Here's a breakdown of counter top materials, comparing their stain, heat, scratch and impact resistance in relation to the costs of each.

Laminate Solid Surface Granite Quartz
Scratch Resistance
Stain Resistance
Heat Resistance
Renewability
Pricing

Products

Choosing a countertop material can be as confusing as deciding on your cabinet door design. There are the practical needs and differences to consider, as well as the room's layout, style, and character.

Combining different materials in a kitchen fully utilizes each material's performance while adding interest to the design. Consider a cool-to-the-touch quartz baking area, a butcher block-topped island, slate around the cooktop, and granite by the sink.

Countertops are hard-working surfaces that more or less act as the area's 'workbench'. However any functional similarity with their garage counterparts ends when you consider the myriad of material choices that are available.

There's probably no other surface in the house, other than flooring perhaps, that matches the range of product types and styles available for counters.

Laminate

Price: Low

Scratch Resistance: Low to Medium

Stain Resustance: Medium

Renewability: Low

Heat Resistance: Low

From standard finish to High Definition Laminate, there are many color and finish options to choose from. Many patterns are very similar look to Natural Granite. Undermount sinks are now also available for laminate countertops!

Low maintenance and easy cleanup

A laminate countertop is designed to be stain-resistant, so cleaning it is very simple. This can be done by wiping the surface with a damp cloth soaked in soapy water. Be sure and rinse countertop of all soap residue (if soap is used). For removing stuck-on stains and residues, scrubbing the surface with a SOFT bristle nylon brush can do the trick.

Safe and harmless to food

A laminate countertop does not harbor the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria, and other microorganisms. Using bleach and other harsh cleansers are not necessary in cleaning the surface.

Widest color and pattern selections

Among all the other types of countertops, a laminate countertop offers the widest colors and pattern options. Most brands come in more than 250 choices. This diversity allows you to choose the exact design that matches the motif or theme of your kitchen.

Affordable

A laminate countertop is known to be the most affordable among all types of countertops.

No resistance to scratches and cracks

A laminate countertop is susceptible to scratching, chipping, cuts, and breakage especially along its edges. Sharp knives and other pointed objects can easily scratch the surface, so slicing and preparing food directly on the countertop is not advisable.

No resistance to heat

A laminate countertop does not have the ability to resist heat and burns. It can crack if it is exposed to hot objects such as hot skillets or a cup or steaming coffee. A laminate countertop requires the use of trivets and place mats when putting hot objects on its surface.

Cannot be repaired

A damaged laminate countertop cannot be repaired anymore. Most third-party seam-fill kits can reduce the damage on your countertop or make it less noticeable, they cannot completely repair a fragment that has been broken or cracked.

Brands and Colors

Formica, WilsonArt, Nevamar, Pionite

Acrylic Solid Surface

Price: Medium to High

Scratch Resistance: Low to Medium

Stain Resustance: High

Renewability: High

Heat Resistance: Low

Solid-surface countertops are one of the most popular kitchen countertop choices because of their simple yet stylish look, smooth feel, and low maintenance. A typical solid-surface countertop is made of acrylic sheets that are laminated together.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The main advantage of a solid surface countertop is its look and feel. Color patterns and shades are very bright, and sharp, and visible throughout the surface. Also, despite the firm construction, they are also easy to mold, making them great for fully customized countertop orders. Sinks and backsplashes can be integrated.

Special adhesives used for plastics can easily weld two separate pieces of solid surface material together. This makes solid surface countertops cleaner to connect and eliminates the need for traditional attachments such as nails and screw, which can disfigure the countertop. Cutting boards are recommended to protect from scratching.

Durability

In terms of durability, solid surface countertops do not disappoint. Solid surface countertops can withstand a lot of impact. Most Solid surface countertops are also nonporous, which makes them highly resistant to stains. It also prevents the growth of bacteria, mold, and other harmful organisms.

No resistance to heat

Solid surface countertops have some drawbacks as well. Concentrated and excessive heat, such as those coming from hot pans, pots, or kettles, can permanently damage the material. They are also weak against extreme cold. Temperatures below five degree Celsius can cause solid surface countertops to crack.

Can be repaired

Solid surface countertops require very little maintenance and can easily be repaired. Scratches on the surface can be buffed off, cigarette burns can be sanded away, and food stains wipe away easily. Fractures and dents can be repaired with minor reconstruction.

Brands and Colors

LG Himacs, Meganite

Granite

Price: Medium to High

Scratch Resistance: High

Stain Resustance: Medium

Renewability: Low to Medium

Heat Resistance: High

Granite countertops strike a perfect balance between function and style. Besides lending your kitchen an elegant, polished look, they are highly resistant to wear, are inhospitable to bacteria and mildew, and can take a lot of impact.

Advantages

Granite is beautiful! No two pieces are exactly the same. Its hard durable surface Because it is a highly compact material, sealed granite allows no room for water to seep in. The dryness creates a hostile environment for bacteria, mold, and mildew, which require a moist environment to thrive, and this makes granite countertops an ideal fixture material for bathrooms and kitchens. Granite is very resistant to scratches.

Resistance to heat

Granite is exposed to extremely high pressures and temperatures during formation, making it highly resistant to heat. You can place a pot fresh out of the fire onto a granite countertop without melting or deforming the surface. Also, because of its rocky composition, granite is very compact and durable. A granite countertop will last as long as your home does, maybe longer.

Durability

Granite is one of the hardest materials known to man. With that knowledge, it isnít difficult to understand why granite countertops could benefit any kitchen. A chopping block, a hot plate; this countertop is a multi functional investment. It is also extraordinarily dense which prevents stains from forming on the surface. For once in history, it isnít the sharp knives damaging and destroying the countertops! With granite countertops, itís more sensible to save the knives and use a cutting board to protect the knives longevity.

Safe and harmless to food

High quality sealers ensure that using granite as a surface material in any kitchen, commercial or residential is a healthy decision. Most granites only need to be sealed once. Granite is incredibly easy to keep clean and is not prone to absorbing moisture that promotes bacteria growth. Granite countertops are easy to clean and keep sanitary without the aid of harsh chemicals.

Brands and Colors

Midwest, Stone Design, UGM

Quartz

Price: Medium to High

Scratch Resistance: High

Stain Resustance: High

Renewability: Low to Medium

Heat Resistance: High

Quartz countertops are very much like granite, but require no maintenance. They are very hard, stain resistant, scorch resistant, and are NSF approved for use in restaurants, etc.

Resistance to heat

Unlike solid surfaces and laminates, Quartz countertops are scorch-resistant. It will withstand limited exposure to heat without burning or scorching. However, as advised by slow cookers and electric skillet manufacturers, do not place these items directly on any countertop. Always use trivets when placing hot items on any natural stone or quartz surface to avoid thermal shock.

Durability

Quartz is naturally scratch-resistant. Only three other natural minerals (diamond, sapphire and topaz) are harder than quartz. Quartz is a seven on Mohs Hardness Scale (diamond is a 10). Quartz has four times the flexular strength of granite making it less susceptible to chipping and cracking during transportation and installation.

Safe and harmless to food

There is no safer surface for food preparation. Unlike granite, you never have to seal or polish a quartz countertop.

Brands and Colors

Hanstone, Ceasarstone