Gorgeous materials are easy to fall in love with in magazines and showrooms but will your choice end up breaking your heart and your budget?

If you’re working with a design professional they will be able to offer more specific guidance to each products performance and best use for your specific needs and bathroom or kitchen design project. If you’re doing it alone, the following guide will be useful in steering you to best options for your project and budget.

Interested in finding out more about working with a designer? Click here for a complimentary consultation.

Note: A typical kitchen is 56 square feet. The prices mentioned include installation.

Granite is best for a natural stone look and can withstand heavy use as it resists heat and scratches as well as stains when properly sealed. Price: $40 – $100 per sq. ft. $2,200-$5,600 for typical kitchen. Tip: Save money by shopping for remnants from a fabricator.

Quartz is stain and heat resistance and low maintenance because it does not need sealing but edges and corners can chip. All-white quartz counter tops are a good option thanks to modern technology that gives them the purest tone. Price: $40 – $100 per sq. ft. $2,200-$5,600 for typical kitchen Tip: If you go this route make sure to round edges, which will help with chipping.

Recycled Glass it is resistant to heat, cuts and scratches but chips and stains can be a problem. Price: $60 – $120 per sq. ft. $3,300-$6,700 for typical kitchen.

Laminate is the most affordable by far and it has come a long way. The latest printing technologies create faux patterns that look like real stone. It is excellent at resisting stains and heat damage and is simple to install but it easily scratched by knives and cannot be repaired. Price: $10 – $40 per sq. ft. $560 – $2,200 for typical kitchen.

Butcher Block is popular in country styled kitchens and is easy to install and repair. It stains easily and will need periodic sealing’s or refinishing to remove cuts, dings and scratches. Price: $40 – $100 per sq. ft. $2,200-$5,600 for typical kitchen.

Soapstone withstands heat well and small scratches can be repaired but it is easily sliced, scratched and stain resistance is not great. However, if it is rubbed with mineral oil correctly when installed and periodically done by the home owner it can be better than anything for stain resistance. Price: $50 – $100 per sq. ft. $2,800-$5,600 for typical kitchen. 

Concrete is great for customizing as it can be dyed or textured. It is susceptive to cracks and the durability depends in the fabricators skill and the sealers used. Price: $60 – $120 per sq. ft. $3,300-$6,700 for typical kitchen.

Solid surface or engineered products, like Engineered Quartz or Ceaserstone are great for seamless installations, especially in bathrooms. Many design options are available, many that mimic concrete, stone or quartz. It is stain resistant and small nicks and scratches can be repaired. However, it is easily scratched, only heat resistant below 400 degrees and stone finishes can look too uniform to be natural. Price: $35 – $100 per sq. ft. $1,900-$5,600 for typical kitchen.

Stainless Steel is best for a modern kitchen and it repels stains and heat and does not rust or discolor but it does show fingerprints and dents and scratches easily. Price: $50 – $150 per sq. ft. $2,800-$8,400 for typical kitchen. Tip: Matte or grain finishes hid damage better.

Limestone withstands heat well but is very soft so it is easily sliced, nicked and scratched. It is also porous so it stains easily, even when it is properly sealed. Price: $50 – $100 per sq. ft. $2,800-$5,600 for typical kitchen.

Tile is great near stoves as it is heat resistant and comes in a wide range of colors and styles. Durability is a problem as it chips easily and the grout stains even when it is sealed. Price: $5 – $30 per sq. ft. $280 -$1,680 for typical kitchen. Tip: Thinner grout lines and darker grout may help.

Marble is typically not good in high traffic areas. Polished marble it is not stain resistant, scratches easily and needs to be sealed periodically to resist stains. However, a good honed marble that is sealed well will not etch, resists heat and is quite durable. Price: $50 – $150 per sq. ft. $2,800-$8,400 for typical kitchen.

Bamboo is easily stained, scorched sliced and nicked so it is best for show and not everyday use. Price: $40 – $100 per sq. ft. $2,200-$5,600 for typical kitchen.

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