Which Countertops Are Most Expensive?

In the market for new countertops? We're giving you the lowdown on seven high-end countertop material options.

Modern Kitchen with Clean Lines, Striking Light Fixture

Modern Kitchen with Clean Lines, Striking Light Fixture

This modern kitchen features plenty of light and clean lines. The clean white cabinetry offers brightness that is reflected in the marble-top island. The square brass bar stools with white leather cushions provide seating that is both stylish and functional. A stunning design focal point is the striking modern light fixture.

Photo by: Chipper Hatter

Chipper Hatter

When choosing new countertops for a kitchen or bathroom, your first step is establishing a budget and matching it to a material that fits your means. Beyond the price of the material itself, be sure to factor in other fees such as professional installation and sealing.

While there are dozens of countertop materials available starting around $15 per square foot, spending a bit more on a quality product is often worth it for the added durability and beauty. Let’s look at some of the most popular high-end countertop materials and their pros and cons. This list will help you gauge what material is the best fit to incorporate into your home and your lifestyle.

Concrete

Modern Black and Gray Kitchen with Concrete Countertops

Modern Black and Gray Kitchen with Concrete Countertops

Black lower cabinets, with clean lines and no exterior hardware, along with gray concrete countertops, provide a strong base and visual contrast with the wood floors and open shelving in a light finish.

From: Fixer Upper
and Fixer Upper

Photo by: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

The ultimate in durability, concrete countertops are also very versatile. $100-$150/square foot.

  • Adaptable to color changes with different stains and dyes
  • Heavy!
  • Relatively easy to custom cut
  • Typically limited to more contemporary home design

Marble

Crisp Midcentury Modern Kitchen Design With Marble Backsplash and Octagon Pendant Lights

Crisp Midcentury Modern Kitchen Design With Marble Backsplash and Octagon Pendant Lights

This beautifully crisp kitchen design features a polished light color scheme and sharp lines. A trio of octagon pendant lights hangs over the island marble countertop. The backsplash echoes the marble finish between light, neutral cabinets.

Photo by: Kendall Simmons

Kendall Simmons

Marble tops the most-expensive list due in large part to its elegant looks. The good: It will instantly lift your kitchen or bathroom to another level. The bad: It requires some regular maintenance to ensure its legacy. Plan on $75-$250 or more per square foot.

  • Incredibly good looks
  • High maintenance cost
  • Not a good choice for heavy use areas
  • Susceptible to chips and stains
  • Money-saving tip: Choose “lesser” grades and colors and go with tile instead of a slab

Recycled Glass and Cement

Terrazzo Backsplash in Kitchen With Blue Cabinets

Terrazzo Backsplash in Kitchen With Blue Cabinets

Designer Massucco Warner Miller chose terrazzo, concrete mixed with small bits of recycled glass, to create a sea-glass-inspired, eco-friendly kitchen backsplash.

Photo by: Photography by David Fenton

Photography by David Fenton

This eco-friendly material mix looks great in contemporary rooms. Prepare to spend $100-$160/square foot.

  • Very durable
  • Eco-friendly
  • Unique and attractive
  • Customizable
  • Can be harder to find

Quartz

White Cambria Quartz Countertop on Wide Blue Kitchen Island

White Cambria Quartz Countertop on Wide Blue Kitchen Island

Durable white quartz tops this wide blue kitchen island, providing a great place for food preparation or casual dining.

Photo by: RM Studio Corp

RM Studio Corp

Engineered quartz countertops are made from about 93 percent natural quartzite crystals, as well as resins, dyes and various other materials. A big plus is it comes in lots of attractive colors and even allows customized coloring during production. Quartz tips the scales at $55-$155/square foot.

  • Very durable and will basically last a lifetime
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Has a beautiful gleam
  • Tile installation saves money but takes longer

Granite

Glamorous Features in Contemporary Kitchen

Glamorous Features in Contemporary Kitchen

This large and glistening granite kitchen island sings out in the kitchen of this Avon, CO mansion.

Photo by: Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Super tough and a very popular choice in kitchens and bathrooms alike. Fortunately, prices have reached more palatable levels. Like marble, granite needs a little TLC, such as regular sealing. $45-$200/square foot.

  • Sophisticated looks that dress up any room
  • Durable and very heat resistant
  • Thousands of available colors
  • Medium to high maintenance cost
  • Susceptible to chips if not sealed
  • Save money by installing tiles instead of slabs

Soapstone

Bright, Transitional Farmhouse Kitchen

Bright, Transitional Farmhouse Kitchen

The goal for the kitchen was to keep the original charm of the client’s home while updating the kitchen in a way that was fresh and current. Dark soapstone countertops offer beautiful contrast against the crisp white cabinetry, and Carrera marble subway tile for the backsplash adds a timeless and luxurious touch to the design. The stainless steel appliances and sink create a more transitional feel, while the shaker style cabinetry doors and schoolhouse light fixture reflect the original style of the home.

Photo by: ERIKA BIERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

ERIKA BIERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Soapstone lends an enduring, natural look to a room with its darker color and smooth texture. It’s a favorite in older homes and takes on a unique patina over time. $70-$120/square foot.

  • Stain resistant (to a point)
  • Rich color tones
  • Low maintenance
  • Must be treated with mineral oil
  • Susceptible to scratches
  • Requires professional installation

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Countertop In Contemporary Kitchen With Light Wood Cabinets and Clerestory Windows

Stainless Steel Countertop In Contemporary Kitchen With Light Wood Cabinets and Clerestory Windows

Light wood cabinetry and neutral pastel tiles soften the industrial look of the stainless steel countertop and appliances. A clerestory window lets in natural light to keep the space bright. The thin floor space is maximized by building the fixtures alone both sides leaving a clear isle and uncluttered counters.

Photo by: Larny J. Mack

Larny J. Mack

The lower end of the high end, stainless steel brings a mix of pros and cons. $80-$100/square foot.

  • Stainless is great for cooking and entertaining
  • Resistant to heat
  • Super easy to clean
  • Attracts fingerprints and can scratch easily

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