Made of durable acrylic, solid surface countertops are designed to withstand years of wear and can include an integrated sink with seamless installation. Solid surfaces resist stains, moisture, sunlight, and heat and can be repaired with light buffing. Cost ranges from $50-$75 per square foot.
Durability and good looks keep granite and quartz in high demand, but other natural materials are also gaining ground. In luxe kitchens, timeless marble is coming on strong. In addition to its beautiful look, marble appeals to serious cooks because it is durable and scorch-resistant. Expect to pay $120 or more per square foot.
Granite's natural beauty and near diamond-hard durability make it an ideal material for countertops. It resists heat, scratches and stains and requires no sealing. Since it is non-porous, it also protects against mold and mildew. As for price, granite begins around $40 per square foot.
While most of us think butcher-block when we hear wood countertops, there's a case to made for various hardwoods like maple, mahogany, and cherry, as well as current popular choices like madrone. Not only do these time-honored materials add a warm, cozy feel to any style kitchen, they can be refinished numerous times and will age beautifully. Cost ranges from $30–$100 per square foot.
Soapstone has been a staple in labs for ages, because it is extremely durable and impervious to virtually all chemicals. As a kitchen countertop it offers the same benefits, plus a distinctive look. Since it is non-porous and chemically- and temperature-neutral, it is resistant to staining and scorching. It can be left to age naturally or sealed for a darker, richer look. Expect to pay $50 and up per square foot.
Quartz-surfacing countertops are made of 93 percent crushed natural quartz blended with color pigments and plastic resins. In addition to being available in a broad range of colors and designs, the non-porous material offers hygienic anti-bacterial benefits. Costs start around $70 per square foot.
Concrete is a favorite for people wanting a more industrial look. It is extremely versatile and can take on many different colors, shadings, patterns, and sheens to suit any kitchen style. Concrete countertops can be poured in place or fabricated off-site and installed later. Expect to pay $100 or more per square foot.
Durable and affordable, tile comes in various colors, sizes, and textures and can be made of porcelain, ceramic, or stone. Prices vary, with the least expensive choices beginning at $2 per square foot. It is also a great DIY project. Just be sure to seal any grout used between the tiles to ward off bacteria buildup.
Stainless steel countertops can be found in kitchens ranging from traditional to contemporary. The appeal stems in large part from the popularity of stainless steel appliances. It is particularly suitable for the areas around cooktops and ranges where hot pots and pans are placed, or center islands where food prep and serving are the main focus. Costs start around $78 per square foot.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly countertop or a retro look, simple laminates keep costs in line (prices begin around $5 per square foot). The material is fairly durable, but not heat-resistant. Installation is relatively quick, helping to keep costs down.
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