A Guide to Buying Countertops Part II
Once you have read Part 1 of A Guide to Buying Countertops you will be ready to start exploring your surface options! This is an exciting part of your home remodel because you are able to choose a combination of materials that will showcase your personal tastes. Here are 7 common materials and their key characteristics and need to knows:
-Quartz is a man-made material created with resin and quartz chips tinted with color. It comes in many variations and colors, but we suggest steering clear of slabs that appear engineered or unnatural. Quartz counters are sturdy; they stand up to heat, stains, knives, and do not require a protective seal. It is also susceptible to chipping, so consider having it installed with rounded edges, and hire a professional to fix any chips that occur.
-Granite is a beautiful and classic material that can be purchased in a variety of colors. It is heat resistant, will not stain with a seal, and can stand up to knives. Granite must be resealed every few years in order to protect it from stains. It is a heavier materials so you will need very sturdy cabinet boxes to support the weight.
-Laminate is made of layers of paper or fabric blended with resin and fused onto wood. It is an excellent choice for a smaller budget. Laminate is easy to clean, resists stains, and is lightweight. A downside to laminate is that water has a tendency to seep through laminate’s seams or between the counter and back splash, weakening the material. Scratches and nicks can’t be repaired, so consider textured finishes that hide imperfections.
-Tile offers the widest selection of colors and patterns in comparison to the other materials, and mixes nicely with other surfaces and styles. It is both inexpensive and easy to install. Tile is heat resistant and holds up against scratches and stains. Although it is prone to chipping, tile is easy to repair when needed. Be sure to buy more tiles than you will initially need so they can be used for future repairs. In addition, the grout will become stained and collect bacteria, so it must be disinfected often.
-Soapstone is unique and has a minimalist appearance. It has a natural, soft look that fits especially well in homes of older styles. Since each slab is distinctive, take the time to find the perfect one for you. Although it is easily scratched and nicked, it can be repaired. Soapstone withstands heat and needs to be periodically finished with mineral oil. Be careful with your glassware and china on this surface; the roughness of soapstone can scratch these materials. This surface will age along with you as it evolves and darkens with time.
-Maple and teak are the common woods used for butcher blocks. This surface looks warm and organic and is especially useful for food preparation like chopping vegetables. Knives will scratch the surface, but the rustic and warn look adds to butcher block’s charm. It is prone to heat damage and scrapes, and should be treated regularly with mineral oil or bee’s wax. Bacteria can collect within the scrapes, so be sure to disinfect the material often. Humidity can make the wood swell, so it shouldn’t be installed near a dishwasher or sink. The most common and logical way to use a butcher block in your home is as an island; combine this surface with another material around the perimeter of your counter, such as soapstone or tile.
-Marble is a striking and classic material. Each slab looks unique with distinctive veining, allowing you to purchase a slab with just the right amount of veining for you. Small nicks and scratches can be polished out, but be aware that they occur easily. Marble must be sealed periodically as it is susceptible to stains. It is cost effective to use marble in small areas like an island, not entire kitchen surfaces. It is also porous, so it should be disinfected regularly.
Make a statement in your home with these counter surfaces! With time and the help of your designer, you will find the material that is the right fit for your family and lifestyle. To get started on the kitchen or bathroom remodel of your dreams, call Zieba Builders Inc. today at 562-439-5294.