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Countertops 101

When designing a kitchen, one of the toughest decisions to make is which countertop material to use. Like many other design dilemmas, it’s typically a question of form and function. The most beautiful and desirable materials have functional drawbacks and vice a versa. Cost, durability, maintenance, lifestyle, color and texture all come into play when making a decision.


Marble is clean and timeless. Colors can range from creamy gold to white and gray. But because it’s soft and porous, it’s prone to etching and scratching, and acidic foods may strip the surface if you aren’t careful. Despite a few functional drawbacks, it’s hard the beat the look of classic marble!

PERFECT FOR: The owner with classic style who doesn’t mind a little maintenance.

COST: $$$


Contrary to marble, quartz may be one of the most practical (and popular) choices for families with kids … or someone terrified of staining their countertops by choosing marble. Quartz is manufactured to be low-maintenance and durable, and it comes in a variety of colors, tones and spotting/veining.

PERFECT FOR: The house flipper or a home with kids, messy cooks and anyone looking for a care-free counter.

COST: $$$


If you can’t get marble off your mind but are worried about patina (a thin layer that forms on the surface of certain materials or stones over time), quartzite is a fantastic choice. Quartzite is a natural stone that looks just like marble – but without the maintenance. It comes in whites and grays, and shades in between. Quartzite can be nicked and scratched, but it’s less maintenance and worry than marble. However, it will need to be resealed annually to ensure proper protection (and peace of mind). Quartzite is versatile and a great choice, though it can be expensive in comparison to quartz.

PERFECT FOR: Someone who desires the look of marble but wishes for a more durable, low-maintenance material.

COST: $$$


When it comes to dark countertops, we love soapstone. This countertop material is practically black with pretty white and grey veining, and some slabs can come in a deep green as well. The only drawback to soapstone is that it’s a soft natural stone. That means if you aren’t top-notch with your knife skills, you can definitely give it a good scratch. On the flip side, this is what we love about soapstone – natural character over time. Soapstone is highly resistant to heat, and a good rubdown with mineral oil every so often is really all that is needed for upkeep. We love the natural patina that develops over time, and soapstone is a great option for a two-toned counter combo (think soapstone on island and marble surround on perimeter).

PERFECT FOR: The homeowner looking for something unique that is low-maintenance and resilient.

COST: $$$

Honed Granite

Granite is a very strong, durable material and has been a popular option in kitchens for a long time. It will eventually need to be re-sealed at some point, but not as frequently as its natural stone counterparts. Granite countertops come in a wide array of colors and variations. It is also highly resistant to chemicals, and (bonus!) it’s budget friendly.

PERFECT FOR: Families with kids or someone looking for a high-end look on a budget.

COST: $$$


Butcher block is another popular choice for kitchen countertops. Homey wood materials add warmth and character to a kitchen. It does come with a few drawbacks, though: It’s not heat or scratch resistant. The good news is, scratches can be sanded out (or left for character), but trivets will need to be used for hot pots and pans. Spills and water may also warp the wood over time. Otherwise, wood is a gorgeous and cost effective option. Butcher block/wood counters are also great for two-toned countertop designs.

PERFECT FOR: Someone that is looking for a warm aesthetic but doesn’t mind some upkeep.

COST: $$$


So now you know! And if you’re thinking of looking or listing, make sure to contact us today.

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