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  • Stephanie Donnelly

Surface Choices for Your Kitchen Remodel

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Choosing new countertops for your kitchen can be a daunting task. Researching the surface choices as well as the benefits and drawback for each type can take hours on end and leave you feeling more overwhelmed than when you started. Thankfully, our expert designers who specialize in interior design services for kitchens take all of the pressures and stress off you and turn choosing surfaces a breeze.

Below are some of our favorite and least favorite surface choices for kitchens.

Recommended Surface Choices


Granite is one of the most common natural stone countertop material you can choose. It is loved for its universal fit for all types of kitchens. It is a natural stone material that is heat resistant, a good fit for all types of budgets, and requires low maintenance. Granite countertops can crack in weak spots, but need only periodic sealing to prevent stains and preserve the longevity of the surface life. A variety of colors and veining are available for granite countertops, and the finish can be honed or polished.


Quartzite, like granite, is another natural stone option that is a harder material than granite. It has the look of marble and therefore needs periodic sealing to prevent staining. Quartzite is a heavy surface choice and heat resistant which makes it a great option to be incorporated throughout your kitchen.


Quartz is an engineered version of quartzite which allows it to become available at a cheaper price. Like granite and quartzite, quartz is a heat and acid resistant material which contributes to it being a lower maintenance material. Made from natural quartzite and a binder, quartz can look like marble or granites.


Marble is a natural stone that adds a level of timeless elegance and sophistication to any room. The organic swirling and colors make it a statement piece and work of art. Marble is a porous material and therefore stains easily. This stunning surface choice requires proper sealing and a high level of maintenance.


Wood is a unique surface choice that adds a rustic charm to any space. However, it is not heat or stain resistant, and wood surfacing requires oiling every 6 months. A benefit to wood countertops is that it keeps knives sharp which makes it a fantastic addition to a kitchen. It is important to establish ahead of time whether you will be cutting or putting food on your countertops since a food grade version is needed when working with foods. Therefore, using reclaimed wood is not recommended as the history and chemicals the wood has been exposed to are unknown.


Stainless countertops are a fantastic way to make your kitchen look modern and uniform. They are well liked for their ease of cleaning and low maintenance. This is a widely used industrial surface choice that can be universally used.


Concrete is another great surface choice to modernize your kitchen in a unique way. There are many color and design options for concrete due to its simplistic nature. Concrete is a very heavy material that stains easily. Therefore, a high level of maintenance is required to preserve the finish.


Limestone is a beautiful, heat-resistant surface choice for your countertops. The natural material is available in various shades from sandy beige to grayish blue. Limestone is more porous than other stone options. Therefore, limestone requires a sealer to keep the material's color intact while making the surface more stain resistant. Another benefit is that the typical cost of limestone countertops is that they typically cost significantly less than marble or engineered quartz.


Soapstone is a much softer surface choice than other popular countertop materials, including granite, marble, and engineered quartz. Unlike most other natural stones, soapstone is nonporous and does not need to be sealed making cleaning and maintenance a lot less time consuming. Like granite, soapstone is highly resistant to acids and comes in a variety of undertone colors and veining options.


Travertine is a beautiful, natural stone choice that is sought after by many homeowners. Due to its striking resemblance with marble, travertine has become extremely popular. The countertops can be found in all shades and colors of travertine stone. Travertine is a naturally porous stone and therefore needs to be sealed periodically to retain the beauty of the countertop.


Slate is a unique surface choice that provides great durability. The non-porous surface of slate makes it easy to clean and requires less maintenance than granite, marble or concrete. The subtle shifting in coloration makes slate a versatile countertop that is a stunning addition to any kitchen.

Surface Choices to Avoid


Laminate is a surface choice that is not resistant to heat and is prone to scratches and chipping. Over time, laminate countertops can suffer from delamination, especially from water and heat damage. It is difficult to repair delamination and in most cases, you will need to replace the entire countertop.


Though durable, glass countertops are not immune to damage. Sharp or heavy objects can cause the countertop to crack, chip, or dent, and unlike other countertop materials, glass is extremely difficult and costly to repair. Glass requires more cleaning than other materials and therefore results in higher maintenance and upkeep.


Tile is not the most durable surface material which can be problematic for the hustle and bustle of every day kitchen use. Chips that form over time in tile countertops and porous grout cause toxicity issues which can contaminate food making tile a less sanitary option.

Solid Surface

Solid surfaces are typically made up of a blend of acrylic and polyester. It is a relatively soft material and can be scratched by knives and sharp utensils. These surfaces are only somewhat heat resistant and not able to withstand hot pans from the stove.


Copper is a relatively soft surface material which makes it a lot more susceptible to damage. Banging hard objects into the countertop can cause dents, knives can cause scratches, and hot cookware straight out of the oven can cause burn marks. This can also cause leeching into foods which creates an unhealthy living environment.

Next Steps

Now that you have a deeper understanding on both the benefits as well as the drawbacks of the types of surface choices, you are ready to get started on the design process of making your dream kitchen a reality. Click here to book your FREE consultation with our design experts today!

~This blog was brought to you by S. Donnelly Interiors. Learn more about the interior design project process by following Stephanie Donnelly and her interior design services in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and the surrounding areas!


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