Granite, marble, tiles, and concrete are all countertop choices, and depending on your budget and usage they all have upsides and downsides. The first step in getting the right countertop for you is to make a detailed evaluation of the one you use now. The more you can articulate about what you like and hate about it, the more you will know what to choose next.
If you cook on the run and dispense with a cutting board half the time, a scratchproof countertop material should be a priority for your new kitchen. If you are baking a lot a marble top is the ultimate. If you think granite is going to be the same as most of your neighbours then you should consider ceramic tiles for creativity.
Whether you are building a new kitchen, or remodelling an existing one, you'll need to give careful consideration to your choice of countertop materials. Your countertops will be the first thing that people notice about your kitchen, and they can set the tone for your whole design scheme.
When choosing a kitchen countertop, the material will be your first, and most important, consideration. To find the ideal material for your kitchen, determine how it will be used and how much you have to spend.
Granite is the classic, enduring, choice. The advantages of granite are many — it doesn't chip easily, it is heat and stain-resistant, is more low maintenance than other natural stone materials, and offers a depth of design that's difficult to match with synthetic materials. However there are disadvantages. If you damage your granite countertop, it is very difficult to repair. It is also the most expensive option. And, even though it is considered relatively low maintenance, it will need to be sealed once a year to prevent it from absorbing stains and odours.
Marble is another classic choice. It is softer than granite, so it needs to be sealed more often — usually twice a year. However if you are a baker a marble countertop is almost de rigueur. It is unparalleled in its ability to maintain a cool temperature even when you are working on it. Like granite, marble is very resistant to heat. Another way that it's similar to granite is in price — but expect to pay even more for marble.
There are other natural stone options, such as slate, limestone, and soapstone. Depending on the look that you want for your kitchen, you may want to investigate these options. They tend to be less expensive than granite or marble, although more expensive than man-made materials. In general most natural stone tends to be heat-resistant, although not to the same degree as granite or stainless steel.
Engineered stone is a relatively new option in countertop material. It takes small fragments of natural stone and bonds them together with a plastic polymer. This material is then extruded into slabs. Although the look of engineered stone is more uniform than natural stone, it still gives your kitchen countertops a more upscale look than solid-colour laminates. It is also a more child-friendly material because stains and scratches can be easily removed. The main disadvantage of engineered stone is that it can be damaged by heat, so you cannot set hot pans down directly on the countertop.
Solid surface countertops are a man-made plastic-based material. Because the countertop can be custom-made to the proper length, there are no seams. Another advantage is that since the colour goes all the way through the countertop, you can simply use a bit of sandpaper to gently sand out scratches and stains. You can find solid-surface countertops in almost any colour imaginable, so if you are looking for something out of the ordinary this may be the choice for you.
Stainless steel countertops proclaim to the world that you are a serious cook. They are non-porous, and therefore do not absorb odours, stains, or germs, and this also makes them easy to clean. They are not damaged by high temperatures.
A fairly new concept in countertop surfacing is concrete and this come in any imaginable colour. Concrete is very durable, highly resistant to damage, and non-porous once sealed.
If you'd like a bit of an artistic look to your kitchen, ceramic tile may be the choice for you. You can find tiles in an array of colours, and you can arrange them in any pattern. They are heat-resistant, easily cleaned, and easily installed. The down side is that grout must be reapplied every couple of years, but at least you are guaranteed to have a one of a kind kitchen top.
Laminate countertops have been the popular option for homeowners for several decades. They are very inexpensive, sturdy, and come in a wide range of colours. However they have visible seams, and if they are damaged, they're almost impossible to repair since the colour is on the very uppermost layer only.
La Maison Chic
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