Skip links

Countertops 101: Everything You Need to Know About Granite, Marble, Quartz, and More

Nowadays interior design has become more multifaceted and the overall process goes a little bit more in depth as the design options, applications and additions have greatly increased. Remodeling homes or new build projects are exposed to more materials to help in creating a unique and personalized creation for homeowners.

The style of kitchen countertops, specifically, has progressed in recent years to flaunt different, unique and fresh design ideas. They have evolved into more than just a piece of compressed paper to prepare food and do homework; it has become the central part of the home and a space that not only makes a statement, but is also functional.

The Countertop Factory Midwest offers a wide range of countertop options for you to choose from including granite, marble, quartz, solid surface, porcelain, laminate and more. Each surface provides its own unique list of benefits and features a particular look and feel that will help take your home’s design to the next level. So, what countertop is best for your home? Here’s everything you need to know about the different countertop materials on the market:


Granite is one of the most popular stones found in Chicago homes. Granite comes from the earth, exemplifying unique characteristics, textures and designs that help to ensure no two slabs are going to look the same. Not only is granite beautiful, it is also strong and durable as it can stand up to high heat and is scratch resistant. However, due to its porous nature, granite is not invincible and has the possibility of obtaining stains from harsh or acidic liquids/chemicals if such products are left on the countertop for too long.


  • Low maintenance
  • Heat resistant
  • Scratch resistant
  • Resistant to chemicals and stains – this is true when granite is properly sealed by a professional


  • Porous material – if not sealed properly, or if sealant wears off, granite can absorb stains that are impossible to remove
  • Fluctuation in cost – contingent on the rareness “level” of the design
  • Chipping/cracking – this is a rare occurrence, but still possible if a heavy object is dropped on a corner or edge
granite countertops chicagoland area


Marble is an elegant, glimmering and timeless design that appears beautiful and chic in every room. Marble typically is characterized by a bright, white hue with subtle veining; however, marble countertops can also display bold and dark colors to differentiate its style and appearance. Marble countertops are wonderful additions to boost the lavish look of a home, but be careful – marble is softer and more porous than other stones, making it more susceptible to damages such as chipping, staining and scratching.


  • Appearance – classic & timeless
  • Availability – because of its high demand, marble can be found at almost any stone fabricator
  • Smooth, polished surface


  • Prone to scratching/chipping
  • Susceptible to stains
  • Maintenance – in order to keep your marble countertops in tip-top shape, it is important to professionally seal the surface every six months in order to prevent any damages and stains from occurring
super white marble levantina


One of the most sought-after countertop materials in 2020, quartz is coming to the top of the most-wanted list for interior designers, homeowners and architects. Quartz is an incredible, man-made material that contains many benefits, more so than natural stone countertops. Because of quartz’s manufactured composition, it is capable of resisting damages, easy to maintain and mirrors the look of natural stone, which many know and love.


  • Durable
  • Man-made, non-porous
  • Wide range of designs, colors and patterns
  • Scratch, chip and etch resistant
  • Stain resistant
  • Hygienic


  • Cost
  • Receptive to heat
  • Not applicable for the outdoors
cambria whitecliff quartz countertop

Ultra-Compact/ Porcelain

Porcelain countertops are one of the most durable countertop surfaces on the market. With the high demand for hygienic and long-lasting materials in 2020, porcelain boasts new and innovative technology that makes it a perfect countertop option for both indoor and outdoor applications.


  • Extreme durability
  • Heat resistant
  • Scratch, chip and etch resistant
  • UV stable
  • Hygienic – does not harbor any unwanted bacteria
  • Appearance – able to replicate various looks from concrete, wood, natural stone and more


  • Limited fabricators and installers offer porcelain because proper fabrication and installation requires certification. Contact TCF Midwest for porcelain countertop installation in the Midwest, Chicago area!
granite stores near me

Solid Surface

Solid surface countertops offer very versatile and unique designs for your project. Whether you are looking for kitchen or bathroom countertops, a statement piece to include in your shower walls or other furniture applications, solid surface materials can be shaped, bendt and morphed into a custom piece for project.


  • Durable
  • Smooth surface
  • Seamless integration
  • Ability to sand away stains or scratches
  • Color availability – can imitate other looks such as concrete and marble


  • Receptive to heat
  • Prone to scratching and denting
  • Susceptible to stains


Laminate countertops are a great option for shoppers on a budget. Laminate is made up of tightly compressed layers of paper that are then glued to a wood substrate. Because of its simple, yet practical composition, laminate countertops are a low-maintenance and inexpensive choice for a kitchen countertop.


  • Low-cost
  • Durability
  • DIY-friendly installation


  • Susceptible to chipping and cracking
  • Not completely water-proof – water can sometimes warp these countertops or create a bubbling effect on the surface
laminate countertops

There are many countertop options out there and all are great contenders for various reasons. When beginning a new remodel or build project, evaluate the layout of the room, how you will be utilizing the space and the type of application – this will help you determine the best countertop option for your project.

For any questions you may have, feel free to contact us today!

Skip to content