Burning Question: Counter Intelligence?

When it comes to kitchen counters, which material do you like best? Are you a sucker for natural stone options like granite or marble? Or manmade materials like Corian and Silestone? Do you love the charming and rustic look of butcher block or tile? Or adore the eco-friendly stuff like recycled glass and sustainable bamboo? Is sleek stainless steel or industrial poured concrete more your speed? Or do you like the easy care and low cost of laminate? How about a combination (like a butcher block island with marble counters)? So many choices, so little time…



  1. Keren says

    I heard that some natural stone material like granite emite off gases into the air. Plus they are so hard, if I drop a plate on them the plate may break….the same may happen though with concrete, which I think looks great…even in a traditional/eclectic home

  2. Loren says

    I can’t help it I voted for everything but ‘laminate’. I’ve seen some newer laminate that looks very nice.
    But my experience as a rented has only presented me with 5+ year old warped, stained, and discolored laminate counters.
    I can’t help but be biased against them.
    By the time I can afford my own house and to renovate my kitchen I might have changed my mind because it’s hard to beat the price tag on laminate counters.

  3. says

    Or option H!: Everything but laminate! This is too tough a choice! Of course I understand why laminate is often chosen. It certainly is the economical choice, so no judgment here.

    But a gal can dream of butcher’s block and granite right??

  4. Alexis says

    I love counters with a contrasting island (i like butcher block islands).

    Just a quick question, as I am confused. I was under the impression that silestone is quartz (like Xerox is a copier). How is it different?

    • says

      Hey Alexis,

      Good question! Silestone is made from little chips of quartz but it’s considered to be a manmade engineered product since other compounds are mixed in as well to form the counter (whereas granite and marble are solid slabs that are naturally found and not engineered – other than being cut and polished). Hope it helps!


  5. Jen says

    We have butcher block counters in our small kitchen and I love the way they look. The only problem is that people think they are a cutting board and I’m constantly reminding guests (and my husband) that it is our countertop and we have cutting boards for things like that. We need to do a good sand and refinish of them this year to get them looking like new again!

  6. Julie says

    I love the look of marble but I can’t afford it so I’m putting butcher block in my kitchen. I can’t wait til it’s finished!!!

  7. Ursula says

    I worked at a granite manufacturing plant and nothing is more perfect to me than granite and marble. Whether it’s sleek Black Absolute or Blue Eyes, warm Santa Cecilia or Giallo Veneziano, or dramatic like Kashmir Gold or Ruby Red, nature makes the most beautiful product. That’s why granite will always be the most popular option.

  8. reagan says

    Do you guys have any experience or know of anyone who has used the Rust-Oleum Countertop Coating to redo their countertops?

  9. Kate says

    I picked “industrial choices like stainless steel or concrete” but I think concrete countertops don’t have to look industrial, and in fact can look very warm and non-industrial. And, they are eco-friendly too! We picked concrete countertops and LOVE them. My whole family, including my husband, weren’t completely sold on the idea, but now they love them. My husband wants them in our next home (assuming we’ll buy a place that needs major fixing up).

  10. Kasey says

    In our first home [which we rented] we had Laminate. I did not like it. It just felt ‘cheap’, not that there is anything wrong with that but it was starting to pull up on some corners and crack along the sink. Our second house [which we also rented] we had Corian which was a LOT better then the Laminate but I hated how it was made to ‘look’ like Granite but it didn’t have the nice shine and sleek feel of ‘silk’ when you run your fingers across it.

    We bought our first home this past February and the previous owners had JUST installed a new *Granite* counter top and out of the previous two types we have had, the Granite it much better. It’s shiny and sleek. I also like how it’s pretty much ‘scratch-proof’.

    I would love to try out something for our Island though, maybe a butcher block of some kind.

    All in all I voted for natural stone. Granite, Marble, Quartz.

  11. b says

    i voted for several options. i like a mix of clean colors and textures but tend to appreciate classic or vintage most. my only real hang up with some of the natural stones, and other products, is value. i dont think granite and marble represent good value when there are so many other better options. paying lots of money for expensive stone is a poor decision in my book and can sometimes only show that a person has more money than brains. i say this because counter choices are often made based on achieving elegance, which is then associated with cost so people go for the expensive stuff. i think showing an appreciate for quality, aesthetic, sustainability AND cost represents a the best decision.

    personally, i really like white kitchens with butcher block or similar counters. its classic and timeless.

  12. says

    I actually love the look of butcher block (not sure how bamboo compares), but the upkeep might be a little much… If it had been in our budget, we probably would’ve gotten quartz. They’re a combination of natural quartz and manmade materials, giving you the best of both worlds! They don’t require the regular upkeep like granite, but they don’t look “plastic” like Corian.

    We ended up with granite, which is naturally beautiful, but it requires regular sealing. Another thing you don’t think about is that it’s SO hard. If a fragile glass tips over on it, it’s bound to break. Just something to think about!

  13. says

    i love the look of thick wooden counters, and will definitely have a butcher block-topped island. i also really like stone. when we eventually get a house, i’m sure the final result will be determined by budget and the character of the place.

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