How Much Weight Can I Put On A Quartz Countertop Countertops 101 – Basics on Choosing a Kitchen Countertop Material

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Countertops 101 – Basics on Choosing a Kitchen Countertop Material

For many, the kitchen is the most important room in the house. And most real estate experts agree that the best way to improve or raise the value of your home property is to renovate your kitchen. The four main components of a kitchen remodel typically include replacing major appliances, installing new flooring, replacing or refacing kitchen cabinets, and installing new countertops. Let’s focus on the last component – replacing the current kitchen countertop material with a new one.

Of course, it’s more than just running to the store to pick out a new countertop for your kitchen. First you need to consider how much you want to spend. You should also think about the time and effort you will have to put into maintaining your new countertop. Finally, you’ll want to consider the style and look you want in your kitchen. Whatever type of countertop you install, it will be the focal point of the entire room.

The first type of countertop that pops into the mind of every anxious kitchen renovator is granite. However, there are many countertop materials to choose from – and granite is just one of them. Today, kitchen remodeling expects to be able to choose tile, stone, acrylic, concrete, stainless steel, and laminate, even wood!

GRANITE

Let’s start with the most popular: granite. Granite countertops are the most popular but also the most expensive. Why? Besides its beautiful surface, granite is extremely heat resistant and scratch resistant. A granite countertop is very durable and will last a long time. A granite countertop will never go out of style and the installation of a granite slab will greatly increase the value of the house. The downside? Aside from the cost, granite is a natural and porous stone. A sealer will be needed to prevent staining. One alternative is to use granite tiles in large spaces. Save money on tall boxes. It is important not to use a granite surface as a cutting board as it will reduce the finish (and damage a knife or two.)

OTHER NATURAL STONES

In addition to granite, there are a variety of other stone surfaces that can be used on kitchen counters. Quartz, marble, limestone, soapstone, and slate surfaces are very popular today. Marble is smooth and cool, perfect for preparing food directly on the surface. It is not as durable as granite and requires more sealing maintenance to protect it from staining. Slate is very durable and has a unique surface that can be found in the kitchen. As slate has been used as a roofing material, it does not require as much sealing protection, but some upkeep is still necessary. Limestone is very porous and spills must be treated quickly to prevent staining. It has a natural, weathered look that can deepen and darken over time. Natural quartz has a similar appearance to slate but does not stain or scratch easily. Engineered quartz is also gaining in popularity, but costs more (engineered quartz is a composite product of quartz mixed with epoxy, polymer, and small stones or gravel for a unique look and feel.)

TILES

Ceramic tiles and glazed porcelain have been popular in kitchens for decades. It comes in a variety of colors, shapes, and designs. Boxes can be as small as an inch square and as large as six inches square. The tiles are durable and also have heat and scratch resistant qualities like granite. Porcelain tiles are usually more expensive than ceramic tiles, but porcelain tiles are more durable and the hardest type of tile. Disadvantages of the box? It can chip easily, is more expensive than laminate alternatives, and grout can be a problem. When putting tiles together, there is a line of grout between each and the grout can easily stain. It will require more maintenance to keep it looking good. Because of the grout problem, the ability for tiles to break and chip easily, and the overall cost, it is best to leave the installation work to professionals.

CONCRETE

Concrete is not just for sidewalks or roads. A concrete countertop is pigmented and can be polished to a smooth and shiny surface that can resemble any natural stone. Counters can be printed in the factory or printed on site. Concrete is quite porous and needs to be sealed regularly, similar to granite, to resist stains. It can be made in any shape and have any thickness. Concrete is also heat and scratch resistant. Counters can be made in a variety of colors and textures. Shortcomings in concrete? The sealer you need is not the only protection you need. Sealer must be waxed every one to three months to prevent stains and water damage, so maintenance can be extensive. You can’t cut into a concrete surface without leaving a mark. Concrete is also very expensive.

STAINLESS STEEL

A restaurant will probably be the first thing one will think of when it comes to stainless steel kitchen counters. But there is a reason most restaurants use this material. Durability, stain and water resistance, low maintenance, various size and shape options are just some of the reasons. It is also very easy to clean and you can place a hot plate or pan on the surface without worrying about damaging it. Disadvantages – many do not like the “industrial” look. It can be quite expensive to make. Cutting can leave marks and can dent easily. It is important to ensure that the surface is at least 18 gauge and has eight to ten percent nickel.

WOOD

Sometimes called Butcher Block Countertops, wooden counters are usually made from strips of maple or oak that have been glued together. But almost any hardwood can be made into countertops. Bamboo countertops are the latest trend! Wood counter materials have a warm, beautiful look that can come in a variety of colors and textures. It’s perfect for people who want to cut directly on their counter surface. It can be sanded and resealed if there are cuts, scratches or deep stains. It can be easy to install and reasonable prices. The downside? The wood is not very hard and easily burns, scratches, or rots. Wood can warp or turn black near sinks from regular water contact. And it requires regular sealing.

LAMINATE

Formica is the most common name for laminate counters. It is made of a thin layer of plastic laid over particle board or wood. Plastic laminate counters are very inexpensive, lightweight, and available in an endless variety of colors and patterns. It is very stain-resistant and, as a plastic material, it is easy to clean. Because it is already formed, it can be easy for a do-it-yourselfer to install. Disadvantages of Formica? While these counters are somewhat durable, they don’t last forever. Laminates are not heat or scratch resistant but they are stain resistant. Abrasive cleaners can reduce and scratch surfaces. Warping or water spotting occurs with excessive exposure to moisture. Colors or patterns may fade over time.

Acrylic / SOLID surface

Solid surface counter tops are custom made for any application. Popular companies include Corian, Avonite, and Swanstone. These surfaces are durable, water-resistant, easy to clean, non-porous, and even resistant to mold and bacteria. And nicks or scratches can be sanded away. Disadvantages include the problem of handling hot pots on the surface, high cost, and excessive weight requiring a strong cabinet base (similar to natural stone.) Some do not like the plastic or “fake” of the material, but the material has it. A wide range of colors to choose from.

Replacing the kitchen countertops is only one step in the goal of remodeling the kitchen, but it is considered the biggest step by many. You can really make a statement about your kitchen and home with the right choice of countertop materials. Of course, if you take care of the old counters that came with the house, it will definitely make up for the old cabinets, flooring, and appliances! It’s all just part of the process of increasing the value of your property.

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