Wednesday, March 19, 2014
When it comes to kitchen designs, kitchen countertops are largely overlooked and underestimated. However, in terms of functionality, the kitchen countertop is a hardworking surface material exposed to different elements such as sharp knives, acidic substances, water and heat. Resilience in the face of everyday kitchen tasks is the hallmark of a good countertop material. Choosing the right countertop to suit your lifestyle can be challenging, especially with so many materials available on the market. Here's a helpful guide...
The most expensive of all kitchen countertop materials, natural stone is still favored by many homeowners. Popular natural stones used for kitchen countertops are granite and marble; however, other natural stones such as limestone are also available. Natural stone is durable, long-lasting and heat-resistant, but will require sealing. Softer stones may crack or chip with time.
Cultured stone is a blend of quartz and pigments. It has the durability of natural stone but does not require sealing. The only downside is cultured stone does not look as natural as the real thing. Colors and patterns are uniform.
Tiled countertops are inexpensive and offer a wide variety of designs. Opt for glazed ceramic tile for its resistance to stains, moisture, heat and scratches. However, tiles may still chip over time. Tiled countertops also have grouting, which may start to look ugly if not maintained regularly.
The most popular of metal countertops is stainless steel, which is favored for its anti-bacterial properties. However, dents and scratches may not be repaired. Other metals used for kitchen countertops are copper, pewter and zinc.
Wood surfaces add an irreplaceable warmth and charm in a kitchen. Wood is vulnerable to moisture, heat, acid and stains, and it also expands with dryness and moisture. However, one advantage of a wood countertop is its ability to withstand chopping and cutting without dulling knives.
Laminated surfaces offer a budget-friendly alternative to stones and other materials, as printing technology allows a near identical appearance to natural materials at a fraction of the cost. A disadvantage of this material is its vulnerability to sharp knives and hot pans.