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Different Types of Countertops for a Kitchen Remodeling Project

Originally Published on Footbridgemedia.com

One of the important details included as part of a kitchen remodeling project is choosing just the right kitchen countertop material. Some homeowners already have in mind exactly what they want and others may not have any idea. There are some things to take into consideration before making a choice such as:

  • Budget – some materials are more expensive than others and by quite a bit. Decide on how much of your budget you can allow to spend on this part of the renovation project before making the final choice. You should also prioritize your expenses. For example if you simply cannot imagine redoing your kitchen without top of the line granite counters then this should be the top of your list and the rest of the budget has to work out expense wise accordingly. On the other hand if you aren’t too concerned with your countertops then you can free up more money for the features that do matter to you.
  • Use – If you are planning to use your kitchen a lot for cooking and baking then choose the material that works best for taking a beating. You don’t want to select a material that looks great when installed and looks terrible within a month because you actually used it a lot. If you really just use your kitchen as a place to store food and reheat restaurant takeout in the microwave then you don’t have to give this as much consideration.
  • Cleaning and Maintenance – This is one that often gets overlooked but you have to be realistic about how much time and effort you are willing to invest into taking care of your counters. For instance, materials that are porous tend to capture dirt and will need more regular cleaning. If you don’t want to be bothered with a lot of cleaning, maintenance and upkeep then make your selection accordingly.

Examples of Material Types

These days there are almost countless possibilities for materials that can be used for kitchen counters. Try not to have your heart and head set on any one type until you understand the pros and cons of each. Although there are numerous others that could be included in this list these are some of the most common and popular choices homeowners consider for their kitchen:

Granite – Sturdy and available in a variety of colors and patterns found in nature this choice is known for coming with a higher price tag. While it is relatively easy to clean it does require sealing every so often for longevity.
Marble – Probably one of the most popular and desirable choices due to its luxurious finished look. However, it is very susceptible to stains even with sealing. Consider using another material for counters that will get the most use and this for more decorative accents.
Tile – This is a popular choice because it can have a fantastic look without eating up too much of your budget. Of course this all depends on the type of tile you decide on. One advantage is that if a few tiles are damaged they can be replaced relatively easily and inexpensively. However, keeping grout free from bacteria and stains is not always an easy task.
Laminate – Like tile this is often an option for those on a tighter budget or who would rather dedicate the majority of their finances to something like the cabinets or flooring. While it is easy to clean it is more prone to permanent stains and burns than other options.

Other popular choices include concrete, butcher block, stainless steel and soapstone – just to name a few.

The bottom line is that you should always choose what you want and not just what your contractor talks you into. However make sure the choice you make is actually practical based on the factors discussed at the beginning of the article. And you should still listen to what your remodeling contractor has to say. For example if he or she explains that your marble or granite won’t work because the cabinet base you chose isn’t sturdy enough then you are going to have to do some rethinking.

Choosing the Perfect Kitchen Countertops

Originally Published onĀ Footbridgemedia.com

Kitchen remodeling is a fun, exciting home improvement project. It gives you a unique opportunity to express your individual creativity, adding your own distinctive aesthetic flare by choosing the perfect interior design styles, paint colors, tile, and other features to make your new kitchen uniquely your own. When you’re planning and designing your renovated kitchen, one of the most important decisions you’ll be making is your choice of countertops.

Kitchen countertops are an indispensible main feature of any modern kitchen, providing the space you need for food preparation. When it comes to countertops, there’s a surprisingly wide variety of materials you’ll be able to choose from. Different materials have different properties, varying in the color range available, their resistance to staining and scratching, and other qualities that might make a certain type the best choice for your unique lifestyle, design taste, and cooking habits. There are several categories of countertop materials available, including natural stone, tile, and a variety of synthetic materials, all of which have unique benefits and decorative potential that are not only practical, but can provide a major design element within your kitchen decor.
Natural Stone Countertops

Natural stone is one of the most popular and well-loved materials for constructing kitchen countertops. Slabs of natural stone have their own unique beauty that can help lend your kitchen an element of refined, traditional elegance. Several types of stone are commonly used for countertops.

Marble has been used since ancient times, renowned for its unique beauty. Marble countertops are widely considered to be some of the most beautiful, although they can be rather expensive compared to other materials. If you decide on marble for your kitchen counters, you’ll be able to choose from different colors, which vary depending on where the marble originated.
Granite is another popular natural stone for countertops. Not only is it beautiful to look at, variable in grains and colors, but it’s incredibly hard and resistant to scratching and damage. It’s often less pricey than marble, although still conferring a similarly beautiful natural look. It’s also harder and less prone to scratching than marble.

Soapstone is so durable and stain-resistant that it’s used in laboratories. Unlike marble and granite, which have unique streaks and strains that lend a more mottled appearance, soapstone is more smooth and uniform. It’s also very smooth to the touch, which is where it gets its name. It’s also resistant to acids like lemon juice and vinegar, which can sometimes damage other types of stone.

Limestone is geologically similar to marble, and is becoming increasingly popular as a countertop material. It’s usually found in colors ranging from white to sandy tan hues, and it’s quite sturdy and heat-resistant. It looks especially striking in kitchens that feature stainless steel appliances.

Synthetic Countertop Materials

In addition to several varieties of natural stone, there are several kinds of man-made materials that make excellent and visually appealing countertops. Synthetic materials tend to be quite sturdy, durable, and stain-resistant, making them a great choice for use in a kitchen.

  • Engineered quartz is a versatile, man-made alternative to natural stone slabs. It’s created from a combination of quartz chips, pigments, and resin. One benefit is that it can be made in a very wide variety of colors, including colors that might not be available for natural stone. It’s tough and non-porous, as well as notably eco-friendly.
  • Recycled paper is another “green” countertop option. You may be surprised that a countertop could be made from paper, but this material is surprisingly durable. The paper is blended with resins, and colored with pigments.
  • Recycled glass and cement countertops are rather expensive, but can be very visually interesting. As far as color and appearance, they’re one of the most customizable countertop options.
  • Concrete countertops can be colored with stains, dyes, and pigments for an almost endless variety of customizable colors, making them an excellent choice for colorful modern kitchens.
  • Solid-surface counters are made from a unique synthetic polymer that can emulate the look of many other materials.
  • Plastic laminate is one of the most cost-effective countertop options, and comes in many colors and patterns. Laminate can be used as a less expensive alternative for mimicking the appearance of materials like wood butcherboard or natural stone.

Metal Countertops

Metal countertops look fantastic in a sleek contemporary kitchen, as well as being a favorite among professional chefs.

Stainless steel is popular not only for its attractive, modern aesthetic, but also for its superior durability and stain resistance.
Copper takes on a unique patina as it ages, giving it a unique look that lends an individual flair to your kitchen.
Zinc is a metal known for its naturally antimicrobial properties. It has a darker, warmer color and appearance than stainless steel, and like copper, it will darken with age.

Other Countertop Materials

Tile, available in stone, ceramic, or glass, is a uniquely versatile and customizable option. With tile, you can create mosaics and other unique elements, as well as incorporating a coordinated backsplash.
Wood butcherboard has a warm, inviting appearance that can compliment Swedish kitchen design, as well as country and traditional decor schemes.

Whichever type of countertop you choose, you’ll want to consider both your aesthetic tastes and your practical needs— such as stain resistance or durability— to pick the material for beautiful customized countertops that you’ll absolutely love.