Kitchen Countertops Materials…Cont

Types of Countertops

One of the questions I am asked is “What type of material should I use for my kitchen countertop?” Fairly simple question but it is the crux pain point, because after all, it is the area of the kitchen that is used the most.

There are many different options out there to think about when you compare kitchen countertops. These include but, are not limited to Granite, Marble, Quartz, Ceramic, Slate, and Laminate. The obvious and most widely used material was granite.

 

Plastic Laminate

Plastic lamination was the beginning of modernized kitchen. This particular material is by far the most inexpensive and is available in almost all colours and textures. The most common brands in the market are Wilsonart, Formica, Nevamar, and Pionite. Each offers myriad styles and colours. For an extra amount of cash, you can have your plastic laminate customized. This means matching your own colour, texture, and style. One of the pros of this material is that it is very easy to clean, but the con is that cuts or scratches are difficult to repair. Moreover, laminates runs the risk of early retirement as it is susceptible to water overtime. Kitchen countertop, being the most frequent water catchment area, will cause laminate to wear and tear. If you are thinking of getting something that can last longer and with an additional financial resources, you can consider other materials below.

Plastic Laminates Kitchen Countertop

 

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

Ceramic Kitchen Countertop

If you are trying to create an artistic or specific look in your kitchen, ceramic and porcelain tile is the key. You can accomplish looks from contemporary to retro when working with these materials. If you are unsure of the design and style wanted, most stores will have showrooms to help you choose. Rustic, timeworn, sandblasted and stone style surfaces are the current trend. If selecting from one of these looks, it is a good idea to ask the designer or salesperson to see several pieces of tile from the same lot. This will allow you to compare colour variations from piece to piece. Porcelain tiles may be a bit more expensive, but the material will withstand wear and tear well without losing its ceramic style. However a point to take note is the grout lines. It seems no one invests the proper time and energy intended to keep grout clean. Grout requires routine cleaning and care, however it is not difficult to clean and maintained on a frequent basis.

 

Solid Surfacing

Solid Surface Kitchen Countertop

Solid Surfacing (commonly used is Corian) is known as a solid surfacing material. It is be made from a pure acrylic product or a polyester-acrylic mix. Although there are some solid coloured materials, most have a real stone texture produced by small flecks. The real stone texture is more expensive. The pro of the solid material is that the surface is scratch resistant. If you do get a scratch it can be sanded out. However, deep scratches will require a replacement of the damaged piece.

 

Concrete Slab

Concrete is a very old material but has recently emerged as a new trend in the market. It may be purchased in pre-formed sections or poured and formed on-site. Having the concrete poured and formed on-site is appropriate for unusually shaped counters. Although concrete is an old material it has an unusually high price. Because it is susceptible to cracking and its constructive look, consumers are weary about using the product indoors. On the plus side, concrete can be stained to match any color desired. This type of countertop is seldom used in HDB as it eludes a sense of coldness but yet a tinge of perfection.

 

Granite

River Granite Kitchen Countertop

Granite is a timeless countertop surface. Not only does the product stand the test of time, granite slabs greatly increase the value of your home. Therefore, granite is the most expensive of all countertop types. The type, quality, and availability of the material, as well as the edge finish will all affect the price you are going to pay. A popular edge finish is a 1-1/2 inch bull nose, but find out more from your fabricator about such information. Granite is a very practical material due to the near impossibility of damaging the surface stone.

If the price is just too extreme, but you can’t resist the look and style, look into granite tiles. A 12-inch square tile contributes identical resistance to that of solid slab. You can also reduce the size of grout by butt-jointing the tiles. Also, you can achieve the same basic look and style of solid granite by combining dark coloured granite with dark coloured grout.

I personally go for granite because the colour options are unlimited. Granite comes from all over the world but and the cheaper option can found using granites from China, India and Brazil, which are as durable and reliable as other countries.

Couple of things to keep in mind if you are thinking of using granite as a countertop:

Black Granite Kitchen Countertop

Colour: Request a sample. Granite, being a natural stone, has many variations in it. Hence, after determining the correct sample, the next step would be go and look at the slab, or request a picture of the slab. The reason behind is the for certain types of granite, the widths of the veining and the colour variation can differ when viewed from a bigger piece of slab. For a safer option in Singapore, homebuyers usually use go for  blacker shades such as Black Galaxy or Shanxi Black as they are generally uniform.It is very important to note that when you order a granite sample, I recommend staying with that one company to order the final slab from. It will save you a lot of time in the long run of having to search for the exact colour you are looking for!

 

 

Quartz Surfaces

Quartz Surface Kitchen Countertop

Quartz countertops are a beautiful, cost effective way to transform your kitchen. Not only is the material installed the about the same price as granite, quartz surfaces are virtually maintenance free, Polished-free, and some have same the natural look as granite. With a quartz countertop, all you need to clear of stains is to take a sponge and wipe off the counters after making a mess at the kitchen top.Think of all the money and time you’ll save by not having to purchase granite cleaners and perform routine maintenance! Sound good? Great, let me break it down for you.

 

 

Some of the properties of quartz are

–          Stain resistance
–          Comes with absolute Colour
–          Consistent colouration
–          Antibacterial
–          Scratch resistance
–          Custom colour (meaning the required colour can be mixed, moulded and churned to give 95% resemblance)
–          Usually comes with warranty

Quartz is so dense that no matter how much is spilled and no matter how long it sits, the quartz doesn’t allow anything to permeate it. That’s good news for everyone because cleanup is a snap!

Now, don’t get me wrong…I love granite. If I’m looking for something extremely unique for my clients, there are literally thousands of different colors of granite to choose from. I really like the Indian and Brazilian granite selections. Nothing could compare to the vivid colors and beautiful graining of these granites! I usually take my clients to a granite stoneyard where we can pick out the exact color we’re looking for. It’s a really wonderful experience!

 

Composite Stone

Now, composite stone material is the granite rival. The stone is a synthetic composite made from 90% quartz particles and 10% acrylic or epoxy binder. It is even difficult to decipher between the looks of real stone, composite, and granite. Because the composites are man-made, there is no chance of variation as in granite or marble. Therefore the material does not need to be sealed.

Using the same process- Silestone, Okite, CaesarStone, and Dupont’s Zodiaq are the major manufacturers. The only difference among these companies are the variations in color and texture. Together they offer over 130 countertops, all of which are scratch resistant. They can stain if not cleaned properly.

Composite Stone Kitchen Countertop

 

 

Butcher Block

Seldom seen in HDB flats, butcher clock comprised from rock maple, it can also be made from oak and cherry or mixed and exotic species. Although the surface it explicit for cutting and chopping, knife marks will show and the surface is also prone to water damages. Several coats of waterproofing (sealant) is required when placing near sink. Also due to the warm temperature in tropical countries, which are usually coupled with on higher humidity and moist level, butcher block is less practical to place as kitchen top, which requires to be dry at most times in order to last longer with the same shine.

 

Stainless Steel
For a professional style or restaurant appearance, steel is perfect. The stainless steel is an alloy containing minute amounts of chromium for its rust resistant surface. Because of its thinness, it is attached to plywood, which provides strength, and helps mute the sound. The pros of steel are that it is stainless, heat resistant, and easily cleaned.

This countertop is therefore widespread as a result of it’s a sturdy material than the opposite countertops. Beside it, chrome steel kitchen countertops are terribly hygiene after you prepare food on it. You’ll mix it in nice style in stylish and modern style with the sinks, stoves, cook tops and far additional. The cons may be far and beyond for some. Fabrication is extremely costly and difficult. It shows scratches, fingerprints, dents, and can be rather noisy work surface. Also, if you tire of the look and style in the future, it is quite difficult to change or replace.

 

Other Pointers

In the end, you want to choose a countertop material that suits you and your home. Remember that none of the materials are trouble-free. Scratching and periodic resealing will apply to certain materials. All of them will stain if not properly cared for. The only material that does not stain is stainless steel, but it does scratch and the look isn’t for everyone. Tile and granite should be tested out before installing.
Certain tile may dull when in contact with vinegar or other foods and chemicals. Test the surface before choosing a specific design. Check with your contractor to find out more about the quality and suitability.

 

Kim
San Teck International
www.san-teck.com

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