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New and Classic Options for Kitchen Countertops

Kitchen countertops come in dozens of materials, hundreds of styles, and thousands of color and pattern combinations. Choosing the right countertop is a pivotal decision for your home’s design and décor scheme given the significant amount of square footage occupied by kitchen countertops. Furthermore, kitchen countertops are not cheap—generally requiring substantial investment in the range of 10-15% of the total kitchen budget. With so many choices, Expressive Homes has summarized the key properties and attributes of each countertop surface to help you make the best choice for your kitchen.

Most Popular Choices


Perennially popular natural stone; beautiful and durable; versatile, classic, and luxurious. Properties of granite countertops.


Engineered stone bursting into the countertop scene; durable and nearly maintenance free; myriad of color choices. Properties of quartz countertops.


Natural wood is beautiful, warm, and inviting; mixes well with other surface materials; great for cooks who do a lot of chopping.

Stainless Steel

Maintenance free; most sanitary surface type; impervious to heat; provides a commercial or industrial feel.


Endless shape, color, texture, and style options; high strength and durability; industrial and modern, but can work well in a kitchen.


Visually stunning; non-porous; easy to clean; available in many colors, textures, and patterns; unique and contemporary.

Solid Surface

Seamless construction, including integration with sinks; can be made to mimic natural stone; many colors choices and patterns available.


New technology and style options are driving a fresh look at laminate surfaces; economical; enormous variety.


Made from natural clay, glazed, then fired at high temperatures; much harder than granite; gaining popularity; available in slabs

More Stone Choices


One of the hottest, newest, and most exclusive materials on the market; shiny or matte finish; beautiful crackled finish.


Timeless and elegant; softer than granite and less durable; develops patina; great for pastry chefs or working with chocolate.


Natural stone option; very hard and durable—more so than granite; light neutral colors and beautiful veining.


Highly durable; dense; impervious to stains; bacteria resistant.


Natural stone with neutral colors; high porosity makes it better suited for flooring than food safe surfaces; sealing and proper care is a must.


Naturally beautifully; very porous and heavily dependent on regular sealing.


Not just for flooring, slate can also be used for countertops; lower maintenance and higher affordability compared to other natural stone.


Better for backsplashes due to susceptibility to scratching; translucent and can be backlit for dramatic effect.

More Metal Choices


Develops a brown / black / green patina with time and use, great for backsplashes and accents; has antibacterial benefits, softer than steel.


Softer and less shiny than copper and steel; has antibacterial benefits; develops a blue-gray patina.


An alloy of copper and tin; harder than copper; develops a brown / black patina.


Softer than zinc; an alloy made mostly of tin with hardening agents; develops a gray or charcoal patina.


An alloy of copper and zinc; harder than copper; develops a brown / black patina.

Green and Eco-Friendly Choices


Highly renewable material due to extremely fast growing plants; durable.


100% sustainable as cork trees need not be cut down to be harvested; soft; naturally resistant to bacteria.


Made from the hulls of sunflower seeds which would otherwise be thrown out as agricultural waste.

Recycled Paper

Surprisingly durable; made from post-consumer recycled paper, binding material, and natural pigment.

Recycled Glass

Eye-catching and unique, can be used with clear acrylic binder or embedded in concrete.


Made from post-industrial scrap waste such as flakes of aluminum as a byproduct of machining and milling processes.


Susceptible to cracking; better for backsplashes; less dense and less durable than porcelain; commonly used for tiles.