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Countertops are one of the most important elements in a kitchen. Counters need to be functional, but they should also be attractive since they will immediately catch people’s attention when they enter the room. Here are some things to consider to help you make a decision. 

Granite countertops are available in an array of colors and each piece is unique. You can choose a polished finish, which will make the stone look shiny and may also make it appear darker. Another option is honing, which produces a soft and matte appearance. The price tag for granite countertops may depend on the type of stone you choose, its origin and its thickness.

Engineered Stone
Engineered stone countertops are made mostly of quartz and are available in more colors than granite. They are durable, have a nonporous surface that can resist stains or scratches and require minimal maintenance. Engineered stone and granite countertops cost about the same. 

Soapstone has a pewter color that can gradually darken. Soapstone is a good choice for a historic home. If you choose soapstone countertops, you will need to be more careful than you would with granite. You will need to regularly maintain soapstone countertops with mineral oil. 

Concrete can be poured in your house or at another location to create custom countertops. If you choose concrete counters, they can be customized with pigments to create the color of your choice. Concrete is durable and can be treated to make the surface less porous and to prevent it from cracking. 

Solid Surface
Solid surface countertops have a seamless appearance similar to that of engineered stone, but they are less stain resistant, can be damaged if you set a hot pan on them and can be easily scratched. If they get scratched, they can be fixed with buffing. 

Wood countertops are easy to clean. If they get scratched, they can be repaired by sanding. Wood countertops must be oiled often to prevent water damage.

If affordability is your top concern, laminate may be your best choice. Laminate countertops are coated with plastic and come in a variety of colors, with some resembling granite. Laminate countertops can be burned by hot pans and can be scratched easily. 

Ceramic tile can be used to cover existing countertops. Ceramic tile is available in many colors and textures, but the tiles need to be grouted and can crack. 

Which Countertop Material Is Right for Your Home?
When choosing new countertops, think about your family’s lifestyle, your budget and how various materials may affect your home’s resale value. Discuss your options with your contractor and ask for advice, if necessary.