The pros and cons of five countertops
Words by Ashley Locke
Whether you’re building a new kitchen or remodeling an old one, the kitchen countertops are one of the most important parts of the project—after all, it’s where all the work gets done! If you’re the type of person who spends more time in the kitchen than in any other room, it’s especially important that you get this right. But how do you know which countertops are best for you? We’ve got the deets!
- Kitchens are usually “cold” rooms, and wood can bring warmth to the space.
- Butcher block is one of the cheapest materials you can purchase for countertops.
- If you’re handy, butch block is an easy material to DIY.
- When properly maintained, the countertops can last 20+ years.
- Butcher block requires monthly sealing with mineral oil.
- The wood can stain, warp, or mold when exposed to moisture.
- Wood is a soft material, so it is vulnerable to dents and scratches.
- When the temperature changes, wood can swell and shrink.
- Concrete is easily customizable, so it can fit any odd-shaped kitchen easily.
- The material can be stained in many different colors.
- It’s strong, making it very durable and long-lasting.
- Concrete is a heat-resistant material, so hot pots and pans can sit directly on it.
- The material can stain easily from wine, oil, and other liquids.
- To protect the surface, it requires regular sealing.
- It can develop visible hairline cracks over time.
- Concrete is very heavy and sometimes requires cabinet reinforcements.
- Granite is heat resistant, so no need to worry about hot pans.
- It’s one of the hardest natural stones, which means it’s scratch resistant.
- Each piece of stone is unique in color and texture.
- The material maintains its value over time.
- Granite is expensive to install and should be done by a professional.
- The material is difficult to repair.
- When it needs to cover large surfaces, it can have visible seams.
- It requires periodic sealing to protect the surface.
- The naturally cool surface is great for baking.
- Marble has timeless appeal and never goes out of style.
- It’s heat resistant, so you don’t need a trivet up to 350º.
- The unique veining can’t be replicated by any other stone.
- Marble is expensive to purchase and install, and can’t be DIY’d.
- It’s a soft stone, which makes it prone to etching from acids and hard objects.
- The porous surface causes it to stain easily.
- It’s a difficult and expensive material to repair if damaged or cracked.
- The material is one of the hardest natural stones, so it’s very durable.
- The surface is not porous, making it stain resistant.
- It’s low maintenance and can be cleaned with soap and water.
- Quartz is man-made, so it can come in a wide range of colors.
- The material requires professional installation.
- Quartz is expensive to purchase and install.
- The seams, especially in light colors, can be noticeable when it covers a large surface.
- It can become discolored from heat touching the surface.
So, the guests are gone, and you’ve cleared the countertops of all the clutter. What next?
Butcher Block: Scrape off any food and crumbs, then scrub with soap and water. Rinse your sponge, then wipe the counter again. Spray the counter with white vinegar and let it sit for 15 minutes to disinfect the surface. Wipe down once more.
Concrete: Wipe off any crumbs, then give the surface a good scrub with soap and water. Rinse away the soap with a wet dishcloth. Mix a quarter of a cup of rubbing alcohol with two cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray the counter, and let it sit for five minutes to disinfect. Wipe away any remaining alcohol mixture with a dry cloth.
Granite: Brush off any crumbs. Use a razor blade to scrape away any stubborn buildup. Scrub with a soapy sponge, then rinse the sponge and wipe the countertops once more. Mix half a cup of rubbing alcohol with half a cup of water in a spray bottle, and spray down the counter. After five minutes, wipe with a dry cloth.
Marble: Using the soft side of a sponge, scrub the surface with soap and water. Rinse away the soap, and dry the counter with a dish cloth. Do not use any acidic cleansers—they can etch the surface.
Quartz: Scrub the surface with soap and water. Rinse away any soap, then dry with a dish cloth. Mix a quarter of a cup of rubbing alcohol with two cups of water in a spray bottle, and spray down the counter. Dry the counter once more after the solution sits for five minutes.