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How to Choose the Right Kitchen Counter Material

Choosing the right material for your kitchen counters can be fun, but find out the pros and cons of each material before you buy.


  • Step 1: Consider metal kitchen countertops. Metal is heatproof, durable, and won't absorb germs or bacteria, though it can scratch and show fingerprints. The most common material is stainless steel, but pewter and copper are also popular.
  • Step 2: Shop for laminate countertops. By far the least expensive material, laminates are extremely durable and can come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and textures. Although it can scratch or scorch, laminates generally last for many years in the kitchen. Enjoy your new counters and the new look in your kitchen.
  • FACT: A reconstructed version of Julia Child's kitchen, which features maple countertops, is on display at the National Museum of American History.
  • TIP: Be wary of softer stone, which can chip and crack; and porous stone, which can absorb stains.
  • Step 3: Look into natural stone countertops. Typically granite, marble, soapstone, or slate, natural stone is available in a variety of grains and hues. Although they're expensive, natural stone countertops can add value to a home, and they're naturally heat- and scratch-resistant.
  • TIP: You can use reclaimed wood for an eco-friendly kitchen.
  • Step 4: Think about using solid-surface materials for your kitchen. Basically plastics, made of acrylic, polyester, or a combination of both, solid-surface countertops are very durable and available in a variety of colors and patterns. Although they can be damaged by high heat, scratches and scrapes are fairly easily sanded away.
  • Step 5: Check out engineered stone for your kitchen. Combining resins and pigments with the properties and benefits of real stone, engineered stone, though expensive, is extremely durable and stain- and scratch-resistant.
  • Step 6: Consider wooden countertops. Durable and affordable, most wooden countertops are rock maple and can be refinished if they get damaged. Although they need to be oiled frequently and can split if they become waterlogged, they are germ and bacteria resistant, so they make for excellent food preparation surfaces.

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