When you think of your dream kitchen, what kind of countertops do you see?

Whether you’re remodeling your current kitchen, or building a custom kitchen from the ground up, choosing the right countertop is a major part of the overall aesthetic. It may be tempting to choose a countertop based solely on appearance. After all, those marble counters are to die for! But, durability, maintenance, and of course, cost, are also vital factors to consider when selecting which option is best for your dream kitchen.

Consider Livability

Before making a decision, you need to assess the way you actually live. In other words, you probably don’t want a countertop that stains or scratches easily if you have young children or host parties frequently. Or, if you are a regular chef, you want something extremely durable. Livability is a factor in most home decisions, and kitchen countertops are no exception. The best choice is one that will meet your expectations, support your budget, look great, and work with your lifestyle.

Countertop Options

The countertop options on the market today are seemingly endless, but here are a few of the main competitors.


  • Pros: Granite is the top choice in countertops. It’s available in a variety of shades, and no two pieces are exactly the same. It stands up against splashes, scratches, and casual wear and tear pretty well. Plus, it is gorgeous.
  • Cons: It requires sealing every so often, and its heaviness means it requires very sturdy cabinet boxes, in order to support its weight. It can be pretty expensive sometimes, depending on the stone type, color, and rarity.


  • Pros: Marble radiates elegance. It’s a traditional choice for pastry and baking stations, as it remains cool indefinitely.
  • Cons: Marble is very susceptible to staining. Even with regular sealing, it succumbs to stains. It can also scratch and chip, so homeowners tend to only use it in limited parts of their kitchen.

Engineered Surfaces

  • Pros: Because it is nonporous, it’s basically maintenance free; no sealing or special cleaning is required. Since it’s an engineered product, it’s available in a larger variety of colors, shades, and patterns than natural stone. It’s a pretty good compromise between stone and solid surfacing.
  • Cons: It is prone to slight scratching, and can be relatively expensive, depending on color choice and edge profiles.


  • Pros: Beautiful and soft, soapstone is a humbler version of marble or granite. It tends to start out light-medium gray, and darkens over time (depending on who you are, this is a pro or a con).
  • Cons: In order to keep it in its best shape, soapstone needs polishing with oil. It’s not great with handling knife scratches and nicks, and can crack over time.

Stainless Steel

  • Pros: Stainless steel is basically indestructable. It resists heat, bacteria, and you guessed it, stains! It also provides a sleek industrial-style aesthetic.
  • Cons: It can dent if you aren’t careful with it. It also shows fingerprints very easily and must be wiped off frequently. Chemicals can alter its color, and it can be pretty loud when dishes hit its surface. Stainless steel can also be pretty pricy, due to its custom fabrication.

Butcher Block

  • Pros: Butcher block offers a warm, welcoming appearance due to its natural variegated wood tones. It’s prone to scratching, but can be sanded down easily to remove the marks.
  • Cons: Wood is known for harboring bacteria, so butcher block needs frequent disinfecting. It’s also susceptible to water damage, if it’s not properly sealed.

If you’re still on the fence about choosing the right countertop for your dream kitchen, and want some more information, the custom home professionals at Sandy Spring Builders would love to help! Contact us today and tell us about your dream project.