Find Out What the Top Materials are for Custom Culinary Spaces
With so many different materials to choose from, our team thought we’d help make the selection process easier by breaking down the top 10 kitchen countertop materials used in custom home builds. In this article, you’ll learn:
- The top 10 kitchen countertop materials, including:
- Butcher block countertops
- Concrete countertops
- Granite countertops
- Laminate countertops
- Marble countertops
- Natural quartz countertops
- Soapstone countertops
- Solid surface countertops
- Stainless steel countertops
- Tile and recycled glass countertops
One of the most important features of the kitchen is its countertops: From natural stone and wood to synthetic, stainless surfaces, there are many different options available to create the perfect culinary space. Before choosing the countertop materials for your kitchen, it’s important to first understand the pros, cons, and pricing associated with each. Let’s get started!
The Top 10 Kitchen Countertop Materials for Custom Homes
#1 – Butcher Block
Butcher block countertops are a great option for homeowners seeking to bring rustic charm and added convenience to their kitchen workspace. The beautiful woodgrain pattern makes a great addition to kitchen islands and butler’s pantries in particular; however, many homeowners choose butcher block countertops throughout the kitchen as well. When choosing this option, it’s important to understand that butcher block countertops are not ideal for use in sink areas as the wood can easily warp with repeat exposure to moisture. Instead, you may wish to finish off these areas with an alternate material, such as stainless steel or solid surface.
While not ideal for sink areas, most sealed butcher block surfaces offer superior stain-resistance when compared to other countertop surfaces, such as granite. Not only that, but these countertops are also modestly priced without sacrificing on aesthetic appeal, making them a great option for budget-conscious custom home builders.
#2 – Concrete
If a modern industrial interior is what you seek, concrete countertops could be the thing your culinary space demands. Custom-formed concrete kitchen countertops offer endless opportunities for personalization with custom inlays and decorative features galore. Concrete is also very affordable; however, custom forms and inlays can add up quickly so be mindful of these when making your requests to your custom home builder.
One drawback to concrete countertops is that they remain fairly porous — even when sealed. This makes concrete extremely susceptible to staining and heat. Not only that, but concrete surfaces are also more likely to scratch, chip, and develop hairline fractures with time. Be sure to maintain your countertops after installation to ensure they remain in top condition for the long-term.
#3 – Granite
Granite countertops offer a unique, custom-quality aesthetic due to the sheer variety of colors, patterns, and finishes available. Highly durable to heat, cutting, and scratching, these sophisticated countertops are some of the most popular choices for kitchens to date.
If you’re choosing granite countertops for the kitchen in your custom home, it’s important to note that this particular material is semi-porous. That means you’ll need to ensure it is sealed — and resealed on an annual basis — in order to prevent against staining.
#4 – Laminate
One of the most cost-effective yet stylish countertop materials, laminate offers a vast array of colors and style choices. Easily imitate the look of granite, marble, or natural quartz without the added expense by choosing these solid, highly stain-resistant alternatives.
You know the old saying, “What you pay for is what you get.” This can somewhat be applied to laminate countertops: While budget-friendly, stain-resistant, and stylish, laminate countertops are not renowned for their durability. When it comes to heat- and scratch-resistance, it’s best to choose a natural stone material, such as quartz or granite.
#5 – Marble
Few materials exude luxury quite like marble kitchen countertops. This gorgeous white material with deep gray veining throughout is highly heat-resistant, making them a great choice for home chefs and bakers.
While heat-resistant and beautiful, marble countertops are quite porous. Like granite countertops, they also need to be sealed to avoid long-term staining. Additionally, marble is more malleable than other stone countertops, making it susceptible to scratching and nicking — especially at the edges. Marble is also one of the most high-end countertop materials available, so be prepared to pay a high price!
#6 – Natural Quartz
Compared to marble and granite, natural quartz countertops take the lead in durability. This natural stone is extremely hard, giving it exceptional strength and heat-resistance. Not only that, but unlike marble and granite, quartz is nonporous and highly stain-resistant. Because of this, quartz countertops are virtually maintenance-free and never have to be sealed.
Perhaps the only drawback to natural quartz countertops is a clash in style preference. If you’re not a fan of the stone countertop look, it’s probably not a great choice to include in your dream home build.
#7 – Soapstone
If you’re building a custom cottage, one of the best countertop materials you can choose for your kitchen is soapstone. This beautiful soft black and gray material is almost like a reverse marble with its lighter-colored veining throughout. Like marble as well, this material is highly resistant to heat damage. Soapstone’s gorgeous coloring only gets better as it patinas and darkens over time, making it the perfect backdrop for any rustic home.
Similar to marble, soapstone is a porous material that has to be oiled before using. Additionally, it’s very soft, and can nick or scratch easily at the edges just like its marble counterpart.
#8 – Solid Surface
Solid surface countertops offer durability on par with quartz. Many people mistakenly refer to these countertops as “Corian” countertops; however, this is the name of a popular laminate countertop manufacturer.
One of the most obvious disadvantages to solid surface countertops is that they appear artificial, unlike natural stone. Still, the speckled surface does offer an interesting pattern for a modern-style kitchen, so it’s worth checking out — if only for the durability benefits and cost comparison to natural quartz or granite.
#9 – Stainless
Like concrete countertops, stainless steel countertops are ideal for those looking to bring a modern industrial feel to their culinary space. These incredibly durable countertops are heat- and bacteria-resistant, making them great for large families and for use in sink areas in particular.
Despite their strong resistance to heat and bacteria, stainless steel countertops can be prone to scratching, denting, and smudging with fingerprints. Additionally, some foods can stain the color, and due to low demand and custom fabrication, these countertops can be on the more expensive side.
#10 – Tile & Recycled Glass
Eco-conscious custom home builders will love the unique look of tile and recycled glass countertops in their kitchens. Resistant to heat, cuts, and scratches, these countertops offer incredible durability as well.
The biggest drawback to this countertop type is that they are more susceptible to staining. Additionally, pricing is harder to predict as it largely depends on the type of recycled materials used and the complexity of the installation process.
Need Help Selecting Kitchen Countertop Materials for Your Custom Build?
At Lee Builders, our team is committed to completing your custom home build to your precise specifications. Our design and build team works diligently to identify the materials that work best for your style preferences and budget. Allow us to help bring your culinary vision to life by contacting our custom home builders online today!
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