How to choose a kitchen countertop
It is not underestimation to say that a countertop is one of the principal elements of any kitchen. It should be moisture-proof, strong, durable and withstand food cooking for all the family during many years.
And among all this it should be beautiful too. These days for the most part an integral countertop is used mounted as one piece above several cupboards. It enables to eliminate joints where some liquid and remains of products can get into. As for the materials and colours, their list is endless.
We have chosen for you some widely and not so widely used kinds of countertops. You will be able to find something according to your taste.
Countertops themselves are made ofchipboard or Medium Density Fibreboardwith a solid layer of plastic on top. Basic advantages are as follows: laminate is the most available material for countertops, it is inexpensive and supplied in wide colour palette. But one should handle countertops with care as they can be damaged by a burning hot frying-pan or by scratching. It is also important to wipe it dry, otherwise the material can swell because of constant effect of moisture. If you have chosen a countertop with a mat surface coloured in several shades, then any scratches and spots appearing with time will be less visible than on a monochromatic glossy surface.
Countertops are made of mineral chippings and resins. They are produced in a wide colour palette as differentiated from the countertops of natural stone. Such countertops are lasting, moisture-resistant and solid. None the less the price of these two materials is approximately the same.
Granite is tough and beautiful, with inimitable design and texture. It is diverse in itsnuances and can be black, white, green, beige or coral. There are two versions of surface finishing: one produces a polished, glittering stone, often of dark appearance, and another makes it honed (special finishing leaving some roughness), soft and opague. The price on granite countertops depends on many variables, including colour, surface finish and origin of the stone. Other natural materials such as marble and limestone are softer in comparison with granite and require more care.
Wooden countertops are beautiful, harmless and are very often used in kitchen interiors. They are easily washed, any scratches on their surfaces can be ground off. Water can deteriorate them rather easily, therefore from time to time your countertops should be wiped with oil to produce a protective film on their surfaces.
Concrete countertops are actively gaining their popularity. By adding some pigments to concrete it is possible to give it any colour out of many available. Concrete countertops can have polished or ground surface with veins like in marble, or with additions of small stones and cockle-shells. Sharp differences of temperature can cause their surface deformation, moisture – change the colour, and salt and acids can etch the concrete. Therefore in order to maintain the exterior of countertops it is advisable to treat them using special wax or paste every 2-3 months.
Steel countertops are twice as cheaper than those of artificial stone; countertops of steel are solid, moisture-proof, maintain any temperatures. The only drawback is that with time they can become scratched. Such countertops produce an effect in the interior if your kitchen is arranged in a high-tech style, but it is not at all obligatory. With properly chosen materials and colour of kitchen cupboard fronts, colour of walls, an apron your steel countertop will blend with other styles.
Combine the styles
If you can not decide which countertop to choose, try to mix and combine various surfaces! Just for a change you can use insertions made of different material to perform the specific task, for example, ceramic tile as a surface for cutting. But prior to take a decision you should go to a department store to examine and touch all variants suggested so you could choose just what you want.