Choosing kitchen countertops is something that every new home owner must pay special attention to. This is a place which gets the most wear and tear out of the kitchen. Hot objects will often be placed here, and this is where all of the serving and preparation is done, so therefore, shopping around for quality will really pay off in the long run.
If you don't have the adequate DIY skills, don't think of installing kitchen countertops all by yourself, because you are probably going to end up spending more in the long run. This is a job for the professionals, so just keep that in mind.
Types of Kitchen Countertops
Concrete: This may not sound like your first choice, and not a material which you would think of putting in your kitchen, but it is one of the most durable things you can think of. You will also be surprised at the aesthetics, especially when it is painted.
If you have a couple of DIY skills up your sleeve, you can even do this yourself. Colored powder is mixed in with the concrete and you have something really unique. If you think about it, all it is, is a mix of powder with water, so you can't expect it to break the bank.
Granite: This is a more expensive option. You will find it to be something that is fairly heavy as well. It is similar to concrete in terms of weight, so you need the right kind of cabinets to support the weight. It does well to prevent scratches from appearing and it can cope with heat.
In saying that, it is necessary for one to have this sealed every so often. This will get rid of any stains.
Marble: It's glam and traditional, but it is also expensive. It is great for baking, especially you make a lot of pastry. This is great for someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen.
Of course, you have to have the budget for it. It is possible to have a small section laid out with this material. The negative aspect here, is that stains are common.
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Tiles: There are many advantages to using ceramic tiles because you can choose just about any color or pattern to go with the rest of your decor. You can also place hot things on top without a problem. Tiled kitchen countertops are handy because they are easy to replace.
However, you may have to think of having a small flat surface which is constructed of another material. The reason for this is that it is difficult to work between the grooves of the tiles.
Stainless Steel: Once upon a time, you would only have seen this material in an industrial kitchen. However, it has really grown in popularity over the years.
Not only does it look good, but it is really practical. Like marble, this is perfect for making any type of dough because it is cool. It is very strong and will resist high temperatures.
Butcher Block: This will fit in with a certain theme, mainly one with a rustic look. This is for someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen, and they will obviously find it extremely practical chopping and dicing directly on the table. Scratches that are made with the knife can be sanded down.
However, a good quality wood is required for this. The only problem with this is that when moisture seeps into the wood, it is prone to bacteria. It needs to be disinfected on a regular basis. It should also be oiled down.
Soapstone: This is another type of stone, like Granite, but it is not as popular. With this, you will find that there is more maintenace need, so you need to oil it down, especially in the later stages when it starts to change color somewhat.
It is rougher and can crack as time goes by. Overall, if you are looking for something less expensive, then this is the way to go, and it will last you some time.
Laminate: This may not have the elegance of a natural stone like marble, but you will defninitely save yourself some money, and it is practical. You can even do this yourself, without many DIY skills. All you need is a piece of plywood, along with your choice of plastic resin.
You get a lot of materials these days that look exactly like regular natural stone. This is easy to clean, but you have to be careful of sharp knives and hot objects. Ikea kitchen countertops also specialize in this, and they have a good name, so this may be a good place to start off.
Durable Eco-Friendly Kitchen Counters
It's no surprise, there is more of a demand for green products these days. A lot of people will brush this aside, but it's not only the counter, but the cleaning products, which are the killer. Things like wood, which comes in the form of the butcher's block that we have touched on, and even recycled paper are going to be good for the environment. However, you have to find something that is both a green product, that is going to last as well, otherwise you could end up paying up.
For example, recycled paper looks great, but you have to be careful when dealing with hot objects. A kitchen countertop made of bamboo, on the other hand, is incredibly strong and will definitely last you. It also looks very good in any kitchen, so this is one option to consider. Look out for Teragren if you are in the United States. However, be careful of just any product, because a lot of bamboo comes from China, and this is not completely natural.