Kitchen countertops face many challenges – from hot pots to splashing water to sharp kitchen knives. What materials are best suited and how to care for the countertop, read here. Plus: What you need to know if you want to buy a granite kitchen.

Article content

  • Kitchen countertop materials
  • Concrete
  • Natural stone: granite, marble and slate
  • Wooden kitchen countertops
  • Corian
  • Quartz composites
  • Glass
  • Plastic (laminate, laminate)
  • Dekton
  • Ceramic kitchen countertops
  • Stainless steel kitchen countertops

Kitchen countertops should be sturdy and heat-resistant, resistant to moisture and stains, and easy to clean. So far, so obvious. But that’s not all you should look for in a new kitchen countertop. In most kitchens, the countertop is still located between the sink and the hob. There is never much space there. Recommends a minimum width of 90 cm between hob and sink “as well as a worktop depth of at least 60 cm, so that all kitchen work can be done smoothly.” Of course, more is always possible, but ideally it should not be less, “especially since sufficient additional storage space should always be planned; for example, for frequently used cups and glasses or for favorite herbs, spices and oils that are used daily,”

However, worktops not only have a practical function, they also play a decisive role in determining the look of the kitchen. Decors and materials should match the kitchen furnishings and are therefore important factors when choosing the right worktop.

Kitchen countertop materials


A concrete countertop brings loft charm to the kitchen with its rough surface and is also scratch-resistant. However, the material is very heavy and therefore only suitable for stable substructures.

Protection and care: In the case of concrete countertops, it makes sense to sand and polish the surface, because this closes the pores of the material and makes it easier to clean the panel. In addition, you protect the material by sealing it with oil or natural wax, but you have to refresh this treatment more often. A synthetic sealer, on the other hand, provides permanent protection against stains – even grease and coarse dirt can then no longer harm the panel. However, this makes the concrete look less rough and gives it a softer feel.

Concrete kitchen countertops

  • convey loft charm
  • are scratch-resistant
  • very difficult
  • Synthetic sealant provides permanent protection against stains
Concrete countertops such as those from Villarocca are well protected against scratches

Natural stone: granite, marble and slate

When it comes to natural stone countertops, you have the choice between granitemarble and slate – stones that look classy and offer an individual surface pattern as well as a wide range of colors, but which also come at a price. If you want to buy a granite kitchen, you have to calculate about 250 euros per meter for a worktop. A big advantage: Natural stones are insensitive to heat, cuts and scratches and even water can usually not harm them.

Particularly robust: granite. It can withstand temperatures of up to 600 degrees and is particularly resistant to stains and scratches. In addition, the smooth surface of the stone is very easy to clean.

Marble is slightly softer, making it more susceptible to scratches and other damage, and also more sensitive to stains, as it absorbs liquid more easily and is also more sensitive to acids than granite.

Slate also does not come close to the hardness of granite and is susceptible to scratches. In some cases, even pieces can burst out of the material. Most often, slate is broken and not sanded, creating an uneven surface – inconvenient for handling cutting boards.

When choosing the décor, you should pay attention to the fact that natural stone in black and gray can be very cool and very dominant, especially in small kitchens and thick countertops, finely patterned granite slabs with many colors, on the other hand, quickly cause unrest.

Not yet so well known, but more and more on the rise in kitchen countertops made of natural stone: K-Proof. This is an impregnation process presented for the first time in 2017 at the “Living Kitchen” trade fair in Cologne and specially developed for quartzites. The advantage over other kitchen countertops made of natural stone: Countertops processed with K-Proof only need to be impregnated once, it is said, and never again after that – high heat resistance, shock and scratch resistance as well as easy cleaning and particularly stain-repellent properties against foods such as oil, wine, vinegar and coffee included. In addition, worktops processed with K-Proof are not quite as dominant in design and score with calm and light structure.

Protection and care: All natural stones are sensitive to acids and therefore quickly get stains from fruit, for example. Therefore, acid-free cleaners should also be used to clean the surface – special cleaning agents for natural stones are best. Natural stones absorb liquids quickly, so oil and water stains should be removed quickly. If you want to protect yourself against stains, you can impregnate the slab with a natural stone care.

Kitchen countertops made of natural stone

  • appear noble
  • Resistant to heat, cuts and scratches (especially granite)
  • are sensitive to acids
  • Natural stone care protects against stains

Wooden kitchen countertops

Wood brings naturalness to the kitchen, warms visually and creates a homely atmosphere. However, even hard types of wood are not too robust, heavy pots can leave dents, kitchen knives and other sharp-edged objects cuts. Bacteria can collect in the cracks that have formed. Therefore: Never cut directly on the countertop. Wood is only partially heat-resistant, hot pots quickly leave discoloration or even burn marks. Also, the material is susceptible to stains and swells quickly when moisture penetrates. You can protect yourself against this by sealing all joints well – especially those around the sink and hob.

Protection and care: In order to make the natural material more durable, it can either be impregnated with oil or sealed with a special varnish, whereby the latter deprives the material of its natural feel and the resulting gloss effect also makes the wood look less natural. In the case of an oiled work surface, the protection should be renewed regularly so that the wood remains beautiful. Oiled wood has the advantage that the board can be easily sanded off in case of stains and minor damage – also an advantage over work surfaces made of other materials.

Wooden countertops

  • warm optically
  • comparatively inexpensive
  • not scratch and impact resistant
  • swell in damp conditions
  • need to be painted or oiled more often
A wooden worktop brings warmth and homeliness.


Corian is an artificial stone that consists mainly of the mineral aluminum hydroxide and acrylic resin and is characterized by a silky surface. The material is poured into mold and can thus be used in a very variable way – for example, in the form of a worktop that merges seamlessly into the sink. Corian is harder than wood, but kitchen boards should always be used for cutting even on Corian worktops, otherwise scratches will appear on the surface. Also, Corian is only resistant to heat for a short time, hot pots and pans must not be placed on the countertop. Available in more than 100 colours, Corian can also be made translucent – ideal for those who want to play with light effects in their kitchen.

Protection and care: Corian is non-porous, which is why it is not necessary to seal the surface of the countertop. In addition, the material is very easy to care for. To keep the surface beautiful for a long time, remove liquids and grease with a damp cloth and a mild detergent and water – ammonia-based cleaners, mild scouring milk or conventional household cleaners are suitable, for example.

Corian countertops

  • Seamless processing possible
  • sensitive to scratches and heat
  • does not need to be sealed
  • easy to care for
  • translucent decors available
With the Dupont Corian countertop, the worktop blends seamlessly into the sink.

Quartz composites

Quartz composites such as Zodiaq or Silestone consist of 93 percent quartz, which is supplemented by dyes and decorative materials such as glass or mirror pieces and bonded with acrylic resin to form plates. Quartz composites can be produced in many different decors. Due to the high quartz content, the material is very scratch-resistant, so that knives cannot normally cause any damage on the worktop. Since quartz composites are non-porous, liquids and germs do not penetrate the countertop – very beneficial for kitchen hygiene. Although the material is heat-resistant, you should not place hot cookware directly on the countertop, as it can cause irreparable damage to the surface at very high temperatures.

Protection and care: Unlike natural stone, waterproofing agents must not be applied to quartz composite countertops, as they will remain on the surface and form stains there. Never use aggressive agents such as drain or oven cleaner for cleaning. Hydrofluoric acid, corrosive soda or paint remover are also harmful to the material – just like alkaline cleaning agents with a pH value higher than ten.

Quartz composite countertops

  • very resistant to scratches and stains
  • conditionally heat-resistant
  • extremely hygienic
  • must not be impregnated


A reflective glass surface in the kitchen with its translucent look fits in with a modern furnishing style. Glass is very heat-resistant, but the material is susceptible to scratches. Water stains and grease are quickly visible on the translucent surface, which is why a glass countertop requires a lot of maintenance.

Glass countertops

  • highly heat-resistant
  • prone to scratches and stains
  • relatively expensive

Plastic (laminate, laminate)

Easy to care for, harder than wood and inexpensive – these are the advantages of plastic countertops. However, you should never cut directly on a plastic countertop, as this will destroy the surface. Plastic countertops are sensitive to heat – be sure to use coasters. Under the top layer of plastic there is usually pressboard wood in plastic worktops, so make sure that no water accumulates at the joints of the worktop, as the wood can swell if moisture penetrates the board. Plastic countertops are available in many different decors.

Plastic countertops

  • easy to care for
  • robust
  • sensitive to stagnant moisture (swelling damage)
  • auspicious
Worktop made of “Dekton”: Thanks to the manufacturing method, it is so hard that you can also cut on it.


The Dekton material occupies a special position among kitchen countertops, as it cannot be compared with any other new material such as Corian or quartz composites. Dekton is manufactured exclusively by the Cosentino company. For this purpose, raw materials, such as those used in the production of glass or porcelain surfaces, are initially cold-pressed with 25,000 tons. These plates are then sintered in the oven – which is equivalent to “baking” the plates. A subsequent polishing process ensures closed surfaces that cannot be harmed by heat or sharp objects. Dekton worktops are also protected against stains, UV light and water. The material is available in thicknesses from 0.8 to 3 cm and is available both plain and with individual looks such as wood.

Protection and care: Due to the production of Dekton, the surface of the material is enormously dense, robust and resistant. Targeted care is therefore not necessary. Nevertheless, you should not rub the surface with a metal sponge if the surface has still received a high-gloss finish (“XGloss” series). With the sponge, the dense surface would be roughened again. The shine could disappear.

Kitchen countertops made of Dekton

  • impervious to heat and scratches
  • available in different decors and thicknesses
  • also tolerates moisture
  • mid to upper price segment

Ceramic kitchen countertops

Ceramic is similar to granite because of its composition of sand, feldspar, clay and mineral oxides, but it is an artificially produced stone that is fired under pressure and high temperatures. Ceramic countertops are more robust than those made of granite and are particularly scratch-resistant and heat-resistant. Ceramics are insensitive to acids and resistant to stains, since the material practically does not absorb liquids due to its closed surface. For this reason, the material is extremely hygienic. Ceramics can be produced in very thin plates and therefore appear very light. In addition, the material is available in many colour variations and patterns and is therefore compatible with many kitchen furnishings. However, a ceramic plate is comparatively expensive.

Protection and care: Ceramics are particularly easy to care for and can be cleaned with all common means. Since the material is resistant to chemicals, acidic cleaning agents can also be used for cleaning.

Ceramic countertops

  • particularly robust and heat-resistant
  • insensitive to acids and stain resistant
  • easy to care for
  • relatively expensive
An important and popular material in lifestyle kitchens are ceramic worktops.

Stainless steel kitchen countertops

Stainless steel worktops are often used in commercial kitchens because they are hygienic and very heat-resistant. However, they are susceptible to scratches and water, grease and other liquids also quickly leave traces. In a standard kitchen, where aesthetics are as important as functionality, this is a disadvantage.

Protection and care: Stainless steel countertops can be cleaned with soapy water, but there are also special stainless steel cleaners. Minor scratches are removed with scouring milk.

Stainless steel countertops

  • heat-resistant and hygienic
  • prone to scratches and stains
  • mid-price segment