With exposure to water, heat, sharp knives, and more, countertops carry a heavy burden in the kitchen. Discover the pros and cons of each countertop material to help you make the right choice for your kitchen.

Natural-Stone Kitchen Countertops

Stone is a durable material that stands up to the tough wear of an active kitchen. Stone’s natural variations in colors and textures make each countertop unique. The most popular stones are granite and marble, but limestone and soapstone are also commonly used.

Natural Stone: Pros & Cons

Pros:

-Durable and long-lasting

-Classic material that does not go out of style

-Heat-resistant

Cons:

-Naturally porous and therefore needs to be sealed when installed

-Requires regular maintenance and resealing for food safety and aesthetic upkeep

-Softer stones, such as marble or limestone, might be chipped or cracked

-Most expensive countertop material

Cultured-Stone Kitchen Countertops

Cultured-stone countertops, also known as quartz-surfacing, are a blend of quartz and pigments that have the look and feel of natural stone. These surfaces come in a variety of colors, textures, and graining, and unlike natural stone, it’s available in uniform colors and patterns.

Cultured Stone: Pros & Cons

Pros:

-Heat-, stain-, and scratch-resistant

-Easy to clean

-Does not require sealing or special care

Cons:

-Not as natural-looking as real stone

-Costs almost as much as real stone

Solid-Surfacing Countertops

Solid-surfacing countertops mimic the look of natural stone but without the cost or required maintenance. Solid-surfacing offers a variety of color possibilities and design options and can also resemble glass or concrete countertops.

Solid-Surfacing: Pros & Cons

Pros:

-Heat- and moisture-resistant

-Does not fade or age with time

-Easy to clean

Cons:

-Can be scorched

-Not scratchproof; deep cuts or scratches might require special care

Laminate Kitchen Countertops

Laminate is constructed with a thin sheet of plastic resin covering plywood or particleboard. Advancements in printing technology and edge options allow laminate to mimic stone, metal, or wood countertops without the cost of natural materials.

Laminate: Pros & Cons

Pros:

-Heat-, stain-, and scratch-resistant

-Easy to clean

-Lower costs than all other countertop materials

Cons:

-Sharp knives and hot pans can damage laminate

-Scorching, deep scratches, and cracks cannot be repaired

-Allows only drop-in sinks due to its construction

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Countertops

Bamboo, recycled glass, and paper composites (combination of resin, pigments, and recycled paper) are eco-friendly countertop materials. Eco-friendly countertop materials might be harder to find in some areas.

Eco-Friendly: Pros & Cons

Pros:

-Bamboo: easy to clean

-Recycled glass: durable, heat- and stain-resistant, easy to clean

-Paper composite: durable, easy to clean

Cons:

-Bamboo: needs to be sealed and routinely treated, susceptible to scratches and burning

-Recycled glass: can chip, scratch, or break with heavy impacts

-Paper composite: susceptible to scratches and stains

Wood Kitchen Countertops

Wood countertops add instant warmth and charm to your kitchen. Butcher block is the most common type of wood countertop, but crafted wood slabs are also available. Wood is a great prep-area countertop material.

Wood: Pros & Cons

Pros:

-Withstands cutting and chopping without dulling knives

-Long-lasting, timeless material that wears with use for a charming patina

Cons:

-Vulnerable to moisture, heat, acid, corrosive chemicals, and stains

-Shrinks or expands with extreme dryness or moisture

-Requires food-friendly sealing and routine maintenance

For the rest of this article, please visit Better Homes and Gardens.