Types of Countertop Materials and Choosing the Best Kitchen Countertops According to Your Needs
Your Countertop is without a doubt an essential element in the Kitchen. So think carefully in advance about what expectations you want to set for it.
Which kitchen countertop is the best option? The choice of a countertop will differ from user to user, and there is no such thing as the best choice for everyone. However, the majority would like a worktop that is maintenance-friendly, hygienic, and sustainable for use.
There are a lot of questions that determine the choice of your countertop. We want to put all materials with their advantages and disadvantages in the spotlight.
1. Laminate Countertop
The biggest plus of laminate as a worktop is the cost price. It is relatively cheap and therefore a very budget-friendly choice.
It is also available in many colors and motifs; even wood imitations are possible. This material can therefore be tailored entirely to your taste. Moreover, it is also maintenance-friendly.
Laminate has a scratch-resistant top layer and is therefore resistant to a knock. However, it is carefully blown with sharp materials and hot cooking pots. It’s not heat resistant.
Advantages laminate worktop
- Large colors and design choice
- Easy to maintain
- Light material
- Available in many sizes
Disadvantages laminate countertop
- A relatively less luxurious look
- Avoid hot pans on the worktop, use coasters
- Cutting and chopping can cause damage, as well as dropping heavy objects
- Good finish of the edges because of water that otherwise ends up in wood
2. Volkern (trespa)
These countertops have the same composition as laminate, but more layers are pressed together, making them even more resistant to scratches or moisture. Vokern (Trespa) is highly suitable for countertops.
Volkern can be obtained as an ultra-thin worktop for a sleek design. In terms of price, it is a bit more expensive than laminate.
3. Composite Countertops
Composite consists of a composition of quartz granulate with plastic and resins; this makes it a very strong material that is waterproof, scratch-free, stain-resistant, and hygienic.
But due to the presence of resins, it is heat sensitive. Hot pots or pans can cause endless circles or discolorations and should therefore always be placed on coasters.
At first sight, this type of worktop sometimes looks like a natural stone, and there are so many successful imitations.
In terms of price, depending on the composition, it is similar to natural stone as well. The significant advantage of composite is that it is available in numerous color options and designs. Composite consists of recycled: granite, resins, and quartz.
Benefits Composite Countertop
- Strong material
- Many colors and types
- Wear and impact resistant
- Hygienic, harmful substances cannot penetrate due to the density of the material.
Disadvantages Composite Countertop
- Stain sensitive
- Hot pan on the top causes discoloration
- Sensitive to caustics.
4. Countertops from natural stone
With natural stone, you bring a luxurious piece of nature into your home. It is removed from nature in block form and cut into plates with unique colors and drawings.
There are so many types of natural stone, including granite, bluestone, and marble. Granite is most often used for the Kitchen.
This material is the least porous of all types of natural stones. However, it is still best treated with a binding agent to prevent stains.
When you choose a granite that is polished or polished, that problem is solved in no time.
On the other hand, granite is available in a glossy, matte, or rough finish.
A granite worktop is heat, scratch, and acid resistant, but proper regular maintenance is recommended.
Advantages and disadvantages of granite at a glance
- A natural product that makes each leaf unique
- Granite is rock hard and very scratch resistant
- Very heat resistant
- Shock-resistant and wear-resistant
- Granite gives your Kitchen a luxurious look
- Slightly porous
- Sensitive to caustics
- Very slightly radioactive
- Granite needs maintenance
- Slight chance of heat shock
- Colored liquids can stain
Marble and Bluestone Countertop
A natural stone worktop, in the form of bluestone or marble, is porous and fragile. Furthermore, it is not scratch resistant, and it can not stand any acids.
However, this material looks very beautiful, and you can see that it is unique. The soft fragility of the material allows particular fine finishes such as grinned grooves to be possible and look very beautiful.
5. Countertop from a solid wood
To get a warmer look in the Kitchen, sometimes a wooden worktop is chosen. Not all types of wood can be used for this.
Commonly used hardwoods are oak, beech, or walnut, and the price depends on the type of wood chosen.
These natural materials have the disadvantage that they are not scratch, heat, and moisture resistant.
A protective top layer is applied that needs regular treatment with oil to stay beautiful. So it’s a maintenance-intensive material.
No matter how well you maintain the wood, there will always be some scratches and stains over time. However, this does give the worktop its natural charm and personality.
Advantages of wooden countertops
- Atmospheric appearance
- Unique, no type of wood is the same, and the appearance is different due to different treatment methods
- Hygienic, solid wood kills bacteria
Disadvantages wooden countertops
- Fragile, very sensitive to scratches and dents
- Sensitive to humidity and not heat resistant
- Requires a lot of maintenance to prevent stains and discoloration
6. Stainless steel countertop
Stainless steel provides a sleek industrial look like a restaurant kitchen. The plate is both very thin or very thick.
The material is easy to maintain and well resistant to heat, acids, and moisture. The only disadvantage is that scratches have completely free play with this material.
Over time, many scratches do flow into each other, giving just a bit more character.
You can choose a brushed or clouded stainless steel surface from the start to slightly less noticeable scratches. A not unimportant disadvantage is also the price; stainless steel is quite expensive.
- Heat resistant
- Resistant to many non-household chemicals (excluding chlorine, salt solutions, acids and alkalis)
- 100% recyclable
- You can wipe your stainless steel kitchen worktop daily with plenty of water and a degreasing, soft soap
- A stainless steel countertop is quite expensive
- Cutting boards and coasters are needed for protection
- A stainless steel worktop cannot withstand stainless steel cleaners
7. Corian countertops
Corian is a kind of plastic that is excellent to glued nicely and seamlessly. For example, with larger worktop surfaces, the seams can be concealed invisibly.
The sink and worktop can also merge seamlessly. It is a maintenance-friendly worktop, but not heat and scratch resistant and not cheap.
Benefits of Corian countertops
- Invisible finishing of seams
- Sleek appearance
- Durable material
Disadvantages Corian countertops
- Not heat resistant
- Sensitive to acids
- Sensitive to scratches
8. Ceramics countertop
Ceramics is an industrially manufactured product, with clay as its main component, baked under extremely high pressure and temperature.
This ensures a heat- and stain-resistant worktop. Because of this hardness, ceramics are slightly more sensitive to damage to the bumpers.
Ceramic is in the higher price range, and it is a rather expensive but very maintenance-friendly material. In addition, there is a wide choice of colors and thicknesses from 12mm.
Advantages Ceramic worktop
- Extremely heat resistant
- Extremely scratch-resistant
- Very maintenance-friendly
- Retains its hardness and color
- Hygienic due to the density of the material
Disadvantages Ceramic Countertop
- Sensitive to corrosive substances: Acids and aggressive abrasives or chemical products should be removed as soon as possible. These can damage the ceramic kitchen worktop.
- Sensitive to sharp/heavy objects: Pointed or heavy objects that fall hard on a ceramic countertop can quickly cause damage such as a crack or flaking.
- Higher price: Ceramic is the top material for the kitchen, but the price is relatively high compared to other materials due to the extensive production process.
9. Dekton countertop
This new material is more or less related to ceramics.
Dekton consists of a mixture of quartz, glass, and porcelain that is converted into an ultra-compact strong worktop material using special techniques and under a process of high pressure and temperatures.
This material with a wide choice of color is more substantial than composite or granite. It is scratch, smudge, acid, moisture, and heat resistant but has no advantage other than a higher price tag.
The advantages of a Dekton countertop
- Good puncture resistance
- High scratch resistance
- Maximum heat and fire resistance
- Color stability and resistance to UV rays
- Resistant to freeze and thaw (for outdoor kitchens)
- Non-combustible material
- Good wear resistance
- Low water absorption
Quartzite is very hard. As a result, Quartzite kitchen worktops can withstand a lot of the knocks of everyday life.
Quartzite is harder than granite, and they often occur as a marble look in nature, making it very user-friendly compared to marble types, which are very sensitive to scratches.
However, you can read further below about the characteristics of Quartzite and make your choice a bit easier.
Quartzite is stronger than granite, so we can say that granite falls in class 6 and Quartzite even in class 7, making it resistant to scratches. Sustainability is high on the list and can therefore last a very long time.
Even after 15 years, Quartzite still looks like new. Moreover, Quartzite is hygienic in the Kitchen and therefore makes it easy to leave the food on the Quartzite kitchen worktop without any problem.
All in all, Quartzite is very friendly to use and maintain, even with lukewarm water, is a good solution for most pollution.
11. Concrete countertop
A worktop made of concrete also consists mainly of concrete. The finish with a coating makes it suitable for working on it.
Benefits Concrete countertop
- Tough, robust appearance
- Very smooth due to the finish
- Hard and scratch-resistant
- Wear and impact resistant
Disadvantages Concrete Countertop
- Sensitive to caustics
- Requires a lot of maintenance
12. Terrazzo worktop
Terrazzo is a mix of marble and granite or other natural stone grains; Terrazzo has a unique, classic, and authentic look due to the grainy structure. Terrazzo is originally from Italy, where it is also called Granito.
Terrazzo is very durable: it has a long lifespan and is also made entirely based on natural products. Terrazzo combines the advantages of marble and granite: hard, dense, and wear-resistant.
It is a super suitable material for the Kitchen, and It is also easy to keep clean, as no specialist treatments are required.
Be careful with hot pans: just like any other type of natural stone, it can crack when there’s an unexpected change in temperature level.
Terrazzo is quite heavy: so keep in mind that the lower part of your Kitchen is sturdy enough to bear the weight.
- Terrazzo countertops fit into various kitchen styles
- Have many additional options in terms of shape and dimensions
- Stains can be removed from the Countertop
- The terrazzo countertop is repairable
- You can easily clean your terrazzo countertop with water and soft, green soap or washing-up liquid.
- Terrazzo countertops are unique, and this is reflected in the price.
- Cutting boards and coasters are needed to protect your terrazzo countertops from scratches and heat.
- Your Countertop’s coating will not withstand steam-producing appliances and will require periodic maintenance.
- A terrazzo countertop does not tolerate acidic foods, aggressive cleaning agents, bleach, or abrasives.
3 Important things in choosing a kitchen countertop in a nutshell:
1. Countertop Design
What look &feel do you want? The choice of your worktop has a pronounced influence on the overall look of the Kitchen.
For example, the color and the structure or finish of the material play a significant role in interacting with the other kitchen elements.
The visual appearance of the worktop thickness is also important.
2. Functional benefits
It might not be a good idea to make a choice purely based on design. In daily life, factors such as sustainability and maintenance also play a significant role.
Should the worktop be as maintenance-free as possible, or are you not in with regular maintenance? Should the worktop be heat resistant or not?
Can the worksheet only be a small part of the budget, or can it easily cost a little more? For example, the choice of laminate can free up space to opt for more expensive equipment with more functions.
If you prefer to opt for exclusive material such as stainless steel or ceramics, this can increase a large part of the total budget.
There is no such thing as the ideal choice. Each material has advantages and disadvantages.
Your taste, expectations, and available budget will have to determine your final choice together.