kitchen countertop

Kitchen Countertop Comparison

The countertop is probably one of the most under appreciated things in your home. Aside from your flooring, it’s a surface that gets used quite often for a variety of things. You want your countertop to be able to hold up to the rigors of everyday life from cooking, baking to seeing all manner of spills and stains. Before selecting your countertop, read below to find out the pro’s and con’s between the 3 main types offered at designQ – Granite, Quartz & Butcher Block. 

granite countertops
Granite Countertops
quartz countertops
Quartz Countertops
butcher block counters
Butcher Block Countertops

Granite Countertops

Granite is a natural stone mined from quarries all around the world, then polished and finished to shine. Each slab brings unique characteristics, colors and movement. 

Granite Countertops have a natural beauty and aesthetic to them that will help your kitchen really stand out, and will last many years. However, as with most natural materials, there are some drawbacks to think about as well. 

Pro’s:

  • Granite is a very hard material and is not easily scratched, marked or dented. In fact, it can often dull knife blades if used to cut items on. 
  • Granite is extremely heat resistant, although it’s not recommend to place a hot pot or pan on it for too long. While it can take the heat without being damaged or weakened you still want to use caution as it may mark the surface. 
  • Granite can be resistant to stains and won’t absorb liquids when properly sealed. Sealing your granite countertops is easy to do yourself and should be done once a year. 
  • Granite Countertops offer 5 different edge profiles to choose from, giving your countertops an even more unique look if desired!

Con’s:

  • Granite is a porous material. Which means if it is not sealed correctly, or not regularly re-sealed, if can start to absorb liquids producing a stain that may be impossible to remove. It’s important to re-seal your granite countertops on a yearly basis.
  • A poorly sealed countertop can also harbor bacteria in it’s pores.
  • Because Granite is a natural material the colors and movement pattern is all natural. You will not be able to accurately predict the exact pattern that will be installed in your home, and it will be similar but not an exact match to the sample seen when you picked it out. 
  • Granite can be on the more expensive side, and only comes in 1 thickness – 1 1/4″. 
Photo: Pacesetter Homes Cypress Showhome in Griesbach
Island: Terra White Granite
Perimeter: Antique Brown Granite

Quartz Countertops

Quartz Countertops are a man-made, non porous stone made up of natural ground quartz and a small percentage of polymer resins to make it very durable.

One thing to know about Quartz Countertops is the quartz part is a natural mineral, and is considered to be the most abundant material on Earth. The man made part comes in on how the countertops are manufactured. Read below for the pro’s and con’s of a quartz countertop.

Pro’s:

  • Quartz Countertops are extremely durable and will not easily crack, scratch or chip with normal everyday use.
  • Quartz Countertops are non-porous so no liquid will be absorbed. 
  • Unlike Granite, you do not need to seal quartz countertops! They are easily maintained with just soap & water!
  • Quartz countertops are stain resistant, although not stain proof. It’s still important to clean up spills as soon as possible to avoid permanent damage.
  • Quartz Countertops will have a more uniform, clean, sleek look to them.
  • Some quartz countertops come in 2 different thicknesses! So if you want to save a bit of money, a 3/4″ thickness may be just right for you. It still has all the same pro’s to it, just costs a little less! 3/4″ thick quartz can still accommodate an undermount sink as well.

Con’s:

  • Even though we mentioned a more uniform look as a Pro, it can also be a con if you want your home to have a more unique look to it. Because Quartz Countertops are man-made there is not a lot of uniqueness to them, and will look similar to every other quartz countertop on the block. 
  • Seams can tend to be a bit more noticeable than Granite, because of the lack of movement and texture in the material.
  • The resin & polymer fillers in Quartz are not heat resistant. Exposing quartz countertops to hot cookware could melt the resins and cause permanent discoloration and damage. 
  • UV Light will fade the pigments in Quartz countertops, so ensure you have window coverings installed. Because of this, Quartz countertops are not recommended for outdoor use. 
Photo: Sterling Homes Thomas Showhome in Kinglet Gardens
Countertop: Winterburn 3/4″ Quartz

Butcher Block Countertops

Butcher Block Countertops are made right here in Edmonton, Alberta using North American hardwoods. These countertops are ideal for both residential and commercial applications, and they really give a beautiful and unique accent to any kitchen. 

Available in 7 different wood species, these countertops are food safe, waterproof and maintenance free. The supplier used by designQ has the following pro’s and con’s about their butcher block countertops:

Pro’s:

  • The butcher block countertop is finished with a proprietary technology that gives you a food safe, waterproof and maintenance free countertop
  • Butcher Block countertops are very versatile! They can be used for countertops, benches, desks, mantles and so on! 
  • For every countertop sold, a tree is planted in partnership with OneTreePlanted.
  • These countertops are locally made by artisan woodworkers right here in Edmonton! 
  • Only North American hardwoods are used as they hold up to our ever changing climate far more than exotic woods can. 

Con’s:

  • Even though it is water resistant, wood is still a naturally porous product, no matter how well it’s finished. Try to avoid prolonged contact with water. If you see a spill, clean it up right away to avoid damage to the wood. 
  • Butcher Block countertops can tend to run on the more pricey side of things. Which is why adding a small accent to an island, or workspace is best. 
  • Butcher Block is essentially a giant cutting board, and it reacts the same when you cut on it. Over time, it will start to show cut marks if used as such. 
  • It may not be as durable as a stone, such as granite or quartz. Avoid excessive impact as the wood may compact under pressure. 
  • Be careful to keep out of direct sunlight or heat for prolonged periods of time as it will alter the appearance of the woodwork.
Photo: StreetSide Developments Fremont Showhome in Crystallina
Main Countertop: Winterburn 3/4″ Quartz
Butcher Block:
Hickory