A Look At Countertops

When it comes time to choose a specific material for counter-top installation in your kitchen there are several options to choose.

As with any addition to your home it is imperative that you do your research in order to get a product that will meet your design and performance needs. Let’s look at some of the countertop options available to you and the benefits they offer.

One of the more popular materials for countertops is laminate. Laminates consist of two things, paper and resins. To make a laminate the paper is saturated with resins, dried and then stacked in layers and pressed together under intense heat.

After the pressing, these sheets then form a single sheet of laminate. Because laminates come in a wide variety of colors, patterns and moderately durable,  it necessitates proper maintenance because it is not scratch or heat

resistant, although it is stain resistant. To clean laminate surfaces you should use a damp cloth or sponge with a mild soap. Also, the seams of the laminate countertop and splash areas must be wiped up immediately or these areas can swell which cannot be repaired.

Options

Corian ® is a solid surface containing a blend of natural materials and pure acrylic polymer. It is non-porous, resistant to stains, grime and bacteria and comes in over one hundred colors. It’s very durable, long lasting, heat and

scratch resistant and easy to clean and maintain. Corian ® surfaces were invented by Dupont ™ and have consistently attained a customer satisfaction rating of 96%. This solid surface material can be cut, drilled, sculpted, bent or worked like fine wood and is available at over four thousand kitchen & bath retailers nationally.

Granite is one of the strongest surface materials for countertops. Granite is a combination of quartz, crystals, feldspar and minerals. It is extracted from quarries in the form of large blocks, which are then sliced into slabs and then polished. These slabs are then custom fabricated and then installed into your home.

Because granite is a natural resource no two slabs are alike and therefore granite countertops are unique unto themselves. Granite is also a porous material so it must be sealed occasionally in order to minimize staining. The surface is easy to clean with simple soap and water or special granite cleaner that will maintain a beautiful finish.

Wood countertops are popular because of the homey appearance and they come in selections such as oak, maple, cherry, walnut and mahogany. Wood countertops offer one of the more sanitary products for your kitchen because they avoid bacteria buildup. Strict maintenance is required however, consisting of regular mineral oil treatments, particularly near the sink and you should be careful with hot cookware.

The butcher-block top is not one solid block of wood but rather segments that are glued together. The surface area’s appearance depends on how these segments are arranged and which grain of the wood is visible. A finish is required as wood oxidizes over time. Wood also gains and loses moisture depending on the environment.

Ceramic tile is a popular option because of its affordability. However, it requires high maintenance because the grout needs to be sealed regularly for optimal stain protection. It comes in several forms, sizes and colors and can be handcrafted to fit the look you desire.

Quartz countertops are extremely durable with a scratch and scorch resistant surface. In fact only three other minerals on earth are harder than quartz – sapphires, topaz and diamonds. This makes quartz countertops very difficult to scratch or chip. It’s nearly stain proof as well as it is non-porous. Because of its non-porous surface it doesn’t need to be sealed or treated.

More Options

Other surfaces like granite, marble or limestone need regular sealing. This also makes it difficult for bacteria, mold or mildew to grow. One final advantage to quartz is environmental.

Finally, recycled glass countertops are one of the greenest surface materials available. These countertops are usually made up of recycled glass, concrete and non-toxic pigments making it more eco-friendly than other surfaces. Maintenance requirements include annual sealing and waxing. They are heat resistant but the sealer may not be. And just like granite and marble, recycled glass surfaces can stain if not immediately cleaned after spills.

As you can see there are many choices to look into when you are ready to install a countertop in your home. There are advantages and some disadvantages to all of them and monetary considerations as well.

Of course, the look matters too. So make sure you take the time to view several types of counter tops before you make a decision. Be sure to look into every aspect of your material choice and make sure you engage a reputable, licensed and insured company to help you with your decision.

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