Choosing the perfect material for a kitchen island, countertop or bathroom vanity can feel overwhelming — especially with such a vast range of color options available to homeowners.
To make the process easier, here are three key factors every homeowner should weigh when choosing a countertop material.
Countertop pricing varies widely, and it’s not based on size alone. Your chosen material, edge profile and design could all factor into the total cost.
If you’re sticking to a budget, establish how much you’re willing to spend on countertops before you even visit a stone fabricator to avoid falling in love with an unrealistic option.
Keep these factors in mind as you price shop:
- How it’s priced. If you’re looking at a stock material, you may be able to use partial slabs in your layout. But if your fabricator has to special-order material, you may need to shell out for the whole slab to get the color you want.
- Measurements. Online quote tools can help you get a ballpark estimate, but to get an accurate quote, a trained measurement technician will need to measure your space in person. Stone fabricators who use laser-measure technology are likely to get precise measurements from the start.
- Your home’s resale value. Quality materials like granite, marble, quartzite or engineered quartz will actually increase your home’s value, which is not the case for less durable options like laminate.
With the right care and cleaning, any quality countertop material is likely to last for years, even decades.
Here are key durability features associated with each stone type.
- Marble: Marble is heat-resistant, making it a popular choice for bakeries and restaurants. But keep in mind that marble is prone to etching (dulling in the stone when it reacts to acidic materials like citrus or wine). If you’re concerned about etching, ask your fabricator about honed marble, which has a soft, satin finish and is less likely to reveal etching.
- Granite: There’s a reason why granite has remained a popular choice for generations! Granite is naturally very hard, and unlikely to scratch or chip with typical household use. With basic cleaning, granite will look just as beautiful after 10 years as it did the day it was installed.
- Quartzite: Quartzite is similar to granite, as it is a natural stone that is hard and durable. Because quartzite is so durable while also having a look similar to marble, it is often priced higher than most granites.
- Engineered Quartz: Engineered quartz is more susceptible to high heat than natural stone. If used in the kitchen, homeowners should plan to use trivets and hot plates to protect man-made quartz from hot pans.
Color preferences are the most subjective feature of choosing a stone. There are two main classifications you’ll have to decide between: natural stone or engineered material.
- Natural stone: Any natural stone will have unique variations in color and pattern. Visit your fabricator and view the slab in person before having your countertop installed.
- Engineered products: Engineered products, such as man-made quartz, typically have consistent coloration throughout the slab. They are also available in vibrant hues that can’t be found in a natural stone. If you have your heart set on a purple countertop, then you’ve narrowed your options to engineered materials!
As long as you partner with a trustworthy stone fabricator who’s willing to answer all of your questions, you’ll be able to find a countertop material that perfectly suits your home, style and budget.
Abby Sanders is a freelance writer.