Life in Portland Blog

All About Countertops

Thinking of renovating your kitchen? Choosing the right counter top material that fits your specific needs and kitchen style can be daunting. Apartment Therapy has put together a series all about counter tops listing the pro’s and con’s of each material.


Stainless Steel

Pros: Industrial Strength, durable, shiny, nonporous and easy to clean and disinfect, can be cut to any size and installed seamless, impervious to heat, rust, corrosion, and stains.

Cons: Dents and scratches easily; fingerprint smudges show up easily.

See the full article here.


Butcher Block

Pros: Warm look and feel; naturally anti-bacterial, strong and durable, biodegradable, affordable, particularly compared to granite or quartz counter tops.

Cons: Requires bi-annual sanding and oiling to protect the wood; sealed counters should not be cut on.

See the full article here.



Pros: Extremely hard and durable; glossy sheen; non-porous and stain-and-crack resistant; does not require sealing or resealing; wide range of colors; easy to clean with mild soap, water, and a soft cloth.

Cons: Expensive; not heat tolerant; seams are inevitable for large counter top designs.

See the full article here.



Pros: Each slab is unique, hard, durable, scratch-resistant, impervious to stains, heat, and water when sealed, relatively easy to clean, comes in all colors, still highly covetable with an even higher resale value.

Cons: Expensive, heavy, needs annual resealing, ubiquitous, “granit fatigue”.

See the full article here.


Synthetic Solid Surface 

Pros: Non-porous, so it’s stain-, mildew-, and germ-resistant; strong and self-supporting, needs no plywood underlayment, easy to buff out scratches; can be installed seamless and made to imitate other high-end materials like marble and granite.

Cons: Vulnerable to heat, dents, and scratches; relatively expensive.

See the full article here.


Lava Stone

Pros: Non-porous, highly resistant to stains, scratches, shock, and temperature changes; low maintenance; durable; each slab is completely unique; available in a wide variety of colors; can be made seamless.

Cons: Very expensive; currently only produced in France; since it’s a newer product its longevity hasn’t been tested.

See the full article here.


Paper Composite 

Pros: Durable, handles heat well, resistant to stain and nicks; low-to-mid range cost; easy to work with; nonporous construction; lighter than natural stone.

Cons: Requires a sealant like mineral oil; not suitable with abrasive cleaners.

See the full article here.




Pros: Heat-resistant; very durable if sealed; shapes, edge details, and texture can be fully customized (i.e. you can add recycled glass or stone pieces into the mixture); can be made to look seamless with a filler.

Cons: MUST be sealed to protect from stains, water and heat damage, and bacterial growth, but even with sealing moisture or oil can make the counter top look “wet” and sloppy; can be expensive depending on the level of customization required.

See the full article here.



Pros: Beautiful natural grey color, smooth matte feel, resistant to etching from acids, scratches can be sanded or oiled away; great surface for making pastries.

Cons: Requires maintenance; not as heat resistant as granite; not impervious to dents and scratches; regular oiling and buffing recommended; the color darkens with age (which may be a pro for some).

See the full article here.