While there are certainly a wide range of countertops that can be used in a kitchen, there are a few that stand out as the all-stars of the bunch, including granite, stainless steel, marble, tile, concrete, quartz and wood.
Granite is a durable, timeless and scratch- and heat-resistant countertop surface. It's easy to clean and is solid throughout, making it the perfect option for a heavily used kitchen area. Be sure to periodically seal a granite surface in order to preserve its natural design.
Stainless steel is another top countertop choice that works with a variety of kitchen styles. Since it's a nonporous metal, it doesn't have to be sealed and is naturally antibacterial, making food preparation and cleanup a cinch. Another bonus is that stainless steel is easy to clean with soap and water; dry it with a clean cloth to reduce water spots. For tough stains or scratches, stainless steel cleaner is available.
Marble is a gorgeous and luxurious countertop choice, and bakers love the surface because its cold temperature provides the perfect workspace for kneading dough. It can, however, chip easily, so it is important to periodically seal it.
Tile is also a popular choice for people who are seeking a versatile and budget-friendly countertop. Tiles are heat- and stain-resistant, and they're available in a number of colors, materials, sizes and patterns. Consider keeping a few extra tiles on hand in the event that one chips and needs to be replaced.
Concrete, quartz, wood and tile are also some of the best kitchen countertops available at home and kitchen improvement stores. Ask if samples are available to purchase or borrow, and hold them next to your cabinetry to see if they will work in your kitchen space.
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