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How To Choose a Kitchen Countertop: Materials, Colors, and More

edited September 2012 in Articles & Insights
For those people who loves to work in the kitchen and has a keen eye and delicate taste when it comes to kitchen appeal, choosing a countertop that will complement and totally set the whole kitchen atmosphere can be quite a challenge. Your countertop is a focal pointin your kitchen and has an ability to create an impact and affect the over all look of the whole kitchen. So to help you come up with the best choice of countertop that will complement and enhance the beauty of your kitchen, here is a listof the materials commonly used for countertops.
Granite countertops
This are the clic choices when it comes to countertops, this may be because the material is quite strong and has a high endurance when it comes to heat and stains. The advantages of having granite countertops are: it is durable, heat resistant, stain resistant, low maintenance, doesn’t chipeasily, and has a unique texture and complex design that is difficult to match. While it has great advantages it also has some drawbacks and these are: it is expensive, difficult to repair when damaged, requires some maintenance, if not properly sealed it may absorb stains, and can easily when it is not properly installed.
Marble countertops
Marble countertops are definitely marvelous. It can add a touch of luxury and elegance to your kitchen. Marble counter top has an excellentability to maintain a cool temperature even if you are directly working on it. This is why most bakers prefer this kind of surface to work on. Like granite, it also needs to be sealed at least twice a year as it is a bit softer than granite. Aside from its aesthetic appeal and its strong resistance to heat marble countertops are extremely durable.Some of its disadvantages are: it is as expensive as granite, it can be scratched easily, and it absorbs liquid easily that’s why it needs constant sealing.
Natural stone countertops
Aside from granite and marble there are other natural stones that you can use such as slate, limestone, soapstone and lava stones. Depending upon the kitchen impression that you want to achieve, you may want to try and use one or a combination of this natural stones. In general most natural stone share the same quality such as their resistance to heat, durability, and resistance to scratch. They may only differ in the degrees and also the price.
Engineered stone countertops
Engineered stones are made from small fragments of natural stone mostly composed of quartz, and are held together by a plastic polymer. This material needs to be integrated into the slab of your countertop. Advantages of having engineered countertop is that it is durable, smooth, kid friendly as it is scratch and stain resistant, easy to maintain and adds a visual appeal to your kitchen. Some of the disadvantage in using this material is: it can be damaged by heat and like natural stone countertops it is also expensive.
Solid-surface countertops.These are man made countertop materials that are usually plastic based. The good thing about this material is that it can be custom made, there are no seams, scratches and stains can be easily sanded out, easy to maintain and durable, waterproof, scratches and burn damage can be easily repaired, has a wide variety of styles available that you choose from. Another is that you can integrate it in to your sink, so you can have a sink made from the same material as your countertop. Also it is less expensive that natural stones or engineered stones. The only disadvantage with this kind of material is that it can easily be damaged by heat.
Stainless steel countertops
It is mostly the ideal material for a countertop when it comes to its qualities as it is heat resistant, durable, and nonporous, easy to clean and does not absorb odors, stains or germs. The fall backs in using stainless steels is that it can be easily dented and needs a solid and strong support from underneath, it is e to scratch and finger marks, noisy, expensive and may not quite jive with your contemporary kitchen.
Concrete countertops.Concrete countertops are strong and durable and are highly resistant to damage and most especially non porous. Some of the qualities you can find in natural stone materials are also contained by concrete countertops such as durability, resistance to heat and scratch resistant. Plus it has an advantage from natural stone materials when it comes to customizing it. You can barely choose from different colors and kinds of finishes you want for your concrete countertop. It is also less expensive compared to marble and natural stone materials. Like stone materials concrete countertops also needs constant sealing and regular maintenance. Another disadvantage is that concrete countertop is e to ing.
Ceramic tile countertops
If a lively and artistic kitchen appeals to you perhaps you would also like to use ceramic tile for your countertops. Ceramic has a good resistance to heat, durable, inexpensive,easy to clean, and is available in different colors, sizes and designs. With ceramic tiles you can even design and express your artistic side and make a piece of an art work out of your countertop. The negative sides in using ceramic tiles are: it needs gout and sealant reapplication annually, the surface of your countertop is uneven, the tiles can easily or chip, and gout lines can be easily stained. Given the price of ceramic tiles and its easy installation, it makes an ideal material for those who are in a tight budget.
Laminate countertops
This is the most commonly used material for countertops. It is made from layers of particle board that is bounded to a plastic colored veneer. Laminate countertops are sy, cost efficient, and has a wide variety of colors, textures and patterns that you can choose from. However it less resistant to heat compared to other materials, it is e to scratches, burn and has visible seams. Once it id damage it is difficult to repair and may probably need changing.
Undecided which countertop material to use?
Why not try combining one or more countertop materials. Perhaps you can use marble countertop for your baking area, engineered stone for your island countertop, and maybe you can use stainless steel for your stove countertop and around your sink.
Another important aspect when choosing the best countertop material for your kitchen is your color option. Now that you have already decided on the kind of surface or texture you want for your countertop, the next step is to choose the right color that will go along with the rest of your kitchen setup.If you prefer to have a stylish and lively countertop that uses geometric arrangements of ceramic tiles justkeep yourkitchen accessories in a neutral tone so that it will harmonize with your countertop and kitchen. Also take into consideration the location of your countertop and kitchen, if it is very visible from the living room then choose a color that will harmonize with the other room.

Another factor to consider when it comes to choosing a countertop for your kitchen is how well the material will blend with the rest of the kitchen set up especially with your flooring and cabinets. And also take into consideration the style and architecture of your home, does the style, color and texture of your countertop blends well with it? If yes then it is a match and an et for your kitchen.

As natural stone commonly vary in color, it is best to check out first the exact piece before making the final decision and before installing it in your kitchen. It is also a good chance to inspect for s or damage in your chosen countertop material. Whatever your countertop material choice is just enjoy the experience of decorating your own kitchen, and if ever there are mistakes along the way, just charge it to your experience and lean from it.
TIPS
When taking measurements, and doing some estimatesfor your countertop project, keep in mind that most countertop materials are measured by square foot and not linear feet.
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