Countertops 101

There are a lot of terms and options that need definition and detailing beyond the color or composition of your countertop. Here is the start of our three-part guide to the basic terms and definitions for the ideal countertop in your home. This month we will start with “popular materials;” keep an eye out for the upcoming Countertops 102 and 103 posts!


granite is a natural product, cut in blocks from mountains and quarries, then sliced into slabs for your kitchen/bath. Because it is natural, granite is a porous material, and needs to be sealed periodically (which just requires pouring on the liquid sealing solution and letting it sit for an hour to absorb). There is a vast expanse of color and pattern from which to choose. Marbles are technically a type of granite, but they are much softer and are a higher maintenance “version” of most granites.


Quartz is a manmade product. They extract the quartz from granite (it’s the hardest part) and mix it with concrete, colorants, etc. to form the predictable to semi-predictable patterns. There is a vast expanse of color and slightly more limited patterns from which to choose.


Wood tops have been a long-held staple for countertops. Also a natural product, like granite, they need to be treated with an oil solution upon initial installation and periodically thereafter for protection. Despite popular theory, they are not designed to be used as large-scale cutting boards. Wood tops come in a variety of wood species, finish options, and compositional board patterns.


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