How to Pick the Right Material for Your New Kitchen Countertops

Pros and Cons of the Most Popular Kitchen Surface Options

For homeowners starting the process of remodeling their kitchen, choosing a countertop surface material can seem overwhelming. With so many options available on the market, how can you be sure which one is the right choice your household?

Not only are kitchen surfaces a major investment into the value of your home, they’re also critical workspaces that you will utilize on a daily basis. In the following article, we will break down six of the most popular surface materials in terms of cost, appearance, and durability.

Butcher Block

Butcher block countertops offer a timeless visual appeal, making them an excellent choice for homeowners that value vintage aesthetics. Their warm, natural appearance works well in a variety of kitchen styles.

kitchen remodeling countertops butcher block
Via Real Simple

Another major advantage of butcher block is that you can use it as a cutting surface while cooking. Over time, the resulting knife marks will only serve to enhance the classical appearance of the surface.

The most significant drawback of butcher block that it must be refinished every 10 to 20 years. Additionally, the soft wood is prone to scratches and chips, and is liable to swell and contract when exposed to moisture. However, with proper oil treatments and sanding, a butcher block surface can last a lifetime.

Butcher block surfaces carry a moderate price tag of $40 to $70 per square foot.


An excellent choice for homeowners seeking a modern and stylish appearance for their new kitchen, concrete surfaces have gained popularity in recent years. These smooth, industrial-looking surfaces pair especially well with minimalist designs. 

Concrete surfaces are also desirable due to their versatility, as they are custom-molded for a perfect fit and can be tinted to any desired shade. They can also be personalized with unique inlays of glass, tile, rocks, and other materials.

One drawback of concrete surfaces is their porous nature, which is susceptible to staining without frequent sealing. Another is their considerable weight, which can sometimes require additional support from the cabinetry beneath.

As far as pricing goes, concrete surfaces do come with significant expenses. The material itself is cheap, but the labor costs involved with forming, pouring, and finishing custom concrete molds will add up quickly.

Homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $130 per square foot.


Granite is a very popular choice for kitchen surfaces, with a timeless high-end appearance that fits well in just about any style of kitchen.

One reason for its popularity is the wide variety of colors and patterns available. Another is its high durability and resilience to knife marks, chips, and other wear and tear.

Granite’s drawbacks include its heaviness and that it needs to be sealed every 3-5 years to avoid stains.

Granite surfaces typically cost an average of $40 to $100 per square foot.


Quartz is a manufactured stone that is often selected for its extreme resilience and durability. It is, however, less resistant to extreme temperatures than granite (especially lower-quality quartz).

Because it is a manufactured stone, some believe that it offers a less impactful visual appeal when compared to natural materials like marble and granite.

However, its manufactured nature also allows it the freedom of never needing to be sealed, and its lack of porousness promotes a bacteria-free environment.

Quartz surfaces cost an average of $60 – $140 per square foot. 


Marble surfaces are known for their timeless elegance and luxurious feel. A highly versatile option, they look great in modern and traditional kitchens alike.

portland countertop remodel kitchen
Via Pinterest

Marble is also known for being an ideal surface for pastry and baking work areas, due to its perennial coolness and even heat distribution.

Its only drawback is moderate susceptibility to scratches, chips, and stains.

Homeowners can expect to pay between $45 and $100 per square foot.


Tile is a great option for creative homeowners looking for a truly one-of-a-kind finish for their kitchen surfaces. It provides an endless number of possibilities when it comes to color, texture, pattern, and size.

tile countertops portland
Via Overstock

Tile also has the benefit of high resistance to heat, stains, and sharp blades. Additionally, if a tile does break, it is very easy to replace.

One of the cons of tile surfaces is the fact that it presents an uneven working surface, not ideal for rolling out doughs and other baking activities. Another is that tile grout must be properly sealed to prevent staining and bacterial growth.

Tile is among the most affordable options for kitchen surfaces, carrying a modest price tag of $35 to $40 per square foot. 

Ready to Start Designing the Kitchen of Your Dreams?

At Straight Line Design & Remodeling, we have been designing and building kitchens to meet the needs of families in the Portland metro area for over a decade. That means that we have the experience and know-how to bring your project to life while staying on schedule and on budget.

Get in touch with us today for a free quote. 

Take a look at our portfolio to see some of our recent work.