Tips for choosing a kitchen countertop material

  • Article by: MARTHA STEWART LIVING
  • Updated: September 27, 2013 - 2:57 PM

When picking a countertop, price is just one factor.

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When deciding between granite and other countertop materials, first consider your budget.

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Q: I’m shopping for a kitchen counter. What are the main differences between the materials?

A: With a growing number of kitchen countertops for every style and budget, choosing one can feel overwhelming. To narrow the options, first consider your spending plan.

Low-cost materials — in the range of $2 to $10 per square foot — include ceramic or porcelain tiles and laminate.

Corian, engineered quartz and butcher block wood are all midrange options that can cost $40 to $75 per square foot.

The most expensive materials are granite, stainless steel and concrete, which typically cost $50 to $150 per square foot but can also increase the resale value of your home.

While stainless steel and concrete have the biggest price tags, there are disadvantages to each. Often, you trade practicality for a luxe finish. See below for the pros and cons of common countertop materials, from least to most costly.

Laminate

Pros

• Inexpensive

• Easy to clean and install

• Available in many colors and patterns

Cons

• Seams show at the edges

• Water can seep through seams

• Scratches and nicks easily

Tile

Pros

• Tiles resist staining

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