Joanna Gaines' controversial kitchen countertops come with these pros and cons that you need to know

You'll use it every day, and it can change the whole look of your kitchen, so make sure you pick one you love

Joanna Gaines
(Image credit: Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo)

Kitchen countertops are possibly the hardest working element of the kitchen. A well-chosen work surface not only combines beauty and practicality, it can also be the star feature of your kitchen.

Busy, family kitchens need tough, hardworking kitchen countertops, not only to withstand a daily onslaught of use but to look contemporary, and stylish and complement your kitchen décor. Designers are increasingly inspired by kitchen countertop trends to help finalize their choices, and Fixer Upper duo Chip and Joanna Gaines are no different. 

A concrete counter, similar to the one in Joanna Gaines's Gristmill Kitchen, is a popular modern option, but also a controversial one that comes with many pros and cons, according to experts. Designed to withstand plenty of heavy-duty use, concrete comes in a range of standard concrete-mix colors and can be combined with pigments for stronger colors. Polished concrete countertops are flat and smooth, but concrete is porous and can stain. Concrete is also heavy so extra reinforcement may be required.

The use of concrete in our homes has had a resurgence in recent years, but this porous material, known for adding an industrial touch, comes with its limitations. 

If food spills are left on concrete for a long period of time, it can cause staining. You may need a touch-up kit to minimize the appearance if this happens. You will need to use a food-grade sealer or finishing wax to prevent water and stain absorption. Concrete is an incredibly durable material, but is also prone to scratching.

It is also important to be aware that concrete can crack. Shrink-reducing additives and anti-crack reinforcing can help prevent larger cracks. Sudden temperature changes are the main cause so it's vital to introduce heating slowly and carefully. Choose a specialist installer with a quality track record. The finished surface should offer a good depth of tone and luster, with a hard-wearing finish. 

If you do love the urban, industrial appeal of concrete, all is not lost. Hardwearing, easy to clean, and dust-mite resistant, it’s little wonder polished concrete surfaces are so popular. The industrial look is very on trend too, plus it pairs beautifully with timber kitchen cabinets for a 'rough luxe' look that is very of the now.

Make do like Joanna Gaines and team concrete counters with unfinished wood kitchen cabinet ideas, as seen in her on-set kitchen, used to film the popular cooking show, Magnolia Table. The balance of old and new is truly captivating. Plus, unpainted, oak cabinet kitchens, especially when paired with modern amenities and surfaces, are an aesthetic we predict will top kitchen trends in 2024. 

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Jennifer Ebert
Deputy Editor (Digital)

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.