What coun­ter­top to choose for the kitchen, so that it fits the design as best as pos­si­ble, meets all the nec­es­sary require­ments? What mate­r­i­al is suit­able for this pur­pose? Every­one has their own con­cept of beau­ty and har­mo­ny, but afford­able price, ease of care, dura­bil­i­ty and reli­a­bil­i­ty are impor­tant for every­one. There is a huge selec­tion of fin­ish­ing mate­ri­als for work sur­faces, each of them has its own advan­tages. We decid­ed to col­lect in one arti­cle brief infor­ma­tion about the com­po­si­tion, advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages of the most pop­u­lar com­po­si­tions from which coun­ter­tops are made. We hope that such a com­par­a­tive descrip­tion of each of them will help you in choos­ing.

Chipboard — an economical option

Chip­board. Wood saw­dust and shav­ings are glued togeth­er with formalde­hyde resins. Depend­ing on the com­po­si­tion with which chip­board is lined, there are 3 types: melamine, veneered, lam­i­nat­ed.



Afford­able price

Due to the resins includ­ed in the com­po­si­tion, it can release formalde­hyde that is harm­ful to health

Dura­bil­i­ty — holds fas­ten­ers well

Pos­si­ble swelling, defor­ma­tion due to mois­ture ingress

Self-assem­bly pos­si­ble

Low tem­per­a­ture resis­tance

Short ser­vice life

Our advice. Pro­tect the sur­face from mois­ture, wipe the joints dry, use a cut­ting board, hot coast­ers — then it will serve you faith­ful­ly for a long time.

natural wood

Wood is an envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly nat­ur­al mate­r­i­al that adds a folk motif and a mod­ern design approach to the inte­ri­or.

There are two types of wood­en coun­ter­tops: sol­id and slab:


A piece of wood that has been processed: dried, sand­ed, var­nished, etc. Looks styl­ish, mod­ern, rel­e­vant. But it is not stan­dard in size. This is more of a design accent than a prac­ti­cal ele­ment of a kitchen set. Usu­al­ly slabs are tak­en for the man­u­fac­ture of din­ing tables, where the load and per­for­mance require­ments are not so high.


Coat­ing glued from indi­vid­ual blocks of wood of the same species. It is impos­si­ble to find a whole piece of wood of the required length and width in nature, so glu­ing tech­nol­o­gy is used. The het­ero­gene­ity of the bars in col­or and pat­tern is vis­i­ble visu­al­ly.

Even wood processed and made accord­ing to all tech­nolo­gies remains a mate­r­i­al that requires care in han­dling. It is strong­ly not rec­om­mend­ed to put hot objects on them. When cut­ting prod­ucts, you must use a cut­ting board. In a room with a wood­en work­top, rel­a­tive humid­i­ty and aver­age tem­per­a­ture must be mon­i­tored.

Wood­en coun­ter­tops are more often installed in kitchens where they cook infre­quent­ly. They cre­ate a spe­cial inte­ri­or back­ground and design approach than prac­ti­cal­i­ty.


  • envi­ron­men­tal friend­li­ness, aes­thet­ics, unique nat­ur­al tex­ture, pleas­ant to the touch.


  • low per­for­mance, high price.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers of coun­ter­tops for the kitchen offer dif­fer­ent types of mate­ri­als with their pros and cons. With a huge selec­tion of coat­ings, you can always find one that fits a par­tic­u­lar kitchen set in appear­ance, wear resis­tance and cost.

Plastic — lightweight and affordable

The basis is a chip­board (some­times MDF), which is cov­ered with a thin lay­er of durable HPL plas­tic. They are fas­tened togeth­er under high pres­sure — this method is called post­form­ing.



Low price

If mois­ture gets inside, peel­ing and swelling of the plas­tic occurs.

UV resis­tant, non-abra­sive deter­gents

Harm­ful formalde­hyde fumes pos­si­ble

Sim­ple, quite reli­able in oper­a­tion

Short ser­vice life

Wide col­or range

Our advice. The most unpro­tect­ed place of such a coun­ter­top is the joints, so try to think in advance of the loca­tion of the sink away from the seams, to avoid exces­sive con­tact with water. When installing, it is bet­ter to use pro­tec­tive sealants — this will pre­vent mois­ture from enter­ing.

Compare performance

Take a look at the com­par­i­son table of per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics of the 6 main types of coun­ter­tops. The results may sur­prise you: it turned out that the most expen­sive option is far from the best, and the cheap­est one is one of the most prac­ti­cal.

If you are view­ing the table on a smart­phone, rotate it to a hor­i­zon­tal posi­tion — this way the entire table will fit into the screen area.

  • From agglom­er­ate
  • Made of acrylic stone
  • From nat­ur­al stone
  • plas­tic table top
  • Wood­en
  • stain­less steel
Scratch resis­tance Great poor­ly Great sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly poor­ly
Dirt resis­tance Great sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly sat­is­fac­to­ry *Mar­ble — poor Great sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly Sat­is­fac­to­ry *May leave fin­ger­prints, water stains
Resis­tant to crack­ing and chip­ping Great Great sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly Great sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly Great
Resis­tant to con­tact with hot dish­es sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly poor­ly Great poor­ly sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly Great
Resis­tance to food acids Great Great sat­is­fac­to­ry *Mar­ble — poor sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly poor­ly Great
Mois­ture imper­me­able Great Great sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly Sat­is­fac­to­ry *But in the seams and joints — bad poor­ly Great
impact resis­tance Great sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly Great
Col­or fast­ness Great Great poor­ly Great sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly Great

Acrylic composite — “warm” stone imitation

The com­po­si­tion of the com­pos­ite includes: resins, min­er­al com­po­nents, pig­ment addi­tives. Under the influ­ence of high tem­per­a­tures (from 150 C) it becomes plas­tic, it can be giv­en any shape — for this qual­i­ty it is high­ly val­ued by inte­ri­or design­ers. You can read more about this mate­r­i­al in the arti­cle What is an arti­fi­cial stone.



Rea­son­able price, espe­cial­ly when com­pared with nat­ur­al mate­ri­als

Impact resis­tance

Long ser­vice life

Low tem­per­a­ture resis­tance

Mois­ture resis­tance, resis­tance to most food dyes, to house­hold chem­i­cals

Dif­fi­cul­ty of instal­la­tion

Acrylic coun­ter­tops are 100% repairable

The flex­i­bil­i­ty of the mate­r­i­al allows you to cre­ate fur­ni­ture with round­ed smooth shapes

No seams on the sur­face

Vari­ety of shades, tex­tures

Warm to the touch (accepts ambi­ent tem­per­a­ture)

It is dif­fi­cult to answer the ques­tion of which coun­ter­top is bet­ter for the kitchen: acrylic or quartz, because each of these mate­ri­als has its own advan­tages. Here are some tips to help extend the life of your acrylic sur­face even fur­ther:

  • choose mat­te pol­ish­ing — pos­si­ble scratch­es will not be so notice­able;
  • it is bet­ter to take light shades and tex­tures with small or medi­um inclu­sions — they are the most prac­ti­cal for the kitchen;
  • use coast­ers and cut­ting boards.

The ideal countertop — what is it?

No mat­ter how obvi­ous it may be, but first of all you need to pro­ceed from your finan­cial capa­bil­i­ties. It is clear that if the bud­get is unlim­it­ed, then there are no prob­lems, but when it is nec­es­sary to strict­ly cal­cu­late the costs, then lay a rather large amount on the coun­ter­top. Every­where there are sit­u­a­tions when peo­ple choose a kitchen from an array, with expen­sive fit­tings, but there is no more mon­ey for the lid, and you have to buy the cheap­est option. From this, of course, the whole design suf­fers.

It is worth con­sid­er­ing the dimen­sions and style of the room: pompous nat­ur­al stone is unlike­ly to be appro­pri­ate in a six-meter kitchen, just like lam­i­nat­ed chip­board will not fit into a lux­u­ri­ous man­sion in a clas­sic style.

Ide­al Sur­face:

  • resis­tant to chips and impacts;
  • does not absorb dirt and does not stain;
  • tol­er­ates high tem­per­a­tures;
  • not afraid of mois­ture;
  • does not react to acids and oth­er aggres­sive sub­stances;
  • easy to clean;
  • being restored;
  • beau­ti­ful and har­mo­nious­ly com­ple­ments the inte­ri­or;
  • afford­able.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there is no mate­r­i­al that would 100% meet these con­di­tions.

Quartz agglomerate — respectability and reliability

The main com­po­nent is crushed quartz chips (90 — 96%), the remain­ing 4–10% are binder resins and pig­ments. Due to its almost nat­ur­al com­po­si­tion, it imi­tates nat­ur­al stone as much as pos­si­ble. You can read more about this mate­r­i­al here: How arti­fi­cial stone coun­ter­tops are made.



Mate­r­i­al strength

Expen­sive price

Long ser­vice life

Lim­it­ed choice of col­ors

Quartz coun­ter­tops are mois­ture resis­tant, resis­tant to house­hold chem­i­cals, acids

Seam vis­i­bil­i­ty

High tem­per­a­ture resis­tance


Our advice. Agglom­er­ate is a very strong, but com­plete­ly non-plas­tic mate­r­i­al. There­fore, if you have cho­sen a coun­ter­top of a non-stan­dard shape for your­self, then it is bet­ter to make it from acrylic. From quartz, sim­ple forms with clear angles are obtained — the min­i­mal­ism of a mod­ern style.

How to choose a material for countertops: the advantages of plastic coating

Plas­tic is an eco­nom­i­cal option for a bud­get kitchen. Chip­board with lam­i­na­tion is char­ac­ter­ized by impor­tant advan­tages:

  • Afford­able cost: a beau­ti­ful and reli­able coun­ter­top made of chip­board with plas­tic is 6–10 times cheap­er than the most afford­able stone mod­el. The cost depends on the fea­tures of the shape and dimen­sions of the prod­uct.
  • Fin­ish­ing options are almost unlim­it­ed: imi­ta­tion of stone and wood, bright col­ors, print­ed sur­faces.
  • Styl­is­tic ver­sa­til­i­ty.
  • Reli­able and high-qual­i­ty plas­tic is a durable, safe and hygien­ic mate­r­i­al.
  • The table­top is easy to clean with spe­cial prod­ucts — plas­tic with­stands the effects of aggres­sive sub­stances.
  • You can safe­ly put hot dish­es, the sur­face is dif­fi­cult to break, scratch, any dirt is removed with­out dif­fi­cul­ty.

Granite — strength and solidity

A rock of vol­canic ori­gin, formed dur­ing the slow cool­ing of mag­ma. The gran­u­lar struc­ture has dif­fer­ent shades: gray, pink, green­ish, black.



durable sur­face

High price

High tem­per­a­ture resis­tance

Lim­it­ed choice of col­ors (it is impor­tant to take plates from one piece, oth­er­wise they may vary marked­ly in col­or)

Scratch resis­tance

heavy mate­r­i­al

Not impact resis­tant


Back­ground radi­a­tion pos­si­ble

Our advice. When installing a gran­ite coun­ter­top, you need to take into account that this is a heavy mate­r­i­al and addi­tion­al rein­force­ment will be need­ed for the low­er tier of cab­i­nets.

Criterias of choice

In the process of culi­nary cre­ativ­i­ty, table tops under­go var­i­ous process­es asso­ci­at­ed with cook­ing: splash­es of fat, oil spills, cuts, chips, stains from spilled wine or juice; expo­sure to extreme tem­per­a­ture changes (hot pots and pans, or frozen food), expo­sure to mois­ture (dur­ing clean­ing), shock (some­thing fell from the top draw­er); can be deformed, lose its orig­i­nal attrac­tive appear­ance, work­ing func­tion­al­i­ty — all this leads to its unsuit­abil­i­ty.

Based on the process­es described above, the cri­te­ri­on for suit­able qual­i­ties of the work­ing sur­face will be: its dura­bil­i­ty, prac­ti­cal­i­ty, mois­ture resis­tance, ease of main­te­nance, beau­ti­ful appear­ance, safe­ty for health, resis­tance to tem­per­a­tures.

The width of the work­ing area is usu­al­ly stan­dard — about 60 cm, the length depends on the design of the head­set itself, the thick­ness is from 2.7 cm.

It comes in var­i­ous shapes: rec­tan­gu­lar, round, p‑shaped, l‑shaped, square. The length and shape may not be stan­dard, made to order.

Since only the miser pays twice, we will choose a kitchen work­top with the best val­ue for mon­ey. To do this, con­sid­er the most pop­u­lar options from which they are made.

Marble — natural beauty and grace

Sed­i­men­ta­ry rock has a crys­talline struc­ture (com­posed of cal­ci­um car­bon­ate, mag­ne­sium). It has a beau­ti­ful pat­tern in the form of veins and stains. More often it is light in col­or, but depend­ing on the impu­ri­ties in the com­po­si­tion, it changes shades from yel­low to black.



Harm­less to health

High price

Long ser­vice life

Not resis­tant to mois­ture, oils, aggres­sive sub­stances and acids

Does­n’t fade in the sun

Soft, easy to dam­age

Expen­sive look


Joints are vis­i­ble

Low heat resis­tance

Our advice. A mar­ble sur­face needs to be looked after no less than a wood­en one:

  • avoid traces of dyes, grease stains, active chem­i­cal com­pounds;
  • con­stant­ly treat the sur­face with a pro­tec­tive com­pound;
  • use coast­ers and cut­ting boards;
  • take care of the coun­ter­top from chips — it will not be pos­si­ble to repair such dam­age.

In conclusion

The kitchen work­top takes all the brunt and is the most stressed ele­ment in the entire kitchen. That is why the mate­r­i­al should be as resis­tant as pos­si­ble to all types of impact, but at the same time have an attrac­tive appear­ance, because often the coun­ter­top flows smooth­ly into the din­ing area. To choose the right coun­ter­top mate­r­i­al and size, it is bet­ter to draw up a kitchen design project in advance, and our tips should help you deal with all the vari­ety of mate­ri­als.

The arti­cle was writ­ten for the site.

Tags:Kitchen, Table