A Fresh Look at Kitchen Countertops

By HomeAdvisor

Updated March 2, 2017

Kitchen Countertop IdeaWhen it comes to kitchen countertops, you may only think of a few types of materials including granite and laminate. In recent years, however, many other types of countertop materials have been brought into mainstream kitchen use. Some may even surprise you. Here are some kitchen countertop ideas to consider for your home. While they vary in look, feel, composition, and care, they could all make a beautiful and functional countertop for you in your home.

Stainless Steel

Traditionally heard of and seen in industrial kitchens, stainless steel has made its way to the residential scene. And for good reason. The material is extremely durable. Its smooth surface is very easy to keep clean and gives a sleek, contemporary look to a kitchen. The nonporous surface also makes the countertop antibacterial; that is, bacteria are not able to find their way into cracks and pours. It’s stain and heat resistance also makes it an attractive choice.

Stainless steel is not only functional, it is has a striking look. It complements many different styles of cabinets, flooring, and kitchen décor. Maintenance of stainless steel countertops is as easy as a simple wipe down with a mild cleaner. There is no need for sealing or waxing ever. While stainless steel is very strong, it is recommended that cutting food be done on a cutting board so as to avoid scratch marks.

Butcher Block

Butcher block has been around for ages, but less often as a kitchen countertop. It has become a popular kitchen finish in recent years, however. Their warmth and charm can make any kitchen look welcoming and rustic.

Butcher block countertops are made from long, rectangular cuts of wood that are glued together to form a slab. The pieces of wood can be glued together in many ways including edge grain, flat grain, and end grain. These different methods showcase the different sides of the wood. It can be constructed from many different types of wood, but is often made from maple because of its strength and hardness.

One of the biggest keys to beautiful, functional butcher block countertops is maintenance. Oil-treated, unsealed butcher block will look beautiful and function wonderfully for years. Every six months or so, another treatment of oil will protect and nourish the butcher block and keep it from drying and dulling over time.

Ready to start your kitchen counters?
Find Pros


Never heard of soapstone counters? Don’t worry. Many haven’t, which is unfortunate because soapstone is remarkably well-suited for kitchen countertop use. It has so many qualities conducive to food preparation and cooking that it may just be the next big thing in kitchen finishes.

Soapstone is a naturally derived stone found in the eastern part of the United States and in parts of South America and Europe. It is often noticed for its smooth, soft feel which can be attributed to the presence of talc in its natural composition. The stone is strong and durable, which means that in the kitchen, it can really take a beating. It is also heat and stain resistant. Being nonporous, it is antibacterial and very easy to clean. Another wonderful benefit to a soapstone countertop is that it’s virtually maintenance free. You don’t need to seal or oil the surface at all. Simple soap and water for cleaning will do.

Soapstone is available in several shades of gray. Each slab is unique in color and undertone, but all hover around the gray scale.


You may have never thought of concrete as a kitchen countertop material, but you may want to think again. This new countertop material is growing in popularity for many reasons. The perfect mix of beauty and brawn, concrete has it all. Its strength as well as it’s attractive, customizable look make it a great countertop choice. The color, stain, thickness, texture, and size of the concrete are totally customizable. You can also cast the concrete with embellishments such as glitter or shells.

As with any porous countertop, it is important to properly seal concrete to prevent staining. Along with regular cleaning, concrete countertops also need regular waxing to maintain their surface finish.

Recycled Glass

This eco friendly kitchen countertop choice is a popular one. Not only is it durable and good for the environment, it is also stunning. It is made from bits of post-consumer recycled glass mixed together and fused with a resin or cement binder. The result is a glimmering masterpiece of kitchen countertop. The color and size of this type of material is widely customizable. Recycled glass countertops are durable, as well as heat and scratch resistant.

Maintenance is on par with many other types of countertop materials. Regular sealing and waxing will keep the surface shining and beautiful for decades.


Quartz is an engineered stone material that has all the beauty of natural stone and all of the benefits of a manufactured material. Quartz is often known for its depth and beauty, much like natural stone. Unlike natural stone, however, it is resistant to practically everything—heat, stains, acid, scratches, and impact. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns to suit any kitchen. Quartz is nonporous, so that means easy-maintenance for you. No sealing or waxing required. The surface is durable and strong which is appealing in a workspace like a kitchen. This highly durable, low-maintenance countertop material is another top contender in the countertop market.

Which Choice Is Right For You?

There are so many kitchen countertop options available on the market today. Some you have heard of and loved for years. Others have recently made their appearance onto the kitchen finish scene. With so many choices, it is likely that you will end up having to make some hard decisions for your installation. Weighing maintenance needs with eco friendliness with the look of the countertop you choose will certainly be one of those. Whether you choose the warm, soft look of butcher block, or the maintenance-free soapstone, or the contemporary, hygienic stainless steel, you are sure to find the best countertop for your needs.

Ready to start your kitchen counters?
Find Pros

No Comments Yet

Are You Familiar With This Topic? Share Your Experience.

Compare quotes from local pros Compare Quotes
Return to Top