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Kitchen Counter Tops

Kitchen Counter Tops

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If you think of your new kitchen like a stadium of sorts, your counter tops would be the field of play. It's your kitchen counters, after all, where you prepare your food, stack dishes, place appliances, and, all too often, accidentally leave your keys. Almost universally, kitchen counter tops get A LOT of use, and a lot of abuse, as well. That's why, much like choosing kitchen flooring, you want to be sure to select a counter top material (or materials) that is as durable and stain resistant as it is aesthetically pleasing. You also want to be sure your counter tops work both visually and functionally with your kitchen sink, cabinetry, and appliances. Here's a look at some of the options your can discuss with your home remodeling contractor.

Natural Stone:
Stone countertops certainly tend to be at the front of the pack when it comes to beauty, and most tend to last a long time, as well. However, there are considerable differences between a granite counter top, marble counter top, and a slate or soapstone counter top. Granite is a tough, durable stone that is not very absorbent and requires little resealing, while marble is smoother and slicker, but may require more regular sealing. Once thought of mainly as a roofing material, slate is also becoming an elegant and highly stain resistant option in the kitchen. Each type of stone has its own unique qualities, which makes a combination of different stone countertops a great, although potentially expensive, solution for your kitchen remodel.

Quartz counter top surfaces boast the look of the finest stone with an unmatched stain resistance, strength, and smoothness that a bit of careful engineering helps guarantee. Quartz counters don't even need resealants.

It's the most popular and generally the most affordable type of kitchen countertop out there, and while laminate surfaces won't last as long as stone or other hard surfaces, its synthetic, plastic coating can be designed to take on the appearance of any of those more expensive materials, from quartz to wood or tile.

For an endless variety of potential colors and designs, tile works great for countertops and backspalshes, whether it's made from ceramic, the thicker porcelain, stone, or glass. With a customized, mosaic tile design, you can be sure your kitchen will have a unique look. Again, you can also save money by complementing a tile counter top with an alternate surface or mono-color tile through the rest of the kitchen.

If you're a chef in training or a wannabe butcher, a thick hardwood surface like maple is perfect for preparing that big feast. With sealants, wood is actually quite durable, although it can suffer from water damage. For this reason, a wood counter top is a great idea for your kitchen island, should you choose to have one in your kitchen remodel.

Solid Surface:
Kitchen counter tops constructed from solid synthetic (inside and out) material recreate the appearance of stone with more flexibility in form than real stone or laminate countertops. There are numerous design and color options, of course, and solid surface counter tops are typically less prone to unrepairable damage, since the surface and color is part of one solid block, as opposed to the thin surface layer of a laminate counter top.

Stainless Steel:
Associated with the professional restaurant look, stainless steel gets the job done as a low maintenance, nonporous, metallic counter top. Restaurants use it because its easy to clean and tends to ward off bacteria, and homeowners often choose it to add a little modern sophistication to a new kitchen.

Other Counter Tops:
As kitchen contractors continue to improve their knack for adapting new materials into remodeling projects, more and more types of surfaces are popping up in remodeled kitchens. These days, you might see a glass, lavastone, or concrete countertop in a friend's kitchen, and more types of surfaces are sure to emerge in the near future, as builders develop new ways to create stability and class from a broader array of materials.

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