The Best Countertop Material for Your Lifestyle

April 13, 2023


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Here are Alma Homes, we approach each project with intention, taking time to get to know our clients and understand their unique lifestyles so we can recommend the best design choices for them. Regardless of whether you prefer man-made or natural materials, this blog post will help you compare a variety of countertop options and understand their aesthetic, durability, maintenance requirements, and cost, so you can find the perfect material to elevate your home and lifestyle. Let’s dive in!

Man-Made Countertop Materials

Quartz: Durable & Low Maintenance

White countertop, beige cupboards, aesthetic transitional kitchen.
#pinegroveproject’s kitchen features luxurious white quartz countertops. Made to mirror the look of white marble, we use this particular quartz source often due to its durability, maintenance-free nature, and elegant yet natural aesthetic.

Quartz is considered a man-made material because small quartz particles are combined with resins and pigments to create a strong, beautiful slab. We love using quartz in kitchens that are used frequently (and heavily), and appreciate its varied price range (meaning you can find a quartz countertop that works with most budgets). Can you tell we’re quartz enthusiasts over here?!


Quartz is great for achieving the sleek white countertop look. It comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, so you can create a beautiful, functional space that suits your family’s style. There are many quartz options that look like marble, which is a popular look for kitchens as you get the marble look without the marble maintenance. Some are designed to look like concrete, while others are one solid color.

Durability & Maintenance

Quartz countertops are both low maintenance and durable, with a hard, non-porous surface that’s resistant to scratches, stains, and bacteria. Plus they’re easy to clean and don’t need to be sealed – ever! While slightly pricier than granite, quartz’s easy upkeep makes it a go-to option for many of our clients. However, despite how indestructible you may think quartz is, please don’t ever put a hot pot or pan directly on its surface – it can cause stress fractures.

Concrete: Rustic & Industrial

Neutral kitchen with white cabinets and a concrete countertop
Concrete countertops were the move for the rustic kitchen found at our #independencecustom new build.

For those who appreciate rustic vibes or industrial aesthetics, poured concrete countertops are a perfect choice. They’re made using custom frames that concrete is poured into. It can be challenging to master a smooth, bubble-free pour and keep the heavy concrete counters from damaging your cabinets during installation, so let the pros handle this project!


Concrete counters are great for a rugged or industrial look, and they can even trend modern when used in the right setting! Concrete can also be customized with different finishes and colors, allowing you to create a truly unique space.

Durability & Maintenance

Concrete offers strength and durability, ensuring your countertops stand up to daily use, however, keep in mind it needs to be resealed yearly to prevent staining. The material can also crack, but the perk is you can fill the crack with – you guessed it – more concrete!

Natural Countertop Materials

Marble: Elegant & Striking

moody powder bathroom with floral wallpaper, elegant features, and a marble countertop
#thelakeloft’s powder bath exudes elegance thanks to marble countertop and floral wallpaper.

For a touch of luxury, marble countertops are a timeless choice. They’re made from natural stone that is mined, meaning no two marble countertops will look alike!


With its elegant feel and striking veining, marble countertops provide a eye-catching focal point for kitchens designed for entertaining (or simply hanging out, we’re here for that too!). Each slab comes with its own unique pattern and veining. This is caused by differences in how the marble was formed and its mineral composition. Classically thought of as white, marble countertops can come in a variety of colors including gray, black, pink, green, and more.

Durability & Maintenance

One of the main drawbacks of marble surfaces is that they are porous, which makes them prone to staining. Eek! To protect your marble counters, we recommend sealing them every six months and avoiding acidic cleaners and foods which can etch into the surface (TLDR: keep those lemons off of your marble countertop!). Marble is also a softer stone, making it more susceptible to chipping, scratching, and etching, compared to harder materials like granite and quartz. Despite these challenges, marble countertops are a great option for those willing to put in extra “elbow grease” to maintain its beauty. A lot of people actually love the patina that comes with marble over time, but that definitely depends on your personality!

Granite: Natural & Unique

Sleek and clean, granite countertops were the material of choice for our #raspberryhillhouse clients.


Granite offers natural beauty with unique patterns and colors. This highly durable natural stone is quarried, cut into slabs, polished, and sealed to showcase its beautiful design. Occasionally confused with quartz, check out this blog post to understand the main differences between granite and quartz.


Like marble, no two granite slabs are exactly alike. The material comes in a variety of colors including white, black, gray, pink, and red, and its pattern can be speckled, veined, or mottled. Thanks to nature, each granite countertop has its own character and appearance.

Durability & Maintenance

While granite is generally low-maintenance, it still requires upkeep to keep it looking its best. First of all, it’s a porous material, so it must be sealed annually to protect it from staining and bacterial growth. Granite also often gets props for being heat resistant, and, while it might be more heat resistant than other natural stones, we NEVER recommend placing hot pots or pans on it (or any countertop) without first placing a pot holder or trivet underneath. As for the perks, granite is a very hard natural stone (much harder than marble) which makes it much more scratch resistant!

Soapstone: Dark & Beautiful

Say “hello” to a lesser known countertop material: soapstone. For those who appreciate depth and character, soapstone is a beautiful choice. It’s a natural stone composed primarily of talc, which gives it a unique soft, soapy texture.


Primarily found in shades of gray, soapstone doesn’t have as much color variation as the countertops we shared earlier. However, it can contain veining similar to marble which many find appealing. Soapstone is unique in that it develops a natural, dark patina over time. Some homeowners love this look while other less so, so keep this in mind if you’re considering soapstone countertops.

Durability & Maintenance

Soapstone is on the softer side, so it may develop scratches or nicks over time, but it’s still durable. Additionally, soapstone doesn’t require sealing, is non-porous, and doesn’t react to acid. It’s also stain resistant except for oily substances. They will darken the countertops and change the texture, so be careful if that’s not look you’re going for. Do note that soapstone will change colors when its wet, and you will probably always see a ring from your soap on the counter. It can be darkened by applying an oiled finish to it, although you will need to repeat this.

Butcher Block: Charming & Warm

Our #oronoteardown clients went with a butcher block countertop for their kitchen island!


Wood countertops are an excellent way to bring warmth and charm into your home. Butcher block can be purchased by the square foot, or you can find pre-cut slabs that fit your counter.


Wood brings a natural, rustic, and cozy feel to kitchens, but, on the flip side, it can be used as a contrasting element in modern spaces. No matter what vibe you’re going for, you can use different stains on butcher block countertops to get the look and feel you want.

Durability & Maintenance

In order to maintain butcher block, keep natural moisture locked in by oiling it regularly with a food safe oil like this one. And – as you would with any other countertop material – use a cutting board when prepping produce. Do not cut on the butcher block directly or you will have marks forever! We also do not recommend using butcher block near sinks (unless your sink is a drop in), as you will likely see staining and fading from the water.

White quartz countertops shine in the #bloomingtonbuild kitchen!

And there you have it! A breakdown of six (of the many) countertop materials you can choose from when designing your home. We hope this guide gives you a better understanding of the differences in various countertop materials available and how they align with different lifestyles. For more tips and resources hop on our email list here, or follow us over on Instagram!

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