Kitchen Countertops - Top Materials in Countertop Design
Kitchen countertops in most households take their fair share of knocks, so it is important to find a product that is durable but also fits in with the overall look of your kitchen. Here is a basic guide that looks at the pros and cons of kitchen countertops.
Granite countertops still remain the crème de la crème of kitchen countertops, granite is renowned for its durability, heat resistance and striking looks. However, it is high maintenance because it does show every little greasy finger mark and speck of dust. Granite kitchen countertops may also require periodic applications of sealant. The other major drawback is its price, granite is extremely expensive and it may end up pushing your budget through the roof.
Like granite, stone countertops are also an expensive option, but it is extremely durable, heatproof, water resistant and easy to clean. Engineered stone is usually created from quartz and is available in a bigger range of colors than granite. It is a nonporous surface that resists scratches and it is easy to maintain. If you are serious about cooking and enjoy working with dough, stone is a great choice
Butcher block countertops have a lovely warm look and feel about them. They are usually crafted from strips of edgegrain or endgrain maple or oak that is glued together to form a solid surface. Wood countertops are easy to clean and they can be sanded down and resealed if necessary. They can also look great if rubbed down with oil. Try and avoid getting them too wet as they can be damaged by water (if used near the sink they can warp).
Ceramic tile countertops often have a lovely earthy look about them as they’re made from natural clay that is dried and fired in a kiln. They are easy to install, heat and stain resistant, and they are available in a large array of colors and textures. On the downside, the grout between the tiles can stain and the tiles may chip or crack. Mass produced tiles can be relatively cheap, whereas those that are hand painted or highly decorative can be quite expensive.
Stainless steel countertops provide a very contemporary look for your kitchen. Stylish stainless steel appliances will also look good when co-ordinated with a stainless steel countertop. As well as looking chic, stainless steel is also very durable, waterproof, heat resistant and easy to clean. Choose stainless steel that is at least 18 gauge that contains approx 8-10% nickel. Stainless steel can be quite expensive and it will scratch and dent, so it can’t be used for cutting.
Laminate countertops are some of the most common, because they’re relatively inexpensive. As well as being cheap, they’re also durable, easy to clean, stain-resistant and moisture-resistant. Laminates come in a huge variety of colours, styles and textures and they can also be bought in ready-made sections, making it possible to install yourself. However, laminates can be easily scorched, scratched and chipped and high-gloss laminate will show dirt and water spots.