Cabinetry is an important aspect of kitchen planning. So if you are planning a complete kitchen overhaul or just a modest facelift, any slight changes in the counter, sink and faucet can make a difference in your kitchen. However, the greatest difference can come about with changes in your countertop, the workbench of the kitchen.
The choices of countertop material are vast. You also don’t have to stick to one type of countertop material for your kitchen. Here are some options for countertops, and a bit more information to help you make an educated choice when you are remodeling your kitchen.
1. Wood Counters
Wood countertops, often made of hardwood such as maple or oak, come in a wide range of colours and finishes. One popular type of wood countertop is face-laminated wood countertop or butcher block. Other types are oiled wood planks and lacquered wood. Wood counters can give your kitchen a beautiful warm inviting look that is functional.
However, scars and stains are always inevitable, and wood is susceptible to bacterial contamination. Fortunately, wooden surfaces can be cleaned quite easily, and worn surfaces can be renewed by sanding and resealing.
Wood countertops can also be customized. You should note that wooden countertops must be installed and maintained properly. Therefore, you will need a skilled carpenter.
2. Concrete Counters
Concret countertops offers versatility in any type of kitchen style (modern or traditional); the different finishes add to its timelessness. You can craze, grind, polish, stamp, and stain it. You can even embed object in it. You can create the desired feel from your finish. So, it does not have to be rough, gray or monotonous; instead, it can be smooth and polished, and it can look coloured sandy, or rocky.
A great advantage of concrete is that it is durable, it would not dry-rot. Even though concrete is tough, it is not resistant to stains or scratches, especially if the concrete is unsealed. Concrete surfaces is discoloured or made slightly rough by acidic liquids, such as wine, lemon juice, and vinegar. Therefore, an epoxy sealer and routine maintenance can help keep your concrete countertop in pristine condition. Also, you will need to keep hot pots away from the concrete surface. For this reason, if you think you are not a fan of the wabi-sabi look, and you firmly believe a countertop needs to be kept immaculate and new-looking you may not like concrete countertops.
Concret countertops have a rustic and simplistic appearance. It should be noted that concrete is heavy, and it is a good idea to survey the conditions of the floor and cabinetry that will support it.
3. Ceramic Tile Counters
A ceramic tile countertop can give your kitchen an elegant or rustic look. It is one of the most prefered countertop style, because its is durable, inexpensive, attractive, and easy to install. Ceramic tiles come in a variety of colours, textures, and sizes, which lends itself to all sorts of attractive accents. Some are hand-painted and can add to a distinctly personal appeal in your kitchen.
Ceramic tile surfaces are heat resistant, but it can be uneven and likely to be damaged or damage dishes or cookware. The tiles can easily chip or crack and the grout lines can stain if not sealed regularly. You can minimize stains in the grout if you use grout that contains a latex additive and apply a grout sealer after the grout cures and reapply once a year thereafter.
You should note that porcelain tiles are the least of all tiles likely to stain; it is also more expensive than the other types of tiles. Other type of tile countertops are made of marble and stone materials (such as slate and limestone).
4. Laminate Counters
Another common countertop surface is laminate; it is often referred to as high-pressure decorative laminate or plastic laminate. Plastic laminate is quite durable, has a smooth surface, and it is easy to clean. It is inexpensive, and comes in a variety of colours, patterns, and finishes (gloss, stain, and textured). It complements any home decor.
However, laminates can be easily scratched or chipped and are impossible to repair. Therefore, you should avoid laminates that are dark coloured, too textured, or deeply embossed with patterns. It also has a low resistance to heat. Plastic laminate is easy to install and inexpensive to maintain, but will wear out with heavy use.
5. Solid Surface Counters
You will find solid surface countertops an attractive choice, because they can be custom-made to your specification, are quite durable and easy to clean, and scratches and burn marks can be sanded out and polished. Solid surface countertops are available in a limited selection of colour and patterns for your decor. They are also expensive to buy at first, but inexpensive to maintain.
6. Stainless Steel Counters
If you are going for the contemporary kitchen look, you would like the stainless steel countertops. A stainless steel countertop is a good choice because is heat and stain resistant, durable, easy to clean, and can be custom build to your specifications. However stainless steel is expensive, and it can be scratched easily. There are other metal type countertops, such as galvanized sheet and copper sheets. Stainless steel is most suitable where food preparation is concerned.
7. Granite Counters
Granite counters are an expensive choice for the homeowner. It is beautiful and comes in a wide variety of colours. It is durable, functional, and easy to clean. It could last a lifetime. However, it can crack if improperly installed.
There are a lot more options in the market for kitchen countertops, those presented here are the most popular selections. Then, there are countertops which are made from recycled materials, such as reclaimed wood or recycled lumber, recycled glass (beer bottles, stemware, traffic lights, etc.), and paper. Recycled-material countertops are a fashionable choice for the environmentally conscious homeowner. However, their manufacturing require extensive labour and are therefore expensive. This option is quite new, so methods on repairing any damage done to the material may not be fully known yet. Another downside to recycled material countertops is that there may be undesirable components in the products.
All pictures courtesy www.photobucket.com