Four Things To Know About Countertop Selection

Countertops are arguably one of the most significant material selection decisions for a kitchen or bathroom remodel. We also find it is one of the design details homeowners look most forward to! That is precisely why we’ve collected our top four list of things we want homeowners to know about when selecting a countertop. From materials to maintenance, keep reading to learn our best tips.

Countertop Tip #1:  Begin with the Countertops

When we start the selection process, we always begin with the countertops.  There are thousands of tiles, paint colors and wood stains out there. Selecting the countertop first drives how the rest of the materials will coordinate, making it much easier to narrow those other selections down. There are lots of materials to choose from – so here is a little information on each.


  • This is our manmade option. Tt is created from crushed up bits of quartz, creating a durable, maintenance-free surface.
  • It is a non-porous material; it does not require any sort of sealing and will be resistant to staining.
  • It has a heat threshold of 250 degrees, so a cutting board, trivets and hot pads are needed when setting down things from the oven or stove.
  • This is an excellent option if you are wanting a white countertop, or a countertop that looks like marble!


  • Granite is a natural material, it comes straight out of the earth.  Each piece is completely different and unique, which makes it that much more special.
  • It is a porous material, but we apply a penetrating sealant to help prevent anything absorbing into the stone.
  • It’s a rock, meaning it is heat resistant. You can set pots and pans directly on the stone.


  • Quartzite is another natural material. It has an exquisite marble-like look to it.
  • One of the more expensive countertop options available.
  • It is one of the densest stones available. We still apply a sealer, but this stone will have a hard time accepting any stains.


  • This is a softer and darker product, usually honed, featuring greens, blacks and grays.
  • Soapstone is non-porous, so it does not have to be sealed. However, we recommend sealing with a mineral oil to help give the stone a more uniform look.
  • It is a forgiving stone. Mineral oil can take out small surface scratches.


  • Another natural product, no two pieces are the same!  It consists of beautiful white and gray marbling throughout the stone.
  • Marble is an extremely soft stone, it will easily scratch and stain, even with sealant (red wine, oils, citrus, etc.)
  • The patina of the stone (scratches, stains) are part of the beauty of the product! This stone has been around for ages (think Roman times).


  • This is our wood option, made of laminated edge-grain boards of different types of woods (oak, maple, walnut.)
  • It is great as an accent in a kitchen or a full countertop!
  • Adds warmth to the space.
  • There is a bit more maintenance on this countertop.  Butcherblock is a porous material and it should be oiled on a regular basis to keep the countertop sealed and prevent any water damage.
Lakeville MN Kitchen Remodel

This Lakeville, MN kitchen remodel features granite countertops.

Countertop Tip #2: Consider Maintenance

This tip relates to our first tip in terms of material, but with enough importance that we thought it deserved its own call out. Before choosing a countertop, consider how much care a particular material will require, your lifestyle and how much maintenance you are willing to take on. With the exception of quartz countertops, any natural countertop material will need to be sealed to prevent staining or absorption into the countertop. While there is no maintenance with quartz, it is important to call out again the heat factor here. If you are someone that likes to set things directly from the oven or stove onto the countertop, you will need to take caution with this type of material.

Quartzite countertops make quite a statement in this Apple Valley, MN kitchen remodel project.

Countertop Tip #3: Ask about Seams

Depending on your selected material and design, a seam may be necessary. The last thing you want is to be surprised by a seam in your countertop.

Slabs only come so large, typically 120” x 76”. When planning for a large countertop space, like an island, we take this into consideration. We will often look for materials that are book-matched to give a really cool effect on the island.

Another place you will often see seams is in a corner. Sometimes they are also hidden where a cooktop or apron-style sink is as well.

Countertop Tip #4: Mix and Match

Don’t be afraid to intermix both dark and light countertops or different countertop material. You can mix and match quartz and granite for some beautiful results!

Kitchen remodel by White Birch Design, A Lakeville MN based remodeler

A beautiful live edge walnut on the raised island surround provides striking contrast to the surrounding honed black granite countertops in this Maple Grove, MN kitchen remodel.

You Don’t Have to Decide Alone – White Birch Design Is Here to Guide You!

Countertop selection is just one of many decisions that need to be made in a typical kitchen or bathroom remodel. At White Birch Design, this is precisely the type of decision we help guide you through, taking the stress and worry out of the process to ensure a result you’ll love for many years to come.

If you are considering a remodel project, contact our Lakeville, MN remodeling team today to start a conversation about your project. Located in Lakeville, White Birch Design, is a full-service design/build/remodeling company specializing in bath, kitchen, basement & home design and remodeling projects.

Want to see more? Check out our portfolio to see more examples of our work.

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Serving Lakeville and Beyond

Our primary focus is kitchen, bath and basement remodeling in the South Metro communities of Lakeville, Eagan, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Rosemount, Prior Lake and Savage. We also work with homeowners across the Minneapolis and St. Paul area.

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