7 Most Popular Countertop Materials for Kitchen Remodels

We’ve worked with a variety of designers and architects on kitchen remodels throughout the years. While each designer and project are unique, we often see the same countertop materials come up time and time again – with good reason! Here we share with you the seven of the most popular counter top materials used in our kitchen remodeling projects.

Engineered Quartz

Caeser Stone Countertop in Seattle New Home | Hammer & Hand

Pental Stormy Sky Polished Quartz at Madrona Passive House

Engineered quartz has quickly become a favorite – designers have specified it for quite a few of our recent kitchen remodels. Some most commonly used brands of engineered quartz are Caesarstone, Silestone, Pental, and Cambria. Quartz comes in a variety of colors so you can get just about any look you want – from bright green to glowing white to a subtle gray.


  • Low maintenance: no sealing, polishing or ongoing upkeep needed.
  • Nonporous: resistant to stains and scratches and won’t harbor bacteria.
  • Large variety of color options available.


  • May not fit with all styles of kitchens due to its modern look.
  • Not as heat resistant as other options.
  • If you want a matte look, keep in mind that honed quartz is more porous than polished and more susceptible to staining.

Don’t confuse Quartz with Quartzite – the latter is a natural stone material (a metamorphic rock formed from sandstone) that’s also very durable but is more likely to chip.


Black Granite Counter | Hammer & Hand

Black Granite, Nob Hill Remodel

Granite is a natural stone that is very popular for its unique appearance (comes in a variety of grains, colors, and customizable finishes) and durability.


  • Comes in a variety of color, patterns, and finishes.
  • Every slab is one-of-a-kind.
  • Heat and scratch resistant.
  • Stain and water resistant (when sealed properly).
  • Easy to clean.
  • Lasts a lifetime.


  • Porous, so it needs to be sealed and re-sealed every year or two to prevent staining
  • Because it is mined, it is not the most eco-friendly option.



Concrete Countertop | Hammer & Hand

Concrete, Bungalow Kitchen

Concrete has come into its own lately, moving out of the garage and into the spotlight as home flooring and countertops. Polishes and pigments added to the concrete create a material that’s not only durable but also fits into a variety of color schemes and home styles.


  • Very durable.
  • Comes in a variety of color options – not just classic gray.
  • Can be custom-poured to fit odd sized shapes and sizes.


  • Can develop hairline cracks during curing and settling. These are just aesthetic, but can be bothersome to some.
  • Susceptible to staining.
  • Must be sealed and regularly re-sealed.

If you want a concrete countertop with a little more glitz and glamour, try IceStone – a countertop made with cement and recycled glass.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Countertop in Kitchen Remodel | Hammer & Hand

Stainless steel, Loft Conversion

Stainless steel, the pro chef’s choice, is a great option for those looking for a highly durable and functional kitchen countertop material. It has a very long life expectancy, won’t stain (hence the name), and hot pots and pans can be set right onto it.


  • Very durable and heat resistant.
  • Won’t chip or stain.
  • Works as a neutral – looks good next to a large variety of materials.
  • Nonporous and very sanitary.
  • Very easy to clean, no upkeep necessary.


  • Can feel cold and industrial.
  • Can show fingerprints and scratches.

If you’d prefer a metal countertop with a little more warmth and character, copper is a good option. It develops a unique patina over time and is naturally antibacterial.



Soapstone Countertop | Hammer & Hand

Soapstone, Modern Farmhouse

Soapstone countertops are lovely – they come in a variety of whites, grays, and blacks with unique veining throughout. It will develop a patina over time that gives the material even more character.


  • Can fit in a variety of kitchens – from modern to country.
  • Nonporous: easy to clean and won’t harbor bacteria.
  • Adds a sense of history and character to the space


  • It’s a soft stone, so it is vulnerable to chips and scratches
  • Needs periodic oiling to keep it looking nice.



Marble Countertop in Portland Kitchen Remodel | Hammer & Hand

Moonlight Marble, Skyline Remodel

Marble is a beautiful material that never fails to turn heads. It will never go out of style and adds elegance to any room it’s used in. It ranges in cost, some marble options can be less expensive than granite (a popular economy choice) while others can be four times the cost.


  • Each piece is unique.
  • A classic beauty that won’t go out of style.
  • Very heat resistant.
  • Adds a sense of history and character to the space


  • Porous – can trap dirt and bacteria.
  • Easily stained.
  • Must be kept well-sealed and well-polished to protect the marble.


Wood/Butcher Block

Wood Countertop | Hammer & Hand

Wood, Vancouver Ranch

Wood countertops are stunningly beautiful, but as you can imagine are easily damaged. If you want to put wood countertops in your kitchen consider using it in an island or as a section that isn’t around the sink area. This way you bring that warm material into the kitchen but are also protecting it from water damage. Wood, like other “soft” materials, is a favorite because it hold the story of the home over time.


  • Warm and inviting material.
  • Can be sanded and re-sealed to look like new again after a few years of use.
  • Looks good when paired with other materials.
  • Adds a sense of history and character to the space


  • Will show scratches and cuts and can crack.
  • Need to be sealed and re-sealed. Unsealed wood can warp.
  • Should not be used around sinks or water.

As you can see there is no “perfect countertop” –  each material has its own pros and cons. The trick is choosing a material that fits your aesthetic and lifestyle.


Thinking of remodeling your kitchen? Check out our kitchen remodeling services to get started.


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