Flooring, Kitchen & Bath Design

Quartz kitchen countertop in Lake Forest


From practical reasons to aesthetic ones, there’s a perfect countertop material for every dream kitchen.

Countertop materials are a vital design choice for your kitchen renovation. We’re breaking down the main countertop materials we use in our projects to help you determine the best choice for yours.


One is hard-pressed to find a more quintessential countertop material than the classic varieties of white marble, such as Calacatta and Carrara marble. But marble comes in many unique colors, such as serpentine greens and other darker hues. It’s softer than granite so it’s more susceptible to scratches and etches. But if you don’t mind a little maintenance, marble in the kitchen is a luxurious sight.

Learn the lingo: an etch is what happens when the acidic things we cook with such as lemon or tomato juice, splash onto marble. Acid reacts with the calcium carbonate of marble, literally eating away bits of the countertop materials. The resulting dull spot is known as an etch. It’s not a stain or even discoloration, but the stone itself actually changing to become more dull.

Go for marble if you like luxury.


Possibly the most common of all countertop materials, quartz is a classic choice for the kitchen. It’s easy to see why: it’s resistant to stains, scratches, and heat and doesn’t need sealing. Quartz is not a friend to extreme heat, as prolonged exposure can cause damage, but that’s more relevant to fireplaces. For kitchen countertops, it’s generally  a great option. Quartz is also appreciated for the consistent appearance of its patterns, as opposed to the “movement” seen in other types of countertop materials.

Go for quartz if you like consistency and low maintenance. 


Not to be confused with quartz, quartzite is a stone-like marble and is often available in the same colors and patterns. Quartzite shares the hardness and durability of granite, handles heat well, and easily stays free of stains and scratches.

Go for quartzite if you want the look of marble without the maintenance.


Concrete countertops are an intriguing choice for the kitchen, as they tend to come in more style and design varieties than other common materials. The variety ranges from custom colors to embedding design objects such as glass mosaic pieces directly into the countertop materials themselves. Concrete can scratch, stain, and crack, but handles heat pretty well. You’ll also have to seal and wax regularly.

Go for concrete if you like creativity and don’t mind upkeep.


Porcelain is becoming more common in the kitchen for the same reasons it’s already beloved elsewhere: it’s hard, dense, water-resistant, and durable. It’s good with heat and resistant to stains and scratches, too. Some patterns resemble Carrara marble, so it’s yet another option for those interested in marble without the maintenance.

Go for porcelain if you are trying to save money.


If the countertop materials of the future are your thing, look no further than Dekton. Classified as an “ultra compact surface,” Dekton is similar to porcelain in appearance but with the qualities of glass and quartz. The resulting surface is extremely tough and considered perhaps the most durable countertop material to currently exist.

Go for Dekton if you like powerful functionality.


From farmhouse to rustic, butcher block countertops have maintained popularity in kitchens throughout time. The warmth and texture of wood complements a variety of aesthetics, from classic farmhouse and French Country to rustic and even coastal vibes. They can even harmonize in a contemporary kitchen as a contrasting element. Wood’s downside is its susceptibility to cuts and stains, but it is durable and can be refinished more than once. You’ll want to maintain its upkeep to keep it functioning best though.

Go for wood or butcher block if you like warmth and don’t mind upkeep.


Stainless steel countertops instantly bring an industrial design aesthetic to mind. The choice of professional kitchens around the world, stainless steel is highly durable and super easy to clean. Installation can be easier than other materials as well, especially if working with prefabricated stainless steel. But it’s also susceptible to scratches and can feel rather cold.

Go for stainless steel if you like a distinct look.

Choosing from among the seemingly endless amount of countertop materials available doesn’t have to result in option overload. When you work with a design-and-build firm like City Tiles and Cabinets, you can benefit from our knowledge and experience of countertop materials as we work together to find the best fit for your dream kitchen. Contact us today to discuss your home renovation in San Jose!