Kitchen countertops are so much more than surface space to set your coffee, cooking utensils and small appliances. They can bring a look together, set a tone and even add drama. They can even add excitement. Think about the feeling you get when your counters are clean and clear of clutter — kitchen bliss! Having uncluttered countertops makes it even more important to love their appearance. A variety of materials for kitchen counters has come in and out of style, and each has perks and drawbacks. To determine the right countertop material for your space, consider these pros and cons.

Concrete

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The popularity of concrete in kitchens continues because of the material’s versatility, both for filling spaces of any configuration and color options. If you’re willing to sacrifice the time and effort to keep it properly sealed, concrete is a fantastic choice because it can be poured and colored to fit any space or style.

Pros: Relatively inexpensive, stain resistant (when sealed), grout lines aren’t visible when seam filler is used, limitless color and shape options, endless edge details and textures possible, accepts inserts and inlays.

Cons: Requires regular resealing, but cannot tolerate heat once sealed (heat can cause discoloration).

Stone

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This category includes popular choices like marble, granite, quartz and engineered stones and is the most popular choice, according to our Twitter poll (see below). Because the options for color and surface style are endless, you can create a completely customized look with stone countertops.

Pros: Tends not to chip or dent, comes in a variety of colors, and is relatively heat resistant.

Cons: Can be more expensive, tends to be porous and likely to absorb stains, requires resealing a few times per year (except for quartz, which never needs resealing).

Solid Surface Composite (Corian)

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If you like the look of marble and granite but want something more cost effective that won’t damage as easily, look no further than Corian. If you’ve got kids or teens who cause frequent spills and drops, composite surfaces are a great choice because they tend not to stain.

Pros: Creates a durable and smooth surface available in a rainbow of colors and many patterns, can create a seamless look with kitchen sink and backsplash, low maintenance (doesn’t require resealing).

Cons: Not heat resistant, and lighter colors can absorb stains if not sealed.

Wood

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From variegated butcher block to solid wood countertops, wood remains popular for bringing a warm feel into a kitchen. If you’re in a frenzy to get dinner on the table, setting down hot pots, chopping and splashing water around, perhaps wood isn’t the best choice for you.

Pros: Can be used as a prep surface if sealed with food-safe protective sealer, more forgiving if fragile plates or glasses are dropped.

Cons: Requires regular resurfacing, tends to discolor if left wet, heat can cause discoloration.

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Which material sounds like the best fit for your kitchen? In our recent Twitter poll, more than 9,000 followers voted for their favorite kitchen counter materials. The results:

  • 61% stone, with many mentioning quartz and marble
  • 15% stainless steel
  • 12% wood
  • 12% concrete