Counter Top Materials-Pros and Cons

Counter Top Materials-Pros and Cons

Many counter top materials are beautiful, but are they durable, porous, non-porous, will they stain? So many questions!  Here’s a list of the most popular materials used for counter tops and a list of some pros and cons of each product.  Make sure to look at the products in person, talk to local experts, and gather information to select the right counter top material for you.


Pros: Comes in a variety of colors and patterns, smooth surface, won’t chip or dent, heat-resistant. Cons: Expensive, can be scratched or etched by acids (citrus, coffee, alcohol, some cleaning products) even if you seal it. But if you are vigilant about spills and seal your counters a few times a year (you can do this yourself with a simple spray product) marble is a good option. $100-400/foot.

Pental; Calcatta


Pros: More durable than marble, resistant to scratching and stains, heat and water if sealed, low-maintenance, high resale value, lots of color options. Cons: Expensive, requires resealing about once a year. $100-400/foot.

Pental; Azurite


Pros: Durable, highly resistant to heat, stains and scratching, making it an ideal choice for vanities and counter tops. , high resale value, lots of color options. Cons: Expensive, requires resealing about once a year. $100-400/foot.

Pental; Arabescato satin

Engineered Stones (Silestone, etc.)

Pros: Nonporous, resists scratches and stains, easy to maintain, no sealant required. Looks like natural stone (it’s at least 90% quartz) but can be mixed with pigments for custom color. Cons: Not heatproof. $50-150/foot. Brands: CaesarStone, Silestone, Cambria, etc.

Cambria Aragon

Solid Surface (Corian, etc.)

Pros: Durable, smooth surface, can seamlessly integrate sink and backsplash, easy to sand away stains or scratches, lots of color and pattern options, can imitate other materials like concrete and marble. Cons: Can be easily damaged by heat, easy to scratch and dent, can get stains. $45-150/foot. Brands: DuPont Corian, Samsung Staron, LG Hi-Macs, ECO, etc.

Corian-Zodiak Calcatta

Stainless Steel

Pros: Durable, stainproof, spillproof, temperature-proof, easy to clean and maintain, help reflect light. Cons: Can nick and scratch, can show fingerprints, noisy. $100-300/foot.

Wood/Butcher Block

Pros: Good for chopping/prep surface, gentle on delicate glassware/china. Cons: Easily damaged by burns, dents, spills and scratches, requires food-safe protective sealer, needs regular maintenance, will discolor if installed around the sink. $40-150/foot.


 Ceramic Tile

Pros: Durable, easy to install and clean, heat and moisture-resistant. Cons: Uneven surface, tiles can get scratched, cracked or chipped, grout can stain. $2-150/foot.

Lava Stone

Pros: Beautiful crackled finish, many color options, non-porous, highly resistant to heat, cold, stains and scratching, highly durable, low-maintenance. Cons: Expensive, and there’s a waiting list. At least $225/foot. Brand: Pyrolave.



Pros: Heat- and scratch-resistant, smooth, very strong, lots of texture and color options, pretty durable, can seamlessly integrate sink and backsplash. Cons: Can get cracked, somewhat porous, must be sealed and waxed, needs to be custom cast (can be pricey to fabricate). Around $80-150/foot.


Pros: Fabulous natural grey color, smooth matte feel, resistant to etching from acids, somewhat resistant to stains, scratches can be easily sanded or oiled away, not as harmful to the environment as other quarried stones. Cons: Needs regular maintenance, may crack, chip and scratch, color may darken. $75-150/foot.



Pros: Lots of color, shape and texture options, non-porous, heat-resistant. Cons: Can crack, chip or break, can’t be repaired, must be replaced, scratches and fingerprints are visible. $60-300/foot.

Paper-based Composite

Pros: Green (made from recycled paper), very durable, harder than wood, somewhat stain- and heat-resistant. Cons: Can scratch and stain, not totally heatproof, darkens over time, requires sealant, not a huge range of colors. $45-75/foot. Brand: Richlite, PaperStone, Shetkastone.

Bamboo & Paper Composite

Pros: Green, highly durable, won’t discolor over time, scratch- and stain-proof, water-resistant, more light colors than Paper (above). Cons: Only 10 colors available, requires (infrequent) regular maintenance. $35+/foot. Brand: EcoTop.

Pricing listed is general, it’s best to check on current pricing with current suppliers.

Happy Counter top shopping!


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