Welcome to Tim The Tool Man Thunderdome for the home improvement showdown of the century!!!! Squaring off today we have Granite, Marble, Quartz, and Recycled Glass to see which option measures up the best against the test of durability, cost, and design!!! As we closely compare these natural (or mostly natural) materials, who will take home the grand prize of going into YOUR home??? Stay tuned to find out! 

Okay, got that out of our systems. Countertops are central to bathrooms, the kitchen, laundry room, outdoor patio grill/bar. You can choose to replace them as the one major expense in a modest remodel, or make it part and parcel of your next major reno. They add value, but as much as they add they also have a lot of value that comes out of your pocket via moneeeeeeeey. The more valuable the item, the more dough you shell out. So what’s worth it?  And where do you even start?! Allow us. Ahem

To simplify, we’ve narrowed the field to a natural resource that carries value, variety and beauty: stone.

Durability

This is important. Especially in the kitchen and outdoors where the elements will be toughest. (Speaking of elements, they change from room to room; humidity, heat, weather, stains vary from bathroom, kitchen, laundry, outdoors; make note of the elements of the room when deliberating.)

Quartz is the most resilient when it comes to kitchen use. They’re resistant to heat, cuts and scratches and don’t stain. This material is part-nature, part-man to bring you the best of science/tech and natural resources.

Granite is second only to quartz because it needs a seal to resist stains. Whereas Quartz does it all on its own, granite must be sealed (and re-sealed every year or so) to maintain its spotless reputation.

Marble (and limestone, and soapstone) is a much sought after material for its beauty. Soapstone and limestone can handle the heat, but they’re susceptible to nicks and cuts, or scratching. Most foods won’t stain, especially if wiped away instantly, but some foods are too tough for these guys. As for Marble, it can’t quite handle the heat, so hotpads are a MUST.

Recycled Glass is one funky mother option. It does well against sharp, scratchy and staining objects. Handles the heat for the most part, but really research the brand as some fair better than others when in the hot seat.

Cost

Yay. Everybody’s favorite part… There’s no real way to sugarcoat this, so let’s get to it.

Quartz expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 per square foot.

Granite you’re looking at $50 – $200 on average.

Marble comes in around $125 – $250. Limestone & soapstone are more in line with Quartz and Granite varying between $70 and $125 per square foot.

Recycled Glass has the smallest range of only $50 – $80 on average, but costs can go as high as $125 depending on brand. 

Design

It really does matter. Your countertops are the equivalent of your sectional or bed in more loungey rooms. They make a statement and command the rest of the decor of their room. But how do these natural stone (and like) materials match up?

Well, if you’re looking for a wide variety of choices in color and texture/design, then you’re best off picking from Quartz and Recycled Glass. As they have a little Man in their making, these materials can be made in almost any color and the size of the glass or quartz can be as big or small as you like. Pretty much customizable.

Granite and Marble, on the other hand stay more limited in colors and design. There are several different types of marble and granite that have their own unique veining and color, but with marble you’re limited to neutral whites, creamy beiges, or black; granite has a few more color options, but they remain earthy in shade and tone. Granite can also be tricky when having to cut and match seams. 

And the winner is……. Whatever you like best that fits your budget!!!!! There are a few other much loved, reasonably priced, durable, and beautiful options for counters (butcher block, stainless steel, laminate, etc.) but when it comes to ultimate durability, stone materials can’t be beat. They’re more resistant to regular wear and tear than all other materials, and they have a high quality look that’s worth it if you can afford it. But as with any home improvement venture, the choice is ultimately yours.