luxury bathroom countertop and backsplash

Selecting Countertops and Backsplashes Like a Pro

Kitchen and bathroom design often centers around countertop and backsplash material choices. The material you choose can make or break your entire design scheme. The countertop and backsplash are often the first things someone notices when entering your kitchen or bathroom. With the number of materials, options, and colors available, here are some helpful details that can make your decisions a little more manageable.

Consider Decor And Function for Countertop and Backsplash Materials

The role of a countertop and a backsplash in your home is to create a design style while performing a function. Look for material and style that will stand out, but can also stand up to day-to-day use in your kitchen or bathroom. Evaluate your area, lifestyle, and budget to determine which materials will work for you.

Countertop and backsplash materials can dominate a remodeling budget. If you choose to go with tile, there are tile calculators available online to help with the planning process. 

kitchen countertop and backsplash

Countertop Material Choices

There are many timelessly beautiful countertop styles and materials. The diversity of available materials can make countertop selection a difficult choice. We broke down the most popular options for you.

 

Material

Cost

Durability

Cleaning

Maintenance

Granite

$90-$200 per square foot installed

Very durable, if properly installed.

Impervious to heat. 

May crack if improperly installed.

Porous if unsealed.

Mild soap, warm water, and a microfiber cloth.

Nearly maintenance-free, when sealed. 

Requires sealing.

Marble

$100-$300 per square foot installed

Heatproof

Waterproof

Can be scratched.

Can be stained.

Porous if unsealed.

Granite and marble cleaner, or non-acidic soap and water.

Difficult to repair.

Requires sealing.

Quartz (Engineered Stone)

$60-$80 per square foot installed

Impervious to heat and acid.

Stain-resistant.

Scratch resistant.

Soap, water, and a soft cloth.

Easy maintenance. No sealing is required.

Quartzite (Natural Stone)

$65-$200 per square foot installed

Very durable, like granite.

Impervious to heat.

Porous if unsealed.

Mild soap, warm water, and a microfiber cloth. 

Requires sealing.

Butcher Block

$40-$100 per square foot installed

Can be scratched, cracked, stained, water damaged, or home to bacteria.

Scrub with mild soap, hot water, and a brush. Disinfect with undiluted vinegar.

Remove stains with a salt and lemon scrub. 

Lots of maintenance is required. 

Frequent oiling and sealing are needed.

Can be resanded and resealed.

Soapstone

$85-$150 per square foot installed

Easily scratched and dented.

May darken.

Somewhat stain resistant.

Somewhat impervious to heat.

Non-porous.

Clean with soap, water, and a soft cloth. May use a stone cleaner, if desired.

Must be treated with mineral oil.

Can be sanded down.

May still benefit from sealing.

Terrazzo

$50-$100 per square foot installed

Typically durable, depending on the materials used.

Scratch-resistant.

Stone cleaner.

Requires sealing.

Stainless Steel

$100-$225 per square foot installed

Durable. Heat resistant. Seamless.

Easily scratched by knives.

Soap and water, or glass cleaner for regular cleaning.

Bar Keeper’s Friend for rust.

No maintenance other than cleaning.

Glass

(available as recycled glass to make it eco-friendly)

$70-$200+ per square foot, installed

Heat resistant. Scratch-resistant. Stain-resistant. May be prone to light scratching. May crack, chips, or dent with impact.

All purpose cleaner for disinfecting. Glass cleaner.

No maintenance required. Small scratches can be rubbed out, or filled. 

Concrete

$165-$300+ per square foot installed

Subject to cracking. Porous, so may be prone to stains. Heat resistant. Crack resistant. 

Soap and water. A stone cleaner may also be used.

Requires regular sealing.

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

$20-$110 per square foot, installed

Durable. Immune to heat. May crack or chip. Grout can stain. Water-resistant.

Soap and water for daily use. Grout cleaner for grout lines. 

Tiles may need to be replaced if damaged. Grout should be sealed. Grout may need to be replaced as needed. 

luxury bathroom countertop

Backsplash Material Options

Your backsplash should protect your walls with style. Choose a timeless material that will be durable and easy to clean. There are many tile options, but here are a few of the most popular choices.

Material

Cost

Durability

Cleaning

Maintenance

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

$20-$80 per square foot, installed

Durable. Immune to heat. May crack or chip. Grout can stain. Water-resistant.

Soap and water for daily use. Grout cleaner for grout lines. 

Tiles may need to be replaced if damaged. Grout may need to be replaced as needed. 

Glass Tile

$35-$60 per square foot, installed

May crack, chip, or crack. Heat resistant. Stain-resistant.

Soap and water. Glass cleaner. 

Grout cleaner for grout lines.

Tiles need no maintenance, but grout should be sealed. 

Metal Tile

$25-$70 per square foot, installed

Prone to scratching. 

Soap and water. Glass cleaner. 

No maintenance required.

Travertine Tile

$20-50 per square foot, installed

May stain if unsealed. May crack or chip. Porous if unsealed.

Stone cleaner.

Grout cleaner for grout lines.

Needs to be sealed regularly.

Thermoplastic

$7-$20 per square foot

May warp in heat from the stove. May peel away from the wall over time. 

Soap and water. 

No grout to maintain. May peel away from the walls eventually and need frequent replacing.

Manufactured Stone

$10-$100 per square foot, installed

Prone to staining. Heat resistant. Crack-resistant. Water-resistant if sealed. Porous if unsealed.

Stone cleaner.

Needs to be sealed regularly. 

Supply Chain Considerations for Countertop and Backsplash Materials

Obtaining construction materials are affected by global factors in addition to our current supply issues. Supply chain issues have hit the construction and remodeling industries across the board. If you find a material you like, order it well before you need it. If you are fortunate enough to find a slab you like that is in stock, consider purchasing it and paying for a storage option until you are ready to use it. There are no guarantees it will be available later.

At Drafting Cafe Architects, our goal is for our Bay Area clients to find countertop and backsplash solutions to fit their lifestyles and goals. Our team of architects, contractors, project managers, and designers work with clients to come up with the best design to help them get the most out of their home. Please contact us today for an estimate on your remodel.

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