Here are a few more countertop materials to throw into the mix…
Everyone thinks of wood as a flooring material, but it can also be a beautiful and functional countertop as shown in the above kitchen by Venegas and Company out of Boston. Adding a wood top to an island while using a different material for the perimeter counters is a terrific way to add some interest and function. Wood counters require periodic oiling to prevent them from drying out but they add a warmth no other material can.
Another multi-functional material, stainless steel is good for more than just appliances as shown in the above kitchen by Andre Rothblatt Architecture. Of course it does show water spots and fingerprints more than most materials, but it also cleans up easily and is virtually indestructible. Stainless steel is heat resistant and durable, but it’s expensive and you cannot cut on it. Most people think of stainless steel countertops as industrial looking, but I think they look elegant mixed with stone and warm wood cabinets.
Don’t be fooled…the above image by Venegas and Company looks like stainless steel but is actually concrete; one of the benefits of concrete is that color options are practically limitless! A skilled craftsman can create almost any shape and color; however, labor = $$ so concrete will end up being comparable in price to granite even though the material itself is less expensive. Another thing to note is that concrete does require sealing in order to resist water and stains.
So what is the right choice for you? Consider the style of your home, your cooking lifestyle and your budget and narrow down the options from there. Happy remodeling!