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Article Teaser: Countertops make a huge statement in the look and feel of your kitchen. Finding that balance between what you can afford and what is beautiful can be tricky, but is not impossible. There are a wide variety of countertop materials available on the market today, giving you plenty of options to make the proper choice for your kitchen.

Keep reading below...

Countertop Tips: Your Guide to the Top Choices

Copyright (c) 2008-2017

Countertops make a huge statement in the look and feel of your kitchen. Finding that balance between what you can afford and what is beautiful can be tricky, but is not impossible. There are a wide variety of countertop materials available on the market today, giving you plenty of options to make the proper choice for your kitchen.

Countertops take a varying amount of abuse day-to-day, so itís important to choose the right material for you. Consider how hard you and your family are on your kitchen and how much time you want to commit to maintenance.

Here are a few popular countertop materials.

NATURAL STONE

Granite is the countertop material of choice when you donít have to think about money. It defines elegance in a kitchen and even the most modest kitchen is enhanced by the stoneís beauty. It has the second highest hardness after diamonds and has a high value to homebuyers.

Granite holds up to heat and comes in a huge range of colors. It can be highly polished and shiny or finished in a variety of other ways. Granite countertops are easily cleaned because of its low porosity. With granite, each slab is unique, with random and inconsistent patterns so buyers should select their own slabs.

Granite is not cheap. Depending on the color and complexity of fabrication, expect to pay between $75 to more than $250 per square foot.

Marble is less stain-resistant and more porous than granite, so it may be damaged by acidic foods, and requires constant maintenance. Because of its extremely high price tag, marble is not often used on the countertops of whole kitchens. To get a luxurious look, use it on an island or inset at a baking center.

Slate, like that from New York, Vermont, and Maine, is durable, non-porous, and some colors require no sealing. It can provide an elegance and sophistication to kitchen countertops, but it comes in far fewer colors than granite.

Soapstone countertops can be sealed with mineral oil to reduce staining. They are generally dark gray in color and have a smooth feel. Soapstone can be used as both a countertop and sink material.

ENGINEERED STONE

Engineered stone is a quartz-composite product mixed with colored pebbles, polymers, and epoxy. These quartz countertops have recently gained some popularity amongst homeowners since they are an extremely durable product that takes the heat and resists stains.

Since they are man-made, they have an even pattern, there are more color options than natural stone and it's easy to order the same pattern and shade if more countertop is needed. The big advantage to using quartz countertops is that they require no resealing and are stronger than granite. Some of the major brand names are Zodiac, Cambria, Silestone and Legacy.

SOLID SURFACES

Solid-surface countertops are a man-made plastic-based material. One of their advantages is they can be custom-made to the proper length so there are no seams. Another advantage is that since the color goes all the way through the countertop, if there are stains or scratches, you can easily use sandpaper to gently sand them.

A unique feature of solid-surface material is that you can have a sink made of the same material that is seamlessly integrated into your countertop. You can find solid-surface countertops under such names as Corian, Avonite and Swanstone. They tend to be less expensive than natural or engineered stone, although they are also more easily damaged by heat.

CERAMIC TILE

Over the last decade, the trend in kitchen design has shifted to seamless and low-maintenance countertops. Ceramic tile has lost its place as the main countertop material. It is, however, an excellent choice for backsplashes and as an accent for some work surfaces.

WOOD

Due to granite and solid surfaces popularity, wood as the primary countertop material has lost prominence over the years. Wood maintenance can be an issue since a mineral oil finish requires reapplication every four to six weeks and is more of a commitment than most busy homeowners are willing to make. But, as with ceramic tile, there are other surfaces where you can use wood, such as a baker's prep area, a dining counter or a food chopping block.

STAINLESS STEEL

Stainless steel is very contemporary, chic, industrial and known for its association with professional kitchens. Stainless steel countertops are constructed to your specifications, so your countertops will be seamless. They are non-porous and do not absorb odors, stains or germs, which makes them easy to clean. High temperatures do not affect them, so you can set hot pans directly on them without worry.

Some disadvantages are that stainless shows fingerprints easily, is expensive, sometimes noisy and may be scratched or dented with use. Newer applications include brushed or textured finishes that can help to camouflage scratches.

LAMINATES

Laminate counters are made of plastic-coated synthetics with a smooth surface thatís easy to clean. They come in lots of colors and are inexpensive and durable. However, scratches and chips can be very difficult to repair.

CONCRETE

Concrete is exotic and industrial looking and might be a good choice if you have unusually-shaped countertops. They are heat and scratch resistant and can be color-tinted. However, theyíre a bit more expensive due to the custom work and they may need to be sealed regularly.

If you canít decide on just one countertop material or if cutting costs is an issue, itís acceptable to use more than one type of material. For example, while you may choose an engineered stone for most of your countertops, you could place marble on the baking area, or stainless steel around the stove.

When looking for countertops, think about the way you will use them, choose wisely and shop around.


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Aaron J. Munk is the founder of Maytex Global, a home-design technology company at the crossroads of technology and design. They are the creators of SeeItYourWay, a premier kitchen design website, providing users with the ability to view multiple home d»cor selections in a photo-realistic setting, bringing out the unique designer in each and every one of us. To learn more, visit http://www.seeityourway.com or call 800-733-0155.

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Internal ID: #6460
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Total Views: 2682

Article Rating: 1.83 of 5
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