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6 Essential Considerations for Choosing Kitchen Countertops

June 14th, 2024 | 5 min read

By Christine Gauthier

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Selecting the right kitchen countertops can be a game-changer for functionality and style. With so many options available, weighing all the factors to make the best decision for your home is essential.

Over the years, we’ve guided many homeowners through selecting their ideal kitchen countertops. We understand that this decision goes beyond just looks—practicality, durability, and maintenance are equally important. 

In this article, we’ll explore the most important things to consider when choosing kitchen countertops:

  1. Choosing the Right Material for Your Countertops
  2. Evaluating the Aesthetic Appeal of Your Countertops
  3. Considering the Functionality of Your Kitchen Countertops
  4. Planning Your Countertop Budget
  5. Assessing the Maintenance Needs of Your Countertops
  6. Thinking About the Environmental Impact of Your Countertop Choices

1. Choosing the Right Material for Your Countertops

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The material of your countertop is a crucial factor, as it impacts durability, maintenance, and overall look. Each material comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

Common Materials:

  • Marble: Marble offers a luxurious and classic look. Its iconic veining adds a touch of elegance to every kitchen counter. It’s important to note, however, that marble is more porous and prone to scratching and staining. It requires regular sealing and careful maintenance.
  • Granite: Known for its natural beauty and durability, granite is a popular choice. It’s heat-resistant and scratch-resistant but requires periodic sealing to prevent stains. Additionally, granite countertops are very heavy, which may require extra structural support in your kitchen.
  • Butcher Block: Butcher block countertops offer a warm, rustic look and are great for food preparation, as they are gentle on knives and can be sanded to remove scratches. They are also relatively affordable and easy to install. However, butcher block countertops require regular maintenance, including oiling to prevent drying and cracking. They can be prone to stains, burns, and scratches, and are less heat-resistant than other materials.
  • Quartz: Engineered from natural quartz and resin, quartz countertops are non-porous, stain-resistant, and low-maintenance. They come in various colors and patterns. On the other hand, quartz is not heat-resistant, so it’s essential to not place hot pots and pans directly on its surface.


  • Durability: Choose a material that can withstand kitchen activities.
  • Maintenance: Be realistic about how much maintenance you will perform.
  • Cost: Balance your budget with the desired look and longevity of the material.

2. Evaluating the Aesthetic Appeal of Your Countertops

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The look of your countertops plays a significant role in the overall design of your kitchen. Consider your selection an opportunity to complement your cabinets, flooring, and backsplash.

Style Choices:

  • Finish: Matte, polished, or textured finishes offer a different aesthetic and feel.
  • Color: Countertops come in a wide range of colors. Consider whether you want a bold statement piece or a subtle, cohesive look.
  • Pattern: The design can impact the room's visual flow, from solid colors to intricate veining or speckled patterns.


  • Personal Taste: Choose what you love and what feels right for your home.
  • Trends: While trendy choices can be appealing, consider how the style will age.
  • Consistency: Ensure your countertops harmonize with other elements in your kitchen.

3. Considering the Functionality of Your Kitchen Countertops

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Your kitchen countertop is a workspace, so its functionality is paramount. Consider your kitchen use and choose a countertop that meets those needs.

Functional Aspects:

  • Stain Resistance: Crucial for busy kitchens prone to spills and messes.
  • Scratch Resistance: Essential if you do a lot of food prep directly on the surface.
  • Heat Resistance: Important for those who frequently cook and place hot items directly on the countertop.


  • Cleaning: Opt for a surface that is easy to clean and maintain.
  • Resilience: Select a material that can handle wear and tear over time.
  • Usage: Think about your daily kitchen activities and how they might affect the countertop.

4. Planning Your Countertop Budget

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Budget is a key factor in any renovation project. Countertop prices can vary widely based on the material and quality.

Budgeting Tips:

  • Set a Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend before shopping. If you don’t have a set budget yet, consult a remodeling professional or research costs online before starting.
  • Material Costs: Understand the cost differences between materials and find the best option within your budget.
    • Butcher Block: $50-$150 sq/ft
    • Granite: $60-$120 sq/ft
    • Marble: $60-$180 sq/ft
    • Quartz: $90-$110 sq/ft
  • Installation Costs: Factor in the cost of professional installation, which can vary based on the job's complexity.


  • Long-Term Value: Invest in a quality countertop that offers long-term durability and satisfaction.
  • Cost vs. Benefit: Weigh the benefits of higher-end materials against their costs.
  • Financial Planning: Plan for additional expenses such as sealing, maintenance, or repairs.

5. Assessing the Maintenance Needs of Your Countertops

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Different materials require varying levels of maintenance. Consider how much time and effort you will put into keeping your countertops looking their best.

Maintenance Requirements:

Marble Countertops

  • Sealing:
    • Frequency: Every 6-12 months.
    • Purpose: Prevents staining and etching.
    • Process: Clean the surface, apply a marble sealer, and let it absorb before wiping off the excess.
  • Cleaning:
    • Daily: Use a mild, pH-neutral cleaner or warm water with a soft cloth.
    • Avoid: Acidic or abrasive cleaners that can etch the surface.
  • Repairs:
    • Minor Scratches: Buff out with a marble polishing powder.
    • Stains: Use a poultice to draw out stains.
    • Cracks/Chips: Professional repair is recommended for filling and polishing.

Granite Countertops

  • Sealing:
    • Frequency: Every 1-3 years, depending on usage and porosity.
    • Purpose: Protects against stains and bacteria.
    • Process: Clean the surface, apply a granite sealer, allow it to penetrate, and then wipe off the excess.
  • Cleaning:
    • Daily: Use a granite-specific cleaner or mild soap and water.
    • Avoid: Harsh chemicals and abrasive pads.
  • Repairs:
    • Minor Scratches: Buff with granite polish.
    • Stains: Use a granite stain remover or poultice.
    • Cracks/Chips: Professional repair for filling and polishing.

Butcher Block Countertops

  • Sealing:
    • Frequency: Monthly oiling with food-grade mineral oil.
    • Purpose: Prevents drying, cracking, and water damage.
    • Process: Clean surface, apply oil generously, let it absorb, and wipe off excess.
  • Cleaning:
    • Daily: Mild soap and warm water with a soft cloth.
    • Avoid: Excess water, bleach, and harsh cleaners.
  • Repairs:
    • Scratches: Sand down lightly and re-oil.
    • Stains: Sand the affected area and re-oil.
    • Cracks: Fill with wood filler, sand, and re-oil.

Quartz Countertops

  • Sealing:
    • Frequency: Not required as quartz is non-porous.
  • Cleaning:
    • Daily: Use mild soap and water or a quartz-specific cleaner.
    • Avoid: Harsh chemicals, bleach, and abrasive pads.
  • Repairs:
    • Minor Scratches: Use a quartz polish or buffing compound.
    • Stains: Usually, stains can be cleaned with a mild cleanser.
    • Cracks/Chips: Professional repair is recommended, especially for deep or large damage.


  • Time: Each countertop is going to require different levels of upkeep. Choose a countertop that fits your lifestyle and maintenance preferences.
  • Products: Ensure you’re comfortable using the recommended cleaning and sealing products.
  • Longevity: Proper maintenance can extend the life of your countertops, so be realistic about your commitment to upkeep.

6. Thinking About the Environmental Impact of Your Countertop Choices

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For environmentally conscious homeowners, the sustainability of the countertop material may be a deciding factor.

Eco-Friendly Options:

  • Recycled Materials: Some countertop companies, like IceStone, PaperStone, and Alkemi, make their options from recycled glass, paper, or other materials, reducing environmental impact.
  • Natural Stone: Natural stone is typically an eco-friendly option for countertops because it is a durable, long-lasting material that requires minimal processing. Additionally, natural stone can be locally sourced, reducing transportation emissions and supporting local economies.
  • Bamboo: A renewable resource, bamboo countertops are sustainable and stylish.


  • Sustainability: Research the environmental impact of your chosen material.
  • Certifications: Look for certifications like GREENGUARD or FSC to ensure eco-friendliness.
  • Recycling: Consider materials that can be recycled at the end of their lifespan.

Next Step to Installing Your Kitchen Countertops

Choosing the right kitchen countertops can be overwhelming, considering many materials and styles. If you don't select the best option, you might face issues like frequent maintenance, damage, or a mismatched look in your kitchen.

By reading this article, you’ve learned about the different types of materials, their functionality, how they fit into various budgets, and the maintenance each one requires. This knowledge will help you make a well-informed decision and choose countertops that enhance your kitchen's beauty and practicality.

With 15+ years of experience in kitchen design and remodeling, we understand the challenges you face in selecting the perfect countertops. We’ve guided countless homeowners through this process, ensuring they choose materials that suit their lifestyle and design preferences.

Ready to transform your kitchen? Contact our team of design professionals today to discuss your countertop options and get started on your dream kitchen makeover. 

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Now that you know more about six essential considerations for choosing your kitchen countertops, let’s explore more details about marble countertops, a high-level comparison of quartz and granite countertops, and how much your elegant culinary sanctuary will cost:

Christine Gauthier