The Top Materials for Countertops Part 2

Non-traditional/New Age

In the first part of our series we talked about  traditional options for your countertops in your flip. In our second installation of countop talk, it is the less ordinary countertop we will discuss. A different countertop could be just the special thing you need to make your kitchen pop!


Modular and inexpensive, ceramic and porcelain tile offers nearly limitless options for colors and designs. Tile works with almost any kitchen style, from country to majestic Old World.

Pros: It holds its own against heat and sharp blades, and resists stains. If one or two tiles chip or crack, they’re fairly easy to replace.

Cons: Tile’s uneven surface can make it difficult to balance a cutting board or roll out a pie crust. Unsealed grout is prone to staining; standing moisture can damage it and contribute to bacterial growth.

Cost: $10 to $80 per square foot, installed



concrete countertopSlightly edgier than other materials, concrete countertops have an industrial chic that fits right into a loft or adds interest to an otherwise traditional space.

Pros: Concrete is extremely versatile: It can be cast in any shape and custom tinted any shade you wish. You easily can add unique inlays, such as glass fragments, rocks and shells. Concrete stands up well to heavy use, although it isn’t as heat resistant as some other surfaces.

Cons: Because it’s porous, concrete will stain without frequent sealing. Small cracks can develop and it can be expensive. Concrete is extremely heavy and will need strong support beneath.

Cost: $75 to $125 per square foot, installed



Soapstone is really coming into its own as a countertop material. It offers subtle, nuanced beauty yet feels humbler than granite or marble.

Pros: Soapstone has a natural softness and depth that fits very well with older and cottage-style homes. Although it usually starts out light to medium gray, it darkens with time.

Cons: Soapstone needs polishing with oil to keep it in top shape. It can crack over time, and it can’t handle knife scratches and nicks and is naturally rough.

Cost: $70 to $100 per square foot, installed


Stainless Steel

Once found mostly in commercial kitchens, stainless steel has slipped into vogue within the past two decades.countertops

Pros:  It’s nearly indestructible, and it resists heat and bacteria, which is why it so popular in restaurants. Very contemporary  and fits in with industrial-style kitchens.

Cons: Fingerprints show  and it can also dent. Pots and pans will clang against the surface. Chemicals can affect its color. Extremely expensive due to the custom fabrication.

Cost: $65 to $125 per square foot, installed




Butcher Block

butcher blockButcher block has a classic appeal and always looks fresh. It’s especially fitting for traditional, country and cottage-style kitchens.

Pros: Many homeowners like its warm, natural appearance and tones. Although knives scratch it, many people like the shopworn look it develops.

Cons: Swells and contracts with moisture exposure. It harbors bacteria and needs frequent disinfecting. Oiling is a must to fill in scratches and protect the surface.

Cost: $35 to $70 per square foot, installed




Paper Composite 

Paper countertops? You read it right. Created from paper fibers mixed with resin, this surface is ecofriendly and a whole lot more durable than it sounds.

Pros: Paper composite evokes the look of solid surfacing or laminate but with a warmer sensibility. It’s surprisingly hardy and can withstand heat and water admirably. It’s also a great deal lighter than natural stone or concrete.

Cons: The material isn’t scratchproof and is susceptible to chemical damage. It needs an occasional rubdown with mineral oil, and even sanding, to refresh it. New concept so it can be costly.

Cost: $85 to $125 per square foot, installed


Solid surfacing (Corian)

Made primarily from acrylic and polyester, solid surfacing first was sold under the brand name Corian, which is often (erroneously) used as a generic term for it. Today, it’s made by a host of manufacturers and has enjoyed steady popularity over the years.

Pros: Because solid surfacing is nonporous, it’s virtually maintenance free — no sealing or special cleaning required. Color and pattern options are extensive, with seamless installation

Cons: Solid surfacing can have a patently artificial look and feel, yet can approach the price of natural stone. It doesn’t stand up to hot pans or sharp knives very well.

Cost: $35 to $100 per square foot, installed



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Erik Hitzelberger has been Real Estate Investor since 2007. While learning the ropes in the market down-cycle, he now teaches others how to use his systems and leverage other people’s expertise to achieve their own goals.

Erik Hitzelberger – who has written posts on Part Time REI.

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About Erik Hitzelberger

Erik Hitzelberger has been Real Estate Investor since 2007. While learning the ropes in the market down-cycle, he now teaches others how to use his systems and leverage other people's expertise to achieve their own goals.

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