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Thinking of renovating your kitchen or bathroom? Let's talk countertops, and talk about what is what!

We get A LOT of questions about countertops during the renovation process with our clients, and for good reason! With a wide variety of both engineered ('man-made') and natural stone countertop options, it can be frankly overwhelming to determine which one suits your lifestyle, aesthetic preference, and budget. Here is the breakdown of five of my favorite choices – Marble, Soapstone, Porcelain, Quartz, and Quartzite – to help you decide!

1. Marble. Natural | Gorgeous | Timeless | High-Maintenance

  • Appearance:Known for being classic and well-loved, marble features unique veining patterns across a wide variety of colors.

  • Pros:Stunning aesthetically, heat resistant

  • Cons:Prone to scratching, staining, and requires regular sealing. The great news is that there is a new sealing treatment, AntiEtch, with a sealing warranty of 10 years! Pricey but worth it if you go with marble

  • Kara's take: Marble will never go out of style, ever. Please simply choose the sealant that will meet your expectations and lifestyle, as marble has both enamored and frustrated homeowners for years.

2. Soapstone. Natural Durable | Historic | Earthy

  • Appearance:A natural stone in a dark hue, soapstone varies in color and veining and darkens over time

  • Pros:Heat-resistant, non-porous, hides stains

  • Cons:Requires oiling/sealing for maintenance, can scratch

  • Kara's take: When shopping for soapstone, always wipe down an area of the surface with a water-wet paper towel to see what the color of the stone will look like once it is oiled/waxed! 

3. Porcelain. Man-Made | Marble's look-a-like

  • Appearance:Created to replicate the look of natural stone, porcelain offers a wide range of colors and patterns (most often used to look like marble!)

  • Pros:Scratch-resistant, durable, easy to clean, non-porous, no sealing necessary

  • Cons:Can chip if a heavy object is dropped; need a trained fabricator to cut/install this particular material

  • Kara's take:Wanting the look of marble but without the upkeep? Porcelain is a great choice, knowing one must be relatively careful around the countertop edges and sink line for chipping.

4. Quartz: Man-Made | No Fuss

  • Appearance:Quartz countertops provide a consistent look with a vast array of colors and patterns. Be careful with selecting countertops with large veining, as many options can look faux compared to natural stone veining (best to see the full quartz slab in person, as a small swatch will not be able to illustrate the full look!)

  • Pros: Non-porous, low maintenance, resistant to stains and scratches

  • Cons:Vulnerable to heat, not suitable for outdoor use (and please note, quartz is stain-resistant, not stain-proof)

  • Kara's add-on: I love quartz for a no-fuss solution for a hardworking kitchen, but I do suggest bringing in visual interest elsewhere (colored cabinetry, dynamic backsplash, etc.)

5. Quartzite: Natural Stone | Hardworking | Varied

  • Appearance:Quartzite combines the beauty of marble (swoon, the veining!) with the durability of granite, with gorgeous varieties showcasing natural patterns and colors

  • Pros:Hard and durable, resistant to heat and scratches

  • Cons:Requires sealing

  • Kara's add-on: It might be my favorite stone varietal right now! Dynamic variety with durability!


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