Everyone is on the bandwagon with granite stone – homeowners, realtors and countertop installation companies. You hear so much about granite that you may forget that there are other types of material options to choose from. It’s always good to explore what’s out there, so you can get something that best suits your own taste, lifestyle and décor. Granite isn’t always the best option, especially when it comes to cost. In other cases, it may be the overall look not resonating with the rest of the bathroom or kitchen design.
Granite Countertops as Alternative of itself?
Granite as an alternative to granite? No, not a joke. Although what most of us think of when we think of granite is the speckly gray or brown stuff, granite actually comes in lots of different colors and variations, including “pure white,” which looks a lot like marble.
If you’re getting ready to remodel your kitchen or bathroom, but want to choose a stone other than granite, then the following alternatives should be considered. Let’s take a look.
Marble Stone Countertops as Alternative of Granite
Marble used to be the top stone used in luxury homes back in the late 20th century, but granite quickly stole the spotlight in at the turn of the century. It’s a beautiful stone that can be used just about anywhere in the home, including the bathroom, kitchen, floors and fireplace. If you’re contemplating using marble as a countertop, then you should keep in mind that marble is porous and not as tough as granite, which leaves it prone to scratches and stains. It’s an ideal material for folks who don’t mind their countertops showing some age and wear, so perfectionists beware!
Pros of Marble Countertops: Gorgeous. Can be cheaper than granite.
Big Con of Marble Countertops: Super high-maintenance. Marble, since it’s softer and more porous than granite, can stain or etch very easily. But if you love the look, it may be worth it to you to be super vigilant about cleaning up red wine and lemon juice.
Faith, our Kitchn editor, put a lot of thought into her choice of marble countertops for her new kitchen. You can read her list of pros and cons and other marble-related considerations here.
Soapstone Countertops as Alternative of Granite
This is another soft stone, but isn’t porous, which makes it a better option for kitchen counters, as it doesn’t stain easily. It has a naturally smooth surface, which is why it was dubbed soapstone. It’s pretty resilient, given its soft nature. You mainly find this stone in black or other dark colors. It’s a great option for cooks, since it is pretty resistant to heat.
This dark stone with light veining has a beautiful, old-world feel. Easier to maintain than marble (although still higher maintenance than granite). Want to learn more about soapstone? You can read an interview with a homeowner with soapstone countertops here.
Wooden Counters as Alternative of Granite Countertops
Stone isn’t the only option you have for your countertops – wood is making a slow comeback in the homeowner community. There are some people who use wooden counters for their kitchen islands, giving a nice renaissance touch to the design. In the kitchen, wood adds warmth. You’ll need to oil them every now and the to keep them from drying out.
Wood also looks good in the bathroom, especially oak and mahogany varieties. You can combine Wooden vanities with stone walls and backsplashes to really bring out your design.
Engineered stone (or Quartz) Countertops as Alternative of Granite Countertops
If there was a new kid on the block, quartz stone would be it. It’s quickly growing in popularity, due to its durability. It is composed of stone aggregate and polymers. It’s no porous like marble, making it resistant to stains and scratches. This also means it will be easier to take care of the stone, keeping it looking great for many years. It is a manufactured product, so you can request a variety of different colors and patterns to match your design.
Engineered stone countertops, like Cesarstone and Silestone, are made of little bits of quartz mixed with a binder and then molded into countertop shapes. The result is something that looks like stone and is super-durable. If you like the look but not the maintenance of marble, this might be good choice for you. Quartz countertops are also a good choice if you’re going for a very minimal look, as there are options that are pure white or pure black, with no veining. The downside: engineered stone is one of the more expensive countertop options. Read more about quartz countertops here.
Concrete Slabs as Alternative of Granite Countertops
Those who are looking for durable counters are leaning towards slabs like concrete. This route leaves you with more room to get a countertop that has the shape, finish and color you desire. It’s very flexible in this sense. Some manufacturers include glass aggregate to add more life to the appearance. This makes it look similar to terrazzo slabs. Some even add bits of stone to their concrete counters, giving you more options to make your slab as unique as possible.
Concrete countertops have a lovely, raw elegance: you get the movement and natural feel of stone, with the industrial edge of stainless. They can be poured in any thickness you like, which can make for some really nice edge details. And if you’re especially handy, you can even pour and install your concrete countertops yourself. Find out everything you need to know about concrete countertops here.
Recycled Paper Counters as Alternative of Granite Countertops
Eco-friendly homeowners can choose to go green with counters made of recycled paper. This is a unique concept that’s worth looking into. The counters are made with post-consumer paper that’s been recycled, then mixed with resin. The name for this type of counter is Paperstone. What makes it even better is that it’s strong and resistant to water. It’s a sustainable and durable option for the kitchen or bathroom!
Stainless Steel Counters as Alternative of Granite Countertops
These first entered the market during the early 1900s, first being used mainly in commercial kitchens. It wasn’t long before homeowners started to see the benefits of installing stainless steel counters in their own kitchens. It offers a clean feel to your design, giving your kitchen an industrial edge. Those who like to cook a lot will find a lot of value in having a stainless steel counter, given that it’s resistant to heat. Just be careful with the knives because steel does scratch. The fingerprints can also make the counter smudged.
Stainless steel is durable, easy to clean, and has a nice industrial-modern feel. The downside? Stainless steel countertops can be pretty pricey. Read more about stainless countertops (and see more stainless countertop inspiration) here.
Solid Surface Countertops as Alternative of Granite Countertops
This type of counter is designed by the Corian brand. It’s created by blending together acrylic and mineral powder. Sometimes, polyester binders are also included. Corian was the “it” material for countertops before the emergence of granite and natural stone became popular ten to 15 years ago. It comes in a variety of colors, allowing you to be more picky about your kitchen or bathroom design.
Hammered Copper as Alternative of Granite Countertops
If you’re looking for a bit of texture in your counter design, then you can go with hammered copper. If not, you can always opt for regular copper counters that are smooth. What makes copper counters special is that they’re antibacterial. They also have patina, which allows the color to become richer over time. It would look great in a country-style kitchen or even a kitchen with a modern design.
Laminate Counters as Alternative of Granite Countertops
This is one material that is oftentimes overlooked by homeowners who are looking for something with more pizzazz. However, you’d be surprised at how tasteful laminate counters can be, depending on where you buy it from. It’s been a popular choice for home installations for a hundred or so years after its invention. The popularity of laminate stems from its durability against heat and simplicity in maintenance. It is a resilient option that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. It’s much cheaper than many of the other available countertop options out there today. It’s a material worth exploring to see if it can suit your upcoming kitchen or even bathroom design.
Selecting a stone for your kitchen or bathroom remodel is simple when you put time to do the research. Once you have found the material of choice, it’s time to find a reputable company to do the installation!
Even though I’ve been trying hard to convince people otherwise, granite countertops are still king. But if the dark, speckly stone leaves you cold, fear not! There are alternatives. Here are eight of our favorites.
Butcher block as Alternative of Granite Countertops
Gets my vote for The Next Big Thing. It’s much cheaper than marble or granite, and it lends a nice warmth to kitchens with white cabinets. You can even buy it at IKEA! The downside is that it can stain, and you’ll need to use a trivet with hot pots so they don’t burn the counter. Regular oiling can help keep your butcher block countertops in tip-top shape. Read more about butcher block countertops here.
Tile Countertops as Alternative of Granite Countertops
If you thought tile countertops were only for bohemians and people stuck in the ’80s, let this stylish kitchen prove you wrong. Personally, I think tile countertops, especially white ones, can have a certain timelessness.
This is something I’ve never seen before but find really appealing: a backsplash and countertop made with penny tiles. The curved transition between the backsplash and countertop is a nice detail. Go for dark grout unless you want to be constantly scrubbing. Read more about the pros and cons of tile countertops here.
Granite also comes in almost-black varieties. And if you hate the shiny look of most granites, try a leathered finish.