Laminate is a manufactured plastic-coated synthetic product with a smooth surface that is easy to clean. It fares especially well standing up against stains and heat and is very easy to maintain. The product very closely simulates a stone surface while installing seamlessly. It is durable and inexpensive. However scratches and chips are difficult to repair.
Engineered Stone is composed primarily of quartz. It is nonporous and therefore highly resistant to scratches and stains. It does not require sealing like natural stone and therefore is easy to take care of. Available in more colors than granite.
Tile, Ceramic or Porcelain. Tile countertops are an excellent option for the average home. They are very inexpensive compared to solid stone surfaces. Tile is very durable, highly resistant to heat, and easy to clean, with porcelain being somewhat superior to ceramic. Many colors and designs. The disadvantage is that grout lines tend to stain and cause the surface to be uneven.
Granite. One of the most elegant and desired materials for countertops, granite will improve the look of any kitchen and add value to your home. It has a permanent and substantial look that appeals to almost everyone. It comes in many colors, is highly resistant to heat or stains, and is the hardest available material. Granite countertops will usually last a lifetime. It does require periodic sealing. The expensive cost of the product has been coming down.
Solid Surface is a manufactured acrylic product that has long been the go-to material of choice for countertops. While not as sexy as stone, it offers several advantages. It is the only material that molds a sink seamlessly to the countertop without requiring caulk. Because the countertop is one solid piece of material, stains and scratches are readily repaired by rubbing or sanding. It is more vulnerable to heat than stone.
Wood or Butcher Block comes in a wide range of styles and finishes, and offer a warm. old fashioned look to a kitchen. Maple and oak are most commonly used. It offers a smooth, easy to clean surface which can be repaired by sanding and resealing. It is not as durable as stone products and will eventually be degraded by water and stains.
Stainless Steel offers a modern, industrial look to a kitchen. It is generally custom fabricated and therefore seamless with the sink. The material is durable, smooth, resistant to heat. Very easy to clean. The disadvantage is that it could dent form a hard impact. Also, can be expensive.
Soapstone is a natural quarried stone with a smooth surface that feels somewhat like a bar of soap; hence the name. It is naturally grey color which can be darkened by applying mineral oil. The product has often been associated with a rustic, New England style look. It is attractive and durable; very heat resistant. It does require regular maintenance.
Concrete counter tops are one of the most high quality, custom, unique, and durable option for your kitchen today.A wide variety of treatments give it unusual and exotic looks. It is very heat and scratch resistant with a surprisingly soft and warm feel. Generally, concrete countertops are custom made for unusual applications and therefore tend to be expensive.
Marble offers a very beautiful and luxurious look. However it is very prone to staining and scratching and therefore requires nearly constant maintenance. Professional sealing is generally required. It is also very expensive.