Top 4 Most Durable Kitchen Countertops
A material’s level of durability is one of the most pressing questions homeowners ask when selecting kitchen countertops. And with good reason.
When you’re making an investment in a countertop makeover, you want to know that your material is going to last. That’s why many homeowners ask about the most durable kitchen countertops available today.
Durability is really about the material’s resistance to impact and how prone it is to chipping, scratching or cracking. This can also refer to stain resistance, heat resistance and other abrasions.
Why Does Durability Matter?
Countertops need to be compatible with your overall lifestyle.
Especially in the kitchen, a focal point of your home and often high-traffic area, you want to select a material that’s not only beautiful but also functional (which usually means durable).
Your countertop selection is the most important decision, but there are so many different options available, making the task overwhelming. There are a wide range of materials out there that promise high durability, from natural stone to manufactured materials. We’re here to help you choose the right material with durability—and other relevant factors—top of mind.
Top 4 Durable Kitchen Countertops
Busy kitchens require hardworking countertops. Based on our years of experience and a recent Consumer Reports survey, we are highlighting four of the most durable kitchen countertops—and pros and cons of each.
Note: These are not in order of highest to lowest durability but rather a collection of the most durable materials you may want to choose from. Durability depends on a number of factors (including needing to seal, scratch resistance, etc.), and some may see certain characteristics as more pertinent than others.
Industry experts agree that quartz is among the most durable kitchen countertops.
Quartz is a manufactured material that starts with 93% +/- natural quartz and is then combined with polymers and pigments for color and stability. The result is a material that is a practical surface and easy to maintain, making it a great solution for a busy household.
- Rare chipping and scratching, possible to repair by professionals if it does happen
- Non-porous and stain resistant
- No sealing required
- Can imitate the style of marble but the strength of granite
- Medium heat resistance, so hot pads or trivets are always recommended
- Appearance of seams is more common
- Can be more expensive
Manufacturers of quartz include:
- Silestone by Cosentino
- Cambria Surfaces
- Viatera by LG Hausys
- Corian Quartz by DuPont
- HanStone Quartz
Granite is considered the most durable natural stone.
An igneous rock consisting mainly of quartz, mica and feldspar, granite is another great option for busy households because it’s easy to maintain and has a distinctive, high-quality style. It’s very dense and can withstand the everyday wear and tear of an active, high-traffic area.
- Highly scratch and impact resistant
- Stain resistant when properly sealed
- Highly heat resistant, so you can place a hot pot on it if needed (but still not recommended to preserve the longevity of your material)
- Unique and beautiful
- Requires regular sealant to help prevent cooking oil, red wine, grease or other spills from soaking into the stone over time and leaving Typically, lighter color stones are more porous than darker ones, therefore have need of more frequent sealing.
- Natural variations in granite can make the material a bit unpredictable and vary from the sample
- Limited supply of certain colors in nature can make granite more expensive
Where to buy granite:
#3. Ultra Compact Surfacing
Ultra compact surfacing is a relatively new type of countertop material and, because of the general unfamiliarity of it, is often left out of lists like this. But we’d be remiss not to mention it! Ultra compact surfacing is created with a unique manufacturing process that yields unique, beautiful and highly durable results.
Its high-tech manufacturing process, Sinterized Particle Technology, mimics the metamorphic change that natural stone undergoes when subjected to high temperatures and pressure over thousands of years—but at an accelerated pace. The result is exceptional strength and other superior technical characteristics.
- Highly versatile and UV resistant for indoor or outdoor use
- Thermal shock resistant
- Highly resistant to impact, scratches and abrasion
- Non-porous with virtually zero water absorption
- No sealing required
- Depending on the extent of any damage from especially high impacts, there is limited repairability and any repair might remain visible or imperfect
- Not all countertop fabricators are trained or have the proper machinery to work with the material
- Relative newness and other factors can make it more expensive than other materials
Manufacturers of ultra compact surfacing:
Dekton is the leading manufacturer of ultra compact surfacing and considered the pioneer of the material. Since it’s a relatively new and specialized material, buying options are a bit more limited. But, as an early adapter, Eastern Surfaces has been fabricating the Dekton product in the eastern Pennsylvania area for years. Schedule a visit to our showroom to see the material for yourself!
#4. Solid Surface
Finally, there’s solid surface: a manufactured material made of acrylic resin or polyester resin (or a combination of the two).
Solid surface is also widely considered as one of the most durable countertop options.
- Non-porous and renewable, so marks and surface stains (while more common) can be easily removed by simple cleaning or resurfacing methods
- Known for hygiene and cleaning ease
- No sealing required
- Solid acrylic material provides higher impact strength
- Seamless appearance
- Not very heat resistant
- Can scratch more often than other materials (but easy to repair)
- The least eco-friendly option
Manufacturers of solid surface include:
Beyond Durability: What Matters to Your Household?
Durability matters, but so do other qualities of your kitchen countertops. So, be sure to think about other factors before making a final decision. The perfect countertop for your kitchen will strike a balance between price, durability, functionality and aesthetics.
Remember: You’re upgrading your countertops to add a beautiful new element to your home, too.
To select a material, consider the following:
- Activity level of household
- Budget constraints
- Style preferences
Other materials that didn’t make this list but are still great options for consideration in your home include natural marble, soapstone and quartzite. The decision ultimately depends on your specific needs, lifestyle, taste and budget.
Keep an open mind as your explore your countertop material options. Durable kitchen countertops are important, but you’d be pleasantly surprised with how well other “less durable” materials hold up with the right care and maintenance. Be honest with your needs as you come up with the ideal answer for your household—and let us know if you need help exploring your options!
Interested in seeing these materials in person? Schedule a visit to our showroom to learn more.