Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Different Types of Kitchen Countertops

Kitchen countertops are never left bare for very long – whether they are used as unloading area for groceries, cutting board for mealtime preparation, or a place to stack dishes temporarily.

When choosing a countertop for your kitchen, you should make your selection carefully. This article will help you make the best choice for your situation.

Plastic Laminate

This type of countertop is the most popular choice, so it is readily available. Choose from a wide range of colors, textures, and patterns. Laminate is durable, easy to clean, water-resistant, and relatively inexpensive. With the proper tools and know-how, you can install it yourself with no trouble.

However, because it’s so thin, it’s virtually impossible to shape and mold around awkward corners and countertop layouts. It can also be very hard to repair. It’s easily scratched, scorched, chipped, and stained. Conventional varieties have a dark backing strip that shows at its seams, and newer laminates designed to avoid this are somewhat brittle and more expensive.

Ceramic Tile

This type of countertop is good-looking, comes in many colors, textures, patterns, and finishes. And if installed properly, they’re also heat-proof, scratch-resistant, and water-resistant. You can also get grout to match the surface color. If you’re patient, you can easily install this yourself. But if you don’t install with high-quality epoxy grout between the tiles, the grout can stain and develop mildew. Grout sealers may not always be effective. Hard, irregular surfaces can also chip glasses and china.

Solid Surface

Solid surface kitchen countertops are durable, water- and heat-resistant, nonporous, and easy to clean. You can shape and install this marble-like material, but be careful, as woodworking tools can cause cracks, particularly around cutouts. It can also be joined or repaired with no visible seams. You can also easily sand out any blemishes or scratches and allows for a variety of sink installations and fittings. However, this type of countertop can be expensive and requires sturdy support underneath.


It’s nice-looking, natural, easy to install, and won’t chip glasses, dishes, and fine china. It’s well suited for old-fashioned, rustic kitchen styles. This type of countertop is also ideal as a chopping or cutting board insert.

The problem with this type of kitchen countertop is it’s the least durable of all the choices, and harder to keep clean than nonporous materials. It can scorch and scratch, and become dark or black if it is too near a sink or another source of moisture. Seal with mineral oil, but do both sides or the counter may warp. If using it as an insert, make this removable for easier cleaning and resurfacing.

Stainless Steel

It’s waterproof, heat-resistant, easy on cleanups, seamless, and very durable. You can even get a counter with a sink molded right in. Use it especially near the sink, or any other part of the kitchen where you’ll be using a lot of water.

On the other hand, this countertop is not ideal as a cutting surface, since you’re likely to damage both the surface and your knife. It’s expensive, but you can reduce the cost by using flat sheeting and a wood edge.


Granite and marble are both beautiful, natural materials. These cool, smooth surfaces are ideal for working with dough or making your own confections and candies. They’re heat-proof, water-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. However, they’re very expensive. Some homeowners and designers have turned to stone tiles – including slate and limestone – to cut back on cost. It needs to be professionally cut and polished, and is very hard to install yourself.

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