The kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in the home, and the countertop sets the tone for the space. Serving as the kitchen’s focal point, the countertop is often a gathering place for homeowners and their guests.

When choosing a countertop material, don’t go simply with what’s popular. After all, what’s best for some might not be for others. Instead, consider your lifestyle as well as the material’s maintenance and cost.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular countertop materials:


A favorite of many, this natural stone appeals to those who appreciate that no two slabs are identical. It’s available in a variety of colors and finishes, and is known for its durability.

Maintenance: Seal annually.


Cost Per Square Foot*: $40-100


People who want a more uniform look are drawn to this man-made material. It’s incredibly durable and available in both neutral and bold colors.

Maintenance: Sealing isn’t necessary because it’s non-porous.

Cost Per Square Foot*: $45-90


Homeowners with a flair for custom design love that this material is typically poured on site. The concrete can be dyed a variety of colors and inlaid with shells, glass or other materials.

Maintenance: Seal annually and wax four to six times per year.

Cost Per Square Foot*: $80-120



Achieve the look of other materials at a fraction of the cost. Laminate usually consists of plywood or particleboard covered with a thin sheet of plastic resin.

Maintenance: No sealing is necessary, but use hot pads and avoid cutting food directly on the surface.

Cost Per Square Foot*: $10-30


Bakers appreciate the cool, natural-stone surface for rolling and kneading dough. But keep in mind that marble is prone to staining and chipping.

Maintenance: Seal annually and avoid direct exposure to acidic foods, such as lemons.

Cost Per Square Foot*: $40-100

*Estimates gathered from MSNBC and include installation costs.