The Best Countertop Materials for Home Cooking

If you’re a budding home cook who’s sick and tired of wiping sticky smudges off your worn-out laminate countertops every time you make dinner, this post is for you. Besides updating your kitchen’s style, installing new countertops can streamline your meal prep, speed up the cleanup process, and increase your home’s value. Our last post included kitchen design tips for bakers, so this week we’re going to sharpen our knives and don our finest pots and pans as we explore the best countertop materials for serious stay-at-home chefs.  

When cooking from scratch, equipment matters. Ideally, your countertop should possess enough heat-resistance to hold up under a hot pan, a sealed surface to prevent staining caused by oils, citrus, and wine, and be built from a non-porous material to inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold. This disqualifies wood, bamboo, and laminates–but there are still plenty of attractive and affordable countertop options for homeowners of the culinary persuasion.

1. Granite

Granite’s natural beauty and rock-hard construction make it one of the most popular choices for new countertop installation. No two slabs are alike, making each granite countertop a one-of-a-kind work of art guaranteed to increase your home’s value. Granite is nearly impervious to heat and you’ll dull your knives before you’ll scratch it, so cutting boards are required. After being professionally sealed, granite provides a sterile, non-porous surface for years of maintenance-free cooking.

2. Quartz

If you’re looking for a reliable manmade alternative to granite, quartz is the ticket. Also advertised as “engineered stone,” this combination of rock, resin, and colorings can be easily manufactured to replicate the look of marble, granite, and other materials while maintaining heat-resistance and hardness. Quartz countertops require no additional sealant, and each slab leaves the factory with perfect uniform dimensions, making it a wise choice for DIY installation.

3. Ceramic Tile

Cooks who want to express themselves through their countertops in addition to their culinary skills should consider tile. Though often less expensive than granite or quartz, tile packs a punch with impressive heat-resistance and a smooth, sealed surface to resist staining. If installed using a water-resistant grout, tile can last for years. Modern production methods are capable of manufacturing tiles in an enormous variety of styles, emulating the look of wood, marble, and even leather, for endless customization. Tile is also commonly used in backsplashes for its easy maintenance and simple DIY installation.

4. Marble

Though waterproof and invincible to heat, marble’s softness and high cost-of-entry make it more of a decorative material than a reliable kitchen work surface. Rarely do you see an entire kitchen done in marble, but it has a big visual impact on kitchen islands and baking stations.

Is it time to turn up the heat on your kitchen countertops? Give us a call or visit any of our four northeast Ohio locations for everyday wholesale pricing on premium granite, quartz, and marble countertops, ceramic tile, kitchen & bath cabinetry, and more! Schedule an in-home shopping appointment with us and we’ll include the measurements and estimate for free!