The Best Kitchen Countertop for You
HGTV Magazine asks, What’s your countertop style? Find the best option for you and your kitchen, no matter how much you want to spend.
from $15 per sq. ft.
Pros: “Wood really warms up a kitchen—a plus if you have stainless steel or big banks of cabinets. And it’s easy for a DIYer to install.”—Josh Temple, House Crashers
Cons: A sharp knife can damage butcher block, and so can a hot pot, humidity, and excess moisture, which makes the wood prone to warping and cracking.
Care tips: Clean it with a damp cloth and mild soap, and oil it monthly to ward off stains. Although you can sand away nicks, to make it last, don’t chop directly on the wood.
Where to buy: Home improvement stores and Lumber Liquidators (lumberliquidators.com) carry many affordable options. Look for maple (the most popular option), walnut, oak, or teak.
from $50 per sq. ft.
Pros: “Granite has a traditional look that’s a real people pleaser. And it comes in so many color combos, it’s easy to get a unique design.”—Tarek El Moussa, Flip or Flop
Cons: Because it’s a natural stone, granite is porous, putting it at risk for stains. It may also have natural fissures, which can look like chips.
Care tips: Wipe up spills quickly, and avoid putting hot pots directly on granite, as it can crack or discolor. Seal it a couple of times a year to thwart stains.
Where to buy: Find granite at home improvement stores or at online sellers such as builddirect.com. For the most choices, however, visit your local stone retailer.
from $10 per sq. ft.
Pros: One of the most wallet-friendly options, laminate offers countless looks, including solid colors, patterns, and wood or stone stand-ins.
Cons: With a life span of a decade or so, laminate doesn’t hold up as well as stone. It can scratch, burn, and chip—and repairs are difficult to camouflage.
Care tips: Skip abrasive cleaners, which can scratch this material. Instead clean it with soapy water. Prevent scorch marks by always using a trivet under a hot dish.
Where to buy: Formica (formica.com), well-known for decades, has a wide selection of colors and finishes. For other innovative looks, including seamless laminate, try Wilsonart (wilsonart.com).
from $100 per sq. ft.
Pros: Beautiful, traditional marble exudes luxury and good taste. Available in shades of white and gray, among other colors, it has a timeless look that people love.
Cons: A soft natural stone, marble is prone to staining, etching, and scratching, and it can chip if you drop something heavy on it. Also, it is expensive and requires vigilant care.
Care tips: “Get marble sealed by a pro at least once a year. For daily cleaning, wipe it with a special marble cleaner, and act fast on spills.”—Alison Victoria, Kitchen Crashers
Where to buy: Like granite, marble is available at home improvement stores, online, and at stone retailers. Popular types include Carrara and Calacatta.
from $65 per sq. ft.
Pros: It’s scratch-, stain-, and waterproof—plus, quartz comes in countless styles, from slabs in bright solid colors to versions with marble-like veining.
Cons: Quartz can cost big bucks, often as much as marble. Because it’s manufactured, it lacks the slight imperfections natural stone has that some people prefer.
Care tips: “Quartz needs virtually no maintenance. I never give my counters more than a wipe with a damp sponge.”—Anthony Carrino, America’s Most Desperate Kitchens
Where to buy: For high-quality quartz, try Caesarstone (caesarstone.com), Cambria (cambriausa.com), Silestone (silestone.com), and Zodiaq (dupont.com).
Our expert: Maria Stapperfenne, manager of Tewksbury Kitchens & Baths and president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association