Monday, November 2, 2009

Kitchens: Countertop Choices

Choosing a material for your kitchen countertops can be quite confusing. When assessing which material is for you, it is easy to decide based solely on appearance - but don't forget to compare price, durability, and maintenance. Our simple pros & cons list below will teach you the basics!

LAMINATE
(Wilsonart, Nevamar, Formica, etc)
Layers of paper treated with resin and pressed together under high heat and pressure, over wood chip board.
Pros - inexpensive, fast & easy to install
Cons - chips & scratches easily, lacks natural beauty, looks plastic


SOLID SURFACE
(Corian, Avonite, Gibraltar, Earthstone, etc)
All man-made material. There are no layers, the surface you see on top is the same all the way through.
Pros - seamless construction, can sand out scratches or slight stains
Cons - may scorch or crack with extreme heat, looks man-made


QUARTZ or ENGINEERED STONE
(Caeserstone, Silestone, Zodiaq, etc)
A composite of quartz, pebbles, polymers, and epoxy.
Pros - seamless, sandable, hot pot tolerant, looks like stone
Cons - hmmm...similar in price to natural stone


NATURAL STONE
(marble, granite, soapstone, basalt, etc)
Pros - natural beauty, variations and eventually a patina
Cons - can stain, requires maintenance/sealer, (less of a worry with granite), can be expensive


STAINLESS STEEL
(Usually 16-gauge stainless steel for residential kitchens)
Pros - hot pot tolerant, easy to clean, unique style
Cons - may dent, can stain or corrode, very expensive


WOOD or BUTCHER BLOCK
(Hardwoods such as maple or oak, etc)
Pros - homey style, can sand to repair and re-seal, can cut on it
Cons - requires maintenance/oiling, water damage

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