Types Of Countertop Material

Kitchen Confidential 

“Life happens in the kitchen”


))Mohs Hardness Scale

The Mohs Hardness Scale is a way to identify the hardness of a mineral and it’s resistance to scratching.

Types of countertop material

  • Natural Stone
  • Engineered Stone
  • Wood Butcher Block
  • Concrete

What is natural stone?

Natural stone is derived from products that have been quarried from the earth. 

Examples: Granite, Marble, Quartzite

What is engineered stone?

Engineered stone is a material made of crushed stone bound together by an adhesive to create a solid surface.

I personally love engineered stone and have it in my own home.  It is very easy to clean, costs less than other materials, and is ideal for heavy use.  

Examples: Quartz, Porcelain, Ultra Compact Stone

Qualities & Features

The list below are the qualities and features I use to determine what type of countertop material to us:

  • Porous/Non Porous
  • Scratchable/Non Scratchable
  • Heat Proof/Not Heat Proof
  • Natural/Man Made
  • Pattern/Color
  • Widely Available/Hard To Find
  • Expensive/Inexpensive

Now let’s break down the most popular countertop materials based on the list above.  First we will start with natural stone:


  • Mostly made of melted down quartz crystals
  • 4-6 on Mohs scale depending on the density (some quartz components are softer than others
  • Durable, but porous (will need to seal often)
  • Heat resistant
  • Hard to scratch
  • Large range of colors
  • Not all granites are the same, some are harder than others


  • Made from recrystalized carbonite minerals
  • 2-3 Mohs Scale
  • Large range of marbles
  • Affordable options
  • Very soft
  • Very porous
  • Not heat resistant
  • Scratchable
  • Not good for a main kitchen area
  • Almost never recommend it


  • Harder than granite
  • Sometimes has look of marble but much harder and denser
  • 6-7 Mohs scale but only if you get HARD quartzite (soft quartzite is basically like marble)
  • Available in a range of finishes (honed, leathered, polished)
  • Looks different than traditional quartz engineered stone


Next we will talk about engineered stone:


  • Man made
  • Crushed quartz mineral mixed with high tech epoxy and cured
  • 7 on Moez Scale – incredibly hard
  • Engineered so very consistent in thickness and color
  • Alot easier to work with
  • Can be less expensive because its so widely available, can find a range of selection and brands to choose from

  • Non porous – spill a glass of red wine on it, it wont absorb into the surface

  • Heat resistant (I still use a trivet) but if you have a pot of boiling water and you set it on there for a few minutes its not going to do anything

  • So many brands, can find a less expensive but still high quality brand that works well for clients – not as price sensitive

  • Can still chip, if you take a cast iron pot and hit it directly on the edge it can chip but it is easier to repair

  • The color and the pattern goes all the way through so its easier to repair

I personally prefer quartz.  Quartz is my favorite type to work with because there is a wide range of patterns and colors, widely available and easily repairable from a fabricators standpoint.


  • Man made
  • Sold as a hard, dense material
  • 6-7 on Mohs Scale
  • Non porous
  • Scratch Proof
  • Heat Resistant
  • 100% Man Made
  • Large range of pattern/color
  • Widely available
  • Not repairable

Porcelain is basically a resin that is poured over the top of the core material so the pattern and color does not go all the way through.  This means if you get a chip on the edge it is very difficult to match the color.

Personally, I do not recommend porcelain unless I know the client is very aware of its limitations and is careful with hard, heavy objects.

Ultra Compact Stone

  • Man Made
  • Newer material
  • New way of producing stone – centered stone – take the stone and its crushed up and pressurized and makes them incredibly strong 
  • 7-8 Mohs Scale
  • 2 main brands (Decton and Neolith)
  • Heat proof
  • Scratch Proof
  • Non Porous
  • Expensive
  • Range of colors and patterns
  • Color goes all the way through (makes it easier to repair)
  • Large sizes

The downside of ultra compact stone is that it’s not widely available.  It is also hard to find a fabricator that knows how to work with it.

Other Countertop Options

Butcher Block/Wood Top

  • Extremely porous
  • Scratchable
  • Not heat proof

I don’t believe butcher block belongs in a kitchen environment.  If you see them in photos, most are staged.  If you decide to use butcher block you will need to take extreme care of it.  If you want to use it, integrate it in area that is not heavy traffic, no cutting or contact with water.


Concrete can look beautiful but is very difficult to put in correctly.  With constant use, water will get through the seal and start to break down the concrete.


Are you looking for help during your kitchen remodel?  Check out my program, Kitchen Remodel Rockstar, where you will learn how to design your dream kitchen in 2 weeks!

Homemade Turkey Pot Pie

Cooking with Camille

Turkey Pot Pie

Make the BEST turkey pot pie you will ever eat!



  • 1 box Pepperidge farm pastry shells
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Ground cayenne
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 cup diced turkey
  • 1/4 cup sweet corn
  • 1 small can peas & carrots
  • 1 small can green chilis
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded fiesta cheese
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp salted butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

    Servings: 2 medium pot pies

    Heat oven to 400 degrees.

    Prepare crust:

    1. Roll out pastry shells to the size of your palm
    2. Place one pastry shell on the bottom of a medium sized ramekin, poke holes in the bottom and bake for 10 minutes.
    3. Save the other pastry shell for the top

    Bechamel Sauce:

    1. Melt butter in small saucepan on low heat
    2. Add 2 forkfuls of flours to the saucepan and whisk the butter and flour together.  Whisk until toasted and it no longer smells like flour (appx. 45 seconds)
    3. Add pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    4. Drizzle half and half into the saucepan whisking the entire time.
    5. Add 1/2 cup flour and more grated nutmeg continuing to whisk.
    6. Add pinch of ground cayenne
    7. Once thickened, remove saucepan from the heat
    8. Sprinkle in sugar and whisk together

    Prepare filling:

    1. Add corn, peas, carrots, and 1 spoonful of green chilis to bechamel sauce
    2.  Add diced turkey
    3. Fold in cheese

    Add filling to ramekin with precooked pastry shell on the bottom.  Set uncooked pastry shell on top, scrunch the sides and poke 3-4 holes in the top.

    Bake for 10-12 minutes until the puff pastry is browned and puffed up.

    Serve & enjoy!

    How To Quickly Clean Engineered Stone Countertops

    Kitchen Confidential 

    “Life happens in the kitchen”


    Countertops are expensive and the last thing you want to do is damage them.  Whether you have ink stains or other marks from regular use, these tips will solve 99.9% of any stains you get on your countertops!

    What is engineered stone?

    Engineered stone is a non-porous material made of crushed stone bound together by an adhesive to create a solid surface.

    I personally love engineered stone and have it in my own home.  It is very easy to clean, costs less than other materials, and is ideal for heavy use.  

    What NOT to do

    DO NOT USE countertop polish or oils. Since engineered stone is non-porous, polishes and oils won’t be absorbed into the countertop.  This will leave a grimey, greasy surface on top.

    How to clean engineered stone

    For regular everyday use stains (spilled wine, soup, spaghetti sauce, etc) use the following instructions:

    What You Need:

    1. A regular sponge with a soft-sided brillo pad
    2. Mild dish soap

    Gently use the sponge and dish soap together to wipe the counter.  Since engineered stone is non-porous it will not have leeched into the surface and the stain will be right on top.  You don’t have to use a lot of elbow grease to clean it up.  Often times I will actually just use a soft dish towel and warm water and it comes off easily.  

    For pencil, ink, crayon, etc stains use the following instructions:

    What You Need:

    1. Small can of full-strength acetone (Available at Home Depot or Lowes)
    2. Small toothbrush
    3. Soft towel

    Pour a small amount of acetone directly on the stain.  Use a small toothbrush or soft towel to gently rub the marks off.  

    Acetone is used to clean countertops in the shop during fabrication and it will not harm your countertops.  When we are fabricating the granite or engineered stone we wipe down the surfaces before we add the epoxy.  Make sure you use full-strength acetone, and not nail polish remover as they are not the same.

    Are you looking for help during your kitchen remodel?  Check out my program, Kitchen Remodel Rockstar, where you will learn how to design your dream kitchen in 2 weeks!

    The Ultimate Guide For Ready To Assemble Cabinets

    Kitchen Confidential 

    “Life happens in the kitchen”


    Are you planning a kitchen remodel and don’t know what types of cabinets to purchase?  

    Have you heard of ready-to-assemble cabinets or RTA, but aren’t sure what that means?

    This article will break down ready-to-assemble cabinets to help you make the most informed decision and hopefully save you money AND time researching! 


    The answer is actually quite simple.  RTAs are cabinets that are sent to you in a broken-down form ready for you (or your contractor) to assemble in your kitchen.  

    One of the most common reasons why people choose RTA cabinets instead of assembled cabinets is because of cost.  When the items are shipped to you unassembled it costs a lot less to ship.  It also makes it easier for you to store until you are ready to assemble.

    RTA cabinets have changed the design industry by giving homeowners more control of the remodeling process.  Homeowners are able to assemble the cabinets themselves without the help of a contractor, which is useful if you are looking to DIY your kitchen remodel and save money.

    Here are some of the pros and cons of RTA cabinets:


    • Easy to assemble

    • Can be cost-effective if you are doing the labor

    • Fast shipping

    • Easy to store


    • You are responsible for any mistakes you make while installing them and you may end up spending more money on repairs

    • You’re the one installing them.  Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into!

    • Takes a long time to install (correctly) if you don’t know what you’re doing

    • No guarantees from the manufacturer if you mess up since you are doing the work yourself.


    For us, premium RTA means that we can design ANY size and ANY color.  This is not typical in the industry and gives you an enormous advantage.  Not only are we less expensive than other online retailers (who import), but we also use higher quality materials.

    They use standard industry sizes and cheap materials like particle board and lower quality doors and drawer boxes, cheap hardware and hinges.

    We use premium BLUM soft closing slides and hinges, rated up 150lbs.  3/4″ premium pre-finished maple plywood boxes, 3/4″ shelves (all adjustable), dovetail birch drawer boxes with inset backs and bottoms.  This means each box is square, straight and will not come apart over time.  All of our cabinets are frameless with full overlay hardwood doors. Inset frames available upon request.

    So when you think of RTA cabinets, think premium and unlimited design and color for less $$.

    I hope you found this article helpful and it answered some of the questions you may have!

    Want a quote on custom cabinets?

    How To Pick The Perfect Cabinet Finish

    Kitchen Confidential 

    “Life happens in the kitchen”

    EP 32: How to pick the perfect finish for cabinets?

    Read Full Article

    Wondering what cabinet finish you should choose?  Listen in and read the full article to learn everything you need to know!


    What is the difference between prefinished and unfinished cabinets?


    How do I choose a cabinet finish?


    What are the types of finishes?


    How do I protect my cabinets?


    How do I clean my cabinets?