Countertop Materials and their Advantages and Disadvantages

Published: 02nd February 2010
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If you want to build a new house or expand your kitchen, the right choice of countertop material is a vital component to enjoy more cooking hours. Kitchen countertops can create a considerable difference on your home's value and the right choice of material will bring out your best chef side. In choosing your kitchen countertop, consider beauty, style, ease in installation and durability.

Your countertop could be used as cutting board, office desk, food preparation surface, hot food and snack bar headquarters. You should have a durable and attractive countertop surface.

Following are some advantages and disadvantages of countertop options:

1. A solid countertop is composed of a mixture of polyester and acrylic. The material provides you many options. It is nonporous, therefore making them perfect in preparing food and hard to stain. Solids can be formed into almost any size and shape. However, refrain from putting hot pans on the surface directly because intense heat can pop seams and discolor the surface. The cost is between $45 to $75 per square foot.
2. Engineered stone top is a blend of natural and beauty stone with the benefit of solid surface materials. It is stain and scratch resistant and nonporous. Like authentic stone, it has a hard surface that can be cold and slippery to the touch. The cost is $65 to $85 per square foot.
3. Granite-rock solid and natural countertop is more common and inexpensive. They have varied colors and edgings that could be crafted. The seams are slight more evident in hot grease stains and granite. This material however only requires low maintenance and costs from $75 to $125 per square foot.
4. Soapstone and marble tops are softer and needs more maintenance and susceptible to scratches and stains. Nevertheless, they provide unique alternatives and reasonable.
5. The best widely used material in your kitchen top is laminate. It is low on maintenance and cheap. The material is stain and grease resistant and has varied patterns and colors. The dark under layer may be visible and the top is prone to damage from sharp knives and hot pans. It melts easily in contact with a cigarette tip and once damaged, is hard to fix. The cost runs from $15 to $60 per running foot.
6. Ceramic tile brings out the artist within you and you can make the style of your preference. The material is easily replaced and resistant to scratch and heat. The grout may collect food particles or stains, allowing bacterial infiltration. The tiles may crack and chip and will dull knives when used in cutting. Scrubbing with abrasives could destroy the high-gloss finish. The price is from $4 to $8 per tile.
7. Stainless steel is very popular to a high-technology crowd. It is the choice of many restaurants. It is tough on hot pans, stains and creates a contemporary look on your kitchen. It easily shows nicks, scratches, and requires firm and solid underlayment or it will dent. It is also cold to the touch.
8. Butcher block makes use of end-grain hardwood. Its warm and natural appearance is the perfect choice and the best for chopping and cutting. It can easily be installed and repaired and the surface scratches can be sanded out easily. The protective surface sealers are no often good for food, are also sensitive to humidity, and not recommended to use on highly humid areas. This material also dents and scorches easily. It will cost you around $50 a running foot.

The items mentioned above are just a few of the many choices you have as a homeowner. Make sure to weight your options carefully before you decide. Consider what you and your family needs.

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