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Ask a Designer: Easily Maintained Materials


Which countertop materials are easiest to maintain?

Terry Kenney:  Granite has been in the earth for a long time. When it's mined and brought out, it has some natural flaws and fissures and so on, so it will resist staining and scratching and heat just based on its natural makeup. It will ruin knives if you cut on it. Once it's polished or sealed, it will probably not stain. Although, there are some granites that might be a little bit more porous and do offer the opportunity of staining if you're not real diligent in your cleanup. Most of what will stain a granite countertop would be more like the oils, a ketchup bottle, or an olive oil bottle that might sit on the countertop. You might get a ring from that as opposed to spilling a glass of red wine and having it sit on the countertop.

The other countertops that are easily maintained are all of the manmade materials. The engineered quartz countertops typically have the same kind of resistance that granite does because it uses the same material along with manmade materials. Corians and the synthetic countertops, the darker colors, when they scratch, you can see that even though it's color through and through. The likelihood of them staining is … the darker colors probably won't, but you do see after many uses that Corian sinks they do stain.

Limestones and those kind of stones are more porous and used all over Europe, but they will stain and they will scratch. Here in the United States we like to have things pristine, and we like to make sure that it's going to stay that way.

Butcher block is something that I don't really recommend for use over the entire kitchen only because of the bacteria issue. It's not something that I recommend that people chop on or chop meat or anything like that on because you can't clean it that well.

All the metals are just gorgeous to use, but they are living [inaudible 00:02:04]. They will change over time. It is not going to look the same today as it will in three weeks in three years from now.