Alternative Kitchen Countertop Ideas

Glass, slate and semi-precious stone steps outside the box of the usual granite or laminate.


Limestone countertops, known for distinctive natural beauty, also offer practical attributes such as strength and heat-resistance. Photo courtesy of AKDO

By: Kim Hildenbrand

Glass. This durable option is gaining popularity, and for good reason: It lends unique beauty, resists heat and stains, and is easy to clean. Though it can chip with heavy impact, it's ideal as an accent surface, such as a serving bar. Recycled options make it an eco-friendly choice.

Limestone. Smoother than granite, this sedimentary stone comes in a range of neutrals and whites—and often exhibits tiny fossils and shells. Limestone withstands heat, and the smooth surface is great for baking areas. However, it is comparatively fragile and can scratch or discolor.

Slate. Slate is good for countertops, as it's extremely durable, heat resistant and easy to clean. Great for food prep, it resists stains and bacteria and has a low absorption rate. Cool to the touch, slate comes in a variety of colors.

Semi-Precious Stone. This sophisticated countertop is formed from semi-precious materials, including quartz, amethyst, iron, jasper, agate, petrified wood and fossils. More durable than other natural stones, the non-porous surface resists scratches, heat and stains. The high-end countertop is available in various colors, some of which can be back-lit for a luminous appearance. The drawback? It is among the highest-priced material options.

Alternative Kitchen Countertop Surfaces

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Bold Glass Countertops

Durable Limestone Countertops

Elegant Limestone Countertops

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Tile Kitchen Countertop

Not just for floors and walls, tile makes a durable counter surface.

Composite Kitchen Countertop

Often found in commercial kitchens, this surface is made of recycled materials.

Soapstone Kitchen Countertops

This light gray stone has been used for centuries in building and makes a sturdy kitchen counter.

Engineered Stone Kitchen Countertop

Most often made of quartz mixed into resin, this surface is elegant and low maintenance.

Laminate Kitchen Countertop

This affordable surface comes in textures that mimic marble, granite and other pricier materials.

Concrete Kitchen Countertop

Because this durable surface is always custom cast, it's ideal for odd shapes.

Granite Kitchen Countertop

A perennial favorite, this stone surface delivers high performance and a high-end look.

Marble Kitchen Countertop

Best for low-traffic spaces, marble gives a room elegance and improves with age.

Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertop

This hard-working surface can make a small kitchen look bigger.

Solid-Surface Kitchen Countertop

An alternative to stone, this manufactured material is a versatile and elegant option.

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