Popular Kitchen Countertop Materials


When picking kitchen countertops, the choices are many and varied. offers the following information about some of the more popular materials to help with the decision.

  • Soapstone Resistant to stains, chemicals and bacteria, Soapstone is a durable and natural choice for a kitchen.  At $80 to $100 per square foot installed, it’s pricy, but can be a good investment.
  • Granite A durable natural stone that has unique grain, many colors and customizable finishes, making it very popular right now.  Prices start at $50 per square foot installed, but prices climb quickly when you choose more exotic slabs or have a difficult installation.
  • Copper:  Less common than other natural countertops, it is easy to clean and maintain.  However if you’re a perfectionist, it may not be for you because it reacts to different substances.  If you love the look, be prepared to pay at least $100 per square foot installed.
  • Engineered Quartz:  Perfect for custom homes, it comes in every color under the rainbow.  Engineered from ground quartz, resin and pigments, it creates a tough, nonporous material.  The price is $95 to $105 per square foot installed.
  • Tile:  A durable choice, ceramic or stone tile is a great DIY countertop if you are so inclined.  Maintenance is a bit painstaking with the grout, but a durable, darker grout could ease these issues.  Budget about $30 per square foot installed.
  • Eco-friendly counters:  There are a number of materials that all into this category, with varied price ranges.  Look at salvaged wood, Bio-Glass and bamboo.
  • Zinc:  Fallen out of favor in modern kitchens, this metal has warmth that has made it popular for many years.  The tone darkens with time and zinc has antimicrobial properties.  Figure about $100 per square foot installed.
  • Recycled Paper-Based Counters:   Who would have thought of paper for a kitchen countertop, but it is remarkably durable.  It is blends recycle papers with resins and pigments, and has the look of soapstone for a fraction of the cost (about $40 to $80 per square foot installed)
  • Plastic Laminate:  Probably the most common of all countertops, Laminate countertops have customizable edges and finishes that can work with any design.  It is not the most durable, so if you’re a heavy-duty cook, you might want to choose something else.  Easily the most affordable at $8 to $20 per square foot installed.
  • Recycled Glass and Cement:  These countertops add character to a kitchen.  It is durable and customizable, but rather pricy at $100 to 160 per square foot installed.
  • Marble:  Always a classic look and forever in style, marble offers more variety than most other material.  It’s a softer stone than granite and scratches and stains easily.  Plan on $70 to $100 per square foot installed.
  • Concrete:  You can create many visual textures and colors with pigments, stains and dyes.  Concrete can be worth the cost if you use the right sealer.  Be prepared to shell out $100 to $150 per square foot installed.
  • Stainless Steel:  Professional kitchens use stainless steel because it doesn’t stain, is resistant to heat and easy to clean.  For home use, the fingerprints, scratches and smudges will be very noticeable.  At $80 to $90 per square foot installed, it’s more affordable than most stone countertops.
  • Solid-Surface Countertops:    an engineered product that can mimic the look of stone, wood or plastic, but is more durable and needs less maintenance.  Estimate $50 to $100 per square foot depending on the manufacturer installed.
  • Wood:  There are those who think wood doesn’t belong on the counter.  But the right wood and sealer can make a beautiful warm and long-lasting countertop.  Depending on the type of wood chosen, the price can range from $30 to $85 per square foot for materials, plus installation.


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