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With a surge in the market for home remodeling, homeowners are scrambling to find information to make decisions on what materials to use in the home. If you are looking into new countertops, you may be asking questions like What’s the best bang for my buckWhat’s the most livable material? or What will add the most value to my home? Here is a list of the most popular countertop materials on the market with pros, cons, and a Rosie Rating (1-5, 5 being the best) which considers durability, ease of maintenance, and cost.

1.    Laminate least expensive; applied over plywood or particle board countertops; one popular brand is Formica. $15-30 per square foot.

  • Pros: easy to clean; large range of colors and textures; installation can be a do-it-yourself job.
  • Cons: sensitive to heat; scratches/chips practically impossible to repair; may warp over time.
  • Rosie Rating: 3

2.    Tile very popular; wide range of color, texture and design; Ceramic tile is $10-80 per square foot.

  • Pros: stands up to heat very well; custom appearance; easy to clean; installation can be a do-it-yourself job.
  • Cons: grout can get dirty; grout and tile will need to be sealed; surface can be uneven; can chip/crack.
  • Rosie Rating: 2.5

3.    Solid Surface Coloring goes all the way through an acrylic or polyester/acrylic resin material; Corian is the original and most popular brand; $40-85 per square foot.

  • Pros: seamless; stain resistant; cut/shaped any way you want it; easily prepared; will last a very long time; includes 10-15 year warranty
  • Cons: can be vulnerable to hot pans.
  • Rosie Rating: 3.5

4.    Marble Natural stone; (Note: marble is used much more often in bathrooms than kitchens); $50-100+ per square foot.

  • Pros: very ritzy; waterproof.
  • Cons: no warranty; porous; stains easily; requires lots of constant maintenance (some of which needs to be done by professionals); visible seams.
  • Rosie Rating: 2.5

5.    Granite natural stone; harder and less porous than marble; $50-100+ per square foot; Be sure to research the company as well as the type of granite when considering this countertop.

  • Pros: cut/shaped any way you want it.
  • Cons: no warranty; requires lots of maintenance (including occasional sealing); easily stains; cracks cannot be repaired unnoticeably.
  • Rosie Rating: 2.5

6.    Stainless Steel seen in commercial kitchens; very modern; $120-160 per square foot.

  • Pros: stands up to heat very well; cut/shaped any way you want it; seamless; easy to clean.
  • Cons: not very common due to higher price; noisy; may dent and scratch.
  • Rosie Rating: 4

7.    Concrete poured into a cast to your specifications (can be done in your kitchen); becoming more popular; $80-120 per square foot.

  • Pros: made in any shape and color you want; heat/scratch resistant.
  • Cons: stains very easily; labor intensive; must be treated frequently with sealant (even then, stains can occur).
  • Rosie Rating: 2.5

8.    Wood also called butcher block; most often made of maple or oak; $35-100+ per square foot.

  • Pros: ranges in color/finishes; surface can be sanded down when nicked/scratched; easy to clean.
  • Cons: visible seams; staining and water damage can happen over time; manufacturer’s instructions must be followed for sanding and sealing.
  • Rosie Rating: 4

9.    Engineered Stone/Quartz  made of 93% quartz particles (one of the hardest natural substances); popular brands are Caesarstone, Corian Quartz; $50-85 per square foot.

  • Pros: larger range of colors than granite; very popular; non-porous so it resists stain and scratches; easy to maintain.
  • Cons: visible seams.
  • Rosie Rating: 5

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