Choosing a Kitchen Countertop


There are so many choices for kitchen countertops today and choosing one can be a daunting task.  The work surface you choose will set the tone for the entire kitchen so it's best to research all your options and make your choice based on your needs, budget and design.

Natural stone

Granite is the name given to a group of natural stones made up of several minerals such as feldspar, quartz, silica and mica.  It is one of the hardest stones available and is unlikely to break or crack under normal use.  You can place hot pans on granite and it can handle heavy loads and knife cutting.  On the other hand, depending on the quarry, the size can vary greatly which means your countertop will have seams and may have color variations.  Granite is also pricey and requires sealing to prevent oil and stains from penetrating.

Soapstone has a smooth surface that feels like a bar of dry soap.  It is stain resistant and has a rich dark color. Marble has a timeless and luxurious look, plus it's heat resistant.  Both marble and soapstone are very soft and not as durable as granite. Both are very porous and require frequent sealing.

Man-made Stone and Solid Surface Countertops

Quartz countertops are made of quartz rocks combined with epoxy resin binders.  It is extremely durable and does not scratch burn or easily chip.  Quartz countertops do not require sealing, are basically maintenance free and will easily handle hot pots and knife cutting.  Quartz though is expensive and heavier than granite, making installation more difficult. 

Solid-surface countertops come in many patterns and colors and are solid all the way through, making it easy to sand out scratches.  One of the most well -known solid surface countertop is Corian, made by DuPont. Solid surface countertops do not require any sealing.  However, hot pots and knives can damage its surface.

Other Countertops

Stainless steel countertops will give your kitchen a really contemporary and industrial look. It is heat resistant, durable and because it’s constructed to your specifications, can have a seamless look. Though it can be noisy and scratches easily.  Wood block gives the kitchen a warm feel but will absorb food smells and bacteria and can be damaged by water and stains.  For the budget conscious, laminate, such as Formica, is an inexpensive countertop material that comes in endless colors and patterns. Ceramic tiles also come in many colors and textures. They're durable and easy to clean but can chip easily and grout lines stain easily.


All countertop have advantages and drawbacks. Weigh all of the pros and cons, using your design ideas and budget, to make the best choice for your kitchen.

About the Author

Brandon Lau grew up in Kailua and currently resides in Honolulu with his wife Andee and children Caylah, Elijah, and David. His eighteen years in real estate led him to become a Partner at ChaneyBrooks Choice Advisors. Over the past 10 years he has developed the team and systems that has created a high level of service and value for his clients.

What differentiates Brandon and his team is his consultative approach to real estate. He advises clients with relevant data and expert insight to help them make the best choices in real estate. Good choices in planning for long term dispositions, negotiating for the best price or knowing when not to pursue an investment are ways his consultative services will give you an advantage in the marketplace. His bottom line is providing service with the utmost integrity and expertise.