Granite: A natural stone that is timeless with more than 20 shades. It also happens to be among the most expensive of counter materials, but if not sealed correctly, it is porous. Granite should be resealed after about 10 years.
Quartz: This engineered stone is a popular option to granite in that it has the beauty of natural stone without the high cost. It is engineered from high concentration quartz crystals and other natural substances.
Laminate: One of the most affordable options, it comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. It is easy to install. The downside is that laminate is easily damaged because the layers are simply glued together.
Concrete: This is a sought-after material for designers and homeowners because of its ability to take on any shape desired. The problem is that concrete is incredibly porous and, if not sealed properly, can absorb liquids and food. Also, hairline cracks can develop if poured in a giant slab.
Butcher block: Butcher-block counters need to be sealed very well. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of positives about this material besides aesthetics. It is sensitive in that hairline cracks can develop, it constantly needs wiped down and it doesn't hold up well against hot pans.
Marble: An elegant material, it has the unique ability to offer colors that won't look like any others. No two slabs are the same, and the material is very heat resistant.
Resin: Also known as solid-surface countertop, it includes Corian and soapstone. There are more than 100 colors and patterns, and most are opaque and light can usually permeate through them. While these counters are incredibly durable and unique, they are quite complex and could be expensive. They are, however, impact-resistant, stain-resistant and heat-resistant.
Reclaimed wood: Using reclaimed wood is sustainable. However, using it can be more time consuming because of striping off previous paint or chemical applications. And like other materials, the wood needs to be sealed. Waterlock is a great product to protect wood counters.
Stainless steel: This material is sought after because of its nearly indestructible qualities. Stainless steel cannot burn, rust or stain. It is easy to install and is 100 percent recyclable.
Porcelain: In the engineered genre, the stone-like counters are heat-resistant, stronger than granite, scratch-resistant, impervious to water, stain-resistant and 100 percent recyclable. Porcelain can crack under pressure -- a lot of pressure, though.