What Are the Different Types of Countertops?

You’ve decided 2014 is the year to make some big changes to your kitchen and you’re thinking about new countertops. But with so many fantastic choices out there, how do you choose the one that’s right for you? We’ve pulled together a list of a few different types of countertops to help get you started.

Natural Stone

Natural stone is usually everyone’s first choice when they think of countertops. A natural stone countertop can add sophistication and elegance to any kitchen. Not only is it a very durable material, its available in a wide variety of colors and stone types, like granite, travertine, and soapstone to name a few. Let’s take a look at 3 stone choices:


Granite makes for a very beautiful countertop choice. It has a beautiful luster and every slab is slightly unique. Granite is heat resistant, impervious to scratches, and is available in a variety of color choices.

While granite may seem to be the ultimate in countertop selections it does have a few drawbacks.
Granite counters will need to be sealed in order to prevent staining. It’s a very heavy material and will require the proper support from base cabinets and flooring. Granite can also be very costly.


Travertine is a beautiful type of limestone that’s been around for a very long time. It’s formed by minerals dissolving in ground water and then being deposited on the earth’s surface by rivers, natural springs, or geysers. Travertine is available in a variety of colors from ivory, beige, walnut, and gold. The type of finish you choose will determine the shine of the surface.

Some are things to consider when selecting this type of natural stone. Travertine is a very soft and porous material that scratches easily, and it will need a sealer, as it is very reactive to acidic solutions such as orange juice or vinegar. If you do a lot of cooking this may not be the best choice for you, as you could potentially damage it with an extremely hot pot.

Even though travertine is a very beautiful material and it is a lot less expensive than granite, it is a very high maintenance material that will need to be disinfected regularly.


Soapstone is natural stone composed of mineral talc, which gives it its soft smooth appearance and feel. It starts out light to medium gray and darkens overtime. It’s a very durable and dense material which makes it germ and heat resistant. Acidic solutions like orange juice or vinegar won’t affect it, and it doesn’t stain easily.

This is a material that will last a lifetime, but like any material it does need care. Soapstone will need to be polished with oil to keep it looking in tip-top shape. It’s not as durable as granite, it can scratch, crack, chip, or nick overtime.

If stone is not for you, here are a few other choices in counter top materials:

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel can give a kitchen a sleek, modern look. It’s a very durable, easy to clean and maintain, material. It’s heat resistant and germ resistant, but like any other material it is not impervious to damage.

Stainless steel can scratch and dent. It also shows lots of finger prints on its surface, and some acidic liquid like coffee and juice can cause discoloration if it’s not cleaned quickly. Due to its custom fabrication it can also be quite costly.


Glass counter tops can be extremely stunning in any kitchen. It’s available in a wide selection of colors, shapes, and textures. It’s a non-porous material that’s heat, stain, and germ resistant.

You may, however, want to consider a few things before choosing to install this type of counter top. Do you have children? How are you going to use your kitchen, and are you going to do a lot of food preparation?

Glass counters can scratch, crack, chip, or break. It’s a very unforgiving material that can’t be repaired…it will have to be replaced. Fingerprints are going to be an issue on glass counter tops, so if you have small children you may want to keep this in mind.

Although a glass counter top is a very beautiful material, you’ll also need to consider the cost. Glass counters can be very expensive depending on the size, style, and thickness that you choose.

Solid Surface

Solid Surface is made from acrylic, but also polyester resins, marble dust, and other pigments. It looks like stone with a non-porous surface that’s easy to clean, stain resistant, mildew resistant, and germ resistant. They are available in a wide variety of styles, colors, and shapes. Its seamless installation means there are no cracks to trap dirt or debris.

Unlike natural stone countertops, there is no sealing or special maintenance required to care for a solid surface counter. But like all materials it does have a few weaknesses.

Solid Surface countertops can be damaged by very high heat, and are vulnerable to strong chemicals like nail polish remover. These types of counter tops can be scratched, but scratches are easy to sand out.

There are so many types of countertop materials from which to choose, that we could only scratch the surface (no pun intended). However, we hope this will help you to get started with choosing a countertop material for your new kitchen.