When you are installing a new countertop in your kitchen or bathroom, there are several different materials you can choose from. Engineered stone, concrete, and natural stone each have a unique appearance and specific benefits.

1. Marble

Marble is known for its stunning beauty and has been used in artwork for centuries. This porous stone is softer than other natural materials, so it can be prone to stains and scratches. With proper care, however, it can be a stunning centerpiece of your kitchen. Most marble is white or gray.

2. Quartz

Another type of natural stone is quartz. This material’s composition makes it more durable than marble, and it may resist minor scratches from wear and tear. However, it may still develop flaws if you use a knife directly on it instead of a cutting board. Quartz comes in a variety of colors and generally resists stains.

3. Engineered Stone

This man-made countertop material is made of tiny bits of natural stone mixed together with a polymer resin to form a smooth, solid surface. This type of countertop material is fairly durable and can be installed in a seamless manner, eliminating the need to keep grout clean. The color of engineered stone depends on the color of the stone fragments it’s made of.

4. Granite

Perhaps the most well-known natural countertop material is granite. This type of stone is available if a wide array of colors and patterns. While granite can be cracked or scratched, it is generally considered more durable than marble. It resists stains, especially if a sealant is applied.

5. Concrete

Unsealed concrete is porous and prone to stains, but this material usually gets a sealing treatment when it’s used as a countertop. Chemicals and finishes can be used to change the color of the concrete to mimic natural stone or create a sleek, modern appearance. Concrete resists scratches and can be installed without seams.

Most countertop materials come in a range of prices and colors. Engineered stone, concrete, and natural stone can all offer unique advantages for your home.