Kitchen Countertop Surfaces Highlights

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Natural stone for kitchen countertop surfaces is a go-to choice, and have been so for thousands of years. With a pedigree like that, billions of kitchen remodelers can’t be wrong. But, what are the details of some of the most popular kitchen surfaces as seen through the eyes of your average DIYer?

Well, Mark Montie is a such a DIYer, and a writer of home improvements in general, looking to give you some pointers on using stone surfaces to create the ambiance you’re looking for. Take a look at his view of a selection of kitchen countertop surfaces to get the skinny on natural stone in your kitchen.


Stone countertops not only drive your home’s resale value up, they create a solid, elegant feel. If you take care of them well, they can last a life time. There are books full of choices for color and patterns of stone available. You can go for a classy natural look or a unique dyed option. For now, we’ll just do an overview of look, durability, maintenance, and price range of different stones.

Granite Countertop

Granite is probably the most popular choice for stone countertops because of its strength and uniquely beautiful patterns. It is an igneous rock with a fine to coarse grainy texture. Although Granite is more dense than other stones, it is still porous, and so may need to be resealed from time to time to prevent stains and scratches.

The price of a granite slab depends on the natural color (the presence of black is highly prized), the absence of visible defects, the mode of cutting (water is preferable to kerosene), and where it’s from. Generally, expect to pay from $30 to over $100 a square foot, depending on the afore mentioned qualities and availability in your area.

Marble Countertop

Marble typically contains bands or webbed patterns. They can be subtle or very pronounced. You’re likely to find a great variety of color in marble as it takes dye well. Because it is less dense than granite, your marble countertop will need to be resealed regularly. Be careful with extreme heat to prevent discoloration, and be vigilant about using cutting boards rather than cutting directly on the marble.

You’ll pay about the same for marble as you will for a granite countertop with similar price variations for density of the material and natural patterns in the stone.

Onyx Countertop

This is one of the more eye-catching options for countertops. Onyx is a kind of marble and so has a similar look to marble countertop. It can vary widely in color and usually contains distinct, billowing bands or ribbons. The stone is slightly translucent, so when bathed in light it seems to take on a warm glow. Onyx is a very soft and quite porous stone, and therefore very susceptible to scratching and staining. So it will need to be resealed often. It’s best suited for areas of lower traffic or less strenuous use.

An onyx countertop is at the higher end of natural stones, pricewise. The minimum you’re likely find it will be around $100 per square foot, but could be several times that.

Engineered Quartz Countertop

This option is a mixture of around 93 percent natural quartz and 7 percent polymer resin, depending on the maker. Engineered quartz stone countertops have several advantages over natural stone. The material is less porous and so more stain and scratch resistant without the need to seal it frequently. The resin also makes it more impact resistant. At the same time, these countertops can be very attractive.

With all this, the price of a quartz stone countertop is only slightly higher than that of granite, typically starting at around $50 per square foot. Price variations here are primarily due to techniques used to provide a natural look to the countertop.


Thanks, Mark!



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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.