Tips for comparing solid surface countertops include taking a surface's durability, appearance, maintenance needs and cost into account. Hard stone materials like marble, limestone and soapstone are softer than granite and require greater care. Engineered stone surfaces can provide superior durability and ease of maintenance.
Lifestyle, budget and personal tastes all play a role in selecting the right countertop materials. While all hard surface materials are non-porous and relatively easy to maintain, considerations such as color, texture and appearance play a major role in the selection process. Granite surfaces are very popular but may only be available in a limited range of finishes. Other options, such as concrete countertops, are available in a wide range of customized pigments and finishes.
Wood countertops, such as butcher block, are fairly easy to clean. Sanding may remove many of the scratches that can mar the finish of a wooden countertop. Wooden surfaces require more maintenance and care than stone options, and frequent oiling is necessary to ensure moisture does not harm the material. Laminates are the most cost-effective option and are available in a wide range of colors ad designs. While very affordable, laminate countertops may scratch easily and may scorch if they come into contact with a hot pan.