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Truth in Kitchen Countertops

Truth in Kitchen Countertops
February 7, 2014 SNH Editorial Team

One of my clients was told in a showroom the other day that concrete countertops do not stain….wooh….that would have been an unpleasant surprise!!!  Selecting the right countertop material affects life…

in your kitchen!!!! Can you tell the marble from the quarz and granite in the photo? Pretty close, difficult – yes? See the answer at the end of this post…..Meantime learn the truth on wear and tear so you wind up with the right material for your lifestyle.  It is not a one-fits-all selection!

Find more details on all the considerations in countertop selections in my kitchen design book “Kitchen Magic”.

Concrete Countertops

Concrete can and should be sealed.  Even so, concrete will stain and more importantly, you will see marks in the area where you work the most.  While some may call it “patina” and accept it, even love it, to others it amounts to an unwanted stain.

Even though concrete counters are supposed to provide a more low-end, production look and feel they are labor intense to produce and are among the most costly material choices.

 Marble Countertops

Marble is one of the choices for a white counter.  Polished marble is super fussy —everything stains it.  Honed marble is slightly more tolerant but vigilance is still required.  Do your parties wind up in the kitchen? Watch especially red wine bottles – red wine spills stain even honed marble!

Why do you see marble in a lot of kitchen magazines?  It is the only natural material available in white. It does has a distinctly soft look and feel.

 Granite Countertops

For years, granite is the most “common” countertop material in higher-end kitchens.  Why? It is the most durable of all the stones.  It tolerates heat and is difficult to scratch. That said even though there is great variety of stone from all around the world, granite is a more common look and feel these days.

Most granite comes in medium grey to dark colors.  The movement in many slabs can be dramatic and beautiful.  It is a natural, quarried material and therefore comes only in certain sizes, which means most counters have to be seamed somewhere. Good seaming, even “bookmarking” – the fabricator should show you what this terms means – is generally really important.


Quartz is a man-made product. Therefore, it comes in many (!) colors including a pure white.  It does not stain or scratch at all, which makes is a great selection for families with young kids.  Even crayons, face paint or markers are no problem.

Quartz costs approximately the same as a medium priced granite. Sometimes, mixing it with a natural and distinctly organic material such as slate is a great idea!

Answer to above’s material question:   White: marble;  beige: quartz;  dynamic pattern: granite