butcher’s block kitchen countertops do however require more maintenance than some other options. Because wood is sensitive to water, butcher’s block countertops will need to be sealed immediately after installation and resealed every month after that. Having said that, keeping a butcher’s block countertop looking like new is pretty easy. Household cleaners (or even vinegar) are enough to keep the countertops clean. Small stains can be rubbed out with some salt and lemon, while bigger stains and dents can be removed with sandpaper. With proper maintenance, a Butcher’s block countertop can last up to twenty years or more, giving your kitchen many years of that warm, country feel.  

Honorable mentions

Recycled Countertops 

If you want to go all out with a fully sustainable countertop, paperstone is your best choice. This is made of many sheets of paper which are pressed tightly together. It is a very durable material and a great choice for the environmentally conscious home remodeler. 

Kitchen Countertop Alternatives to Consider

Kitchen Countertop Alternatives to Consider

Soapstone Countertops 

An oldy but a goody, soapstone fits in many different kitchen layouts. Though it isn’t new material, it never fails to give a space that coveted minimalist look. Much like quartz, it doesn't require regular sealing. It's also durable and tends to darken with time, so your kitchen’s look evolves with age.  

Why You Should Consider Soapstone Countertops

Why You Should Consider Soapstone Countertops

Glass Countertops 

Bring some nordic panache into your kitchen with glass countertops. Glass will give your kitchen a cool, icy feel that is full of energy and brightness. Glass countertops are stain-resistant, and are one of the ultimate choices for someone that wants something undeniably sleek.

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team