A recent survey of potential home buyers found that granite or another natural stone was the most preferred countertop material, with 20 percent of the respondents saying it was essential and another 53 percent who deemed it desirable.
Very few potential home buyers surveyed dreamed of having tile countertops, according to Stephen Melman, director of economic services for the National Association of Home Builders, the trade group that conducted the survey. Realtors tell us the look is outdated and the grout is hard to keep clean. ConsumerReports.org tough countertop tests show that the grout between the ceramic or porcelain tiles stains, even when sealed, and can also mildew. Chipping is another problem with tile countertops.
In ConsumerReports.org tests, they stained, sliced, scratched, scorched and nicked 14 materials from leading brands. They found big differences in materials, but little variation among brands. That’s why ratings are by material, and that brings us back to stone. Their tests include granite, soapstone, limestone and marble, and of course, engineered stone or quartz. Granite and quartz performed similarly, but marble and the other natural stones weren’t as resilient and some need to be sealed to resist staining. Use the results of ConsumerReports.org tests to find a material that will hold up well over the years.