Deciding on the material to use for your kitchen and toilet counter tops may arguably the toughest task of designing your home! Well, that is usually the case if you are not yet well equipped with the facts of each potential material!

Here are the 5 types of materials that you may consider for your counter tops:

  • Cultured Stone
  • Marble
  • Granite
  • Compressed Quartz
  • Large Format Porcelain Tile Slabs

Allow us to briefly explain the pros and cons of each material below. For those in a rush, check out our comparison table as a form of a speed read!


Data from Test Results from Locally (Singapore) Accredited Laboratories


Modulus of Rupture

(The higher the better)

Breaking Load

(The higher the better)

Water Absorption Rate

(The lower the better)

Stain Resistance

(Class A being the best)


Variety of Design

Solid Surface

Not Tested

Not Tested

Not Tested

Not Tested, but Weak


May Look Unnatural and Cheap

Natural Marble

5.8 N/mm2

150 N


Requires sealant as a form of protection

Most Expensive

Good Variety of Natural Designs

Natural Granite

26.1 N/mm2

311 N

0.4 to 0.8%

Not tested


May Look Industrial, with only a Limited Variety

Compressed Quartz

50 N/mm2

178 to 210 N



Economical for the Chinese Made Manufacturers. Expensive for the more reliable Western brands

Limited Variety

Italian Large Format Porcelain Tiles (Brands from Malford)

53 to 60 N/mm2

531 N


Class A

Economical for exquisite designs. May not be economical for solid colours.

Unlimited Variety



What You Can and Cannot do with Each Surface


Cutting with a Knife

Pour Acidic Substance

Heat Resistance

Staining Resistance

Need to Pay for Sealant Protection?

Solid Surface

No, Not Scratch Resistant

Not Resistant

Will not be able to take a cigarette butt stain

Poor. Stains are hard to clean.


Natural Marble

No, Not Scratch Resistant

Not Resistant


Poor. Stains may seep into the body of the surface due to its porosity

YES. Once every 2 years.

Natural Granite

Yes, a very hard material

Not Resistant

Relatively resistant

Yes. Better than Marble.

YES. Once every 2 years.

Compressed Quartz

Yes, a very hard material

High Chemical Resistance

Strong, but not as strong as tiles



Italian Large Format Porcelain Tiles (Brands from Malford)

Yes, a very hard material

High Chemical Resistance

The most resistant, as tiles are fired at extremely high temperatures upon production

Yes. Tiles are extremely non porous



Solid Surface:

Advantages: Cheap and seamless without joints.

Disadvantages: Limited designs. Not suitable for heavy duty usage. Not very resistant to heat, scratches, and staining.

An engineered material made of marble dust, acrylic, bauxite, and polyester resins. Solid surfaces are commonly used in mass market commercial establishments due to its economical cost and ability to be look seamless throughout.

However, it is not very durable and may appear to be worn out if not maintained and cleaned regularly. Solid Surface is not recommended for heavy duty usage. 

Natural Granite:

Advantages: Economical and durable enough for residential usage. Low maintenance due to its availability in full polished surfaces.

Disadvantages: Very limited colours. Very expensive for colours and designs that are more exquisite.

Granite possesses certain respectable properties of being solid, highly durable, stain resistant, heat resistant, non-porous, and scratch resistant.

Therefore, it is perfect for a kitchen or toilet counter top, as it can withstand the heat, scratches, and hard knocks associated with the preparation of food, or the spillage of toothpaste onto the surface of your toilet counter tops. Bundled with its good pricing, it is a very popular material to be used as a counter top.

However, Granite is often unable to satisfy the aesthetic requirements of the consumer. With a limitation in variety of colours, designs, and veins, consumers seeking a beautiful effect may be forced to explore other options. Should you just want a pure black polished counter top, going for a Jet Black Granite would do the trick.

Natural Marble:

Advantages: Always regarded as a premium material. Available in all sorts of designs. Able to achieve seamless effect without the visibility of joints at corners due to grinding and polishing. 

Disadvantages: Very porous, therefore, requires great care and heavy maintenance. Not resistant to heat, scratches, or stains. Requires an additional cost of sealants as a form of protection. A very expensive counter top solution as a whole.

Marble is the most porous material out of the 4 options shown in this post. That being said, marble is extremely sensitive to certain chemicals such as household cleaners, wine, or tooth paste. A stain that is not wiped away immediately may cause a permanent stain. A good quality sealant may be applied to the surface of the counter top to prevent this, but it has to be applied once every two years to ensure minimal protection.

That being said, marble (and granite too), can always be renewed through polishing as it is a natural resource. However, such a process is often expensive and most owners do not wish to go through the trouble and pain of being overly careful and having to maintain the top so regularly.

While there are many set backs to using marble, it is still selected as an option because it is the most expensive material. Marble is also available in a huge variety of colours and design. Through technological advancements, Compressed Quartz have been created, which is the following material that we are going to cover.

Compressed Quartz:

Advantages: High resistance to heat, stains, and scratches. Able to achieve a seamless look without joints whenever jointing is required. Suitable for heavy duty usage. 

Disadvantages: The polished shine may last only up to 3 months and it cannot be re-polished again due to how hard the material is. Only available in limited designs. Only economical for plain designs. Marble look designs may go up to S$350 per foot run assuming a 600 mm width. Using brands of untested Chinese manufacturers (who even provide warranty) may lead to disappointment as there have been a good number of complaints reporting that the white colour may turn yellow over time. Also, as of now, only the Western brands have globally accredited certifications that indicate the material is safe for food preparation.

Compressed Quartz is also known as engineered stone. It is man-made to achieve aesthetic beauty, while also being able to possess superb performance characteristics.

Compressed Quartz is hard and its properties surpass every property of Granite, Marble, or Solid Surface.

The only disadvantage of Compressed Quartz is that it cannot achieve a fully polished shine due to the resins introduced during its production.

Compressed Quartz counter tops are an excellent choice if you wish to have a surface that is  solid, highly durable, stain resistant, heat resistant, non-porous, and scratch resistant, while still being able to showcase amazing designs!

Italian Large Format Porcelain Tiles

Advantages: High resistance to heat, stains, and scratches. Unlimited range of hyper realistic designs. Polished surface may last forever. Economically priced. 

Disadvantages: Will have a 1 mm joint whenever jointing is required. 

Large Format Porcelain Slabs are tiles that exist in sizes as large as 1.6 x 3.2 metres. Unlike traditional tiles that are 10 mm in thickness, such slabs are only 6 to 6.5 mm thick. The slim thickness of the tile allows the tile to not have any centre curvature (which is inherent in all 10 mm tiles), therefore allowing the user to enjoy an ultra flat surface without having any lippages in spite of its huge size.

As tiles are 100% manufactured with up to date technologies, users get to enjoy an unlimited range of designs that very accurately mimic the materials of its natural form. Being a manufactured tile, you also do not have to make do with the shortcomings of natural materials. Tiles can resist heat, scratches, and stains, better than any of the above mentioned materials. 

Tiles need not require heavy maintenance and they also may be used for your vanity tops, wall claddings, or floors. 

Click here to view our range of large format tiles today!

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