Ideally, countertops will resist damage from heat, cold, acid burns, cuts, salt, water and various types of stains — and be easy to clean and maintain. It’s a tall order to fill, but a variety of choices are available these days that meet many, if not all, of those requirements.
Plastic Laminate And Ceramic Tile
These materials have long been popular choices because of their relatively low cost and easy installation. Laminates now come in many designs, including granite look-alikes. This variety makes it easy to coordinate a laminate top with wood cabinetry, metal details and other custom features. It is, however, susceptible to burns and scratches. And because laminate is not a solid surface, replacement may be necessary if damage occurs.
Ceramic tile has a classic look about it, provides a durable surface, and offers great variety in color and design. On the down side, its uneven surface makes it harder to keep clean, especially in the grout joints. Acrylic sealers have been developed to help resist grout staining.
Countertops of solid-surface materials (e.g., Corian®) have become a popular, if more expensive, choice. Because color and pattern run all the way through this material, repairs are possible when damage occurs.
Natural stone (granite is now popular, though expensive), butcher-block wood, stainless steel, poured concrete, and “labtop” (fiber-reinforced cement) are also being used in today’s kitchens. They’ll cost you more but look good and last for decades.
The cost of countertop materials varies greatly from as little as $1 per
linear foot for inexpensive ceramic tile to $150 per linear foot for high-grade stainless steel. Don’t forget to consider the cost of installation, as well, which generally increases with the cost of materials.
Look on www.cbbaker.com and visit some listings to get a view of some of the awesome kitchens. Happy Homeowning!