Archive for January, 2012

Styles of Kitchen Countertops – The Pros and Cons of Each

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

When it comes to remodeling a home, the heart of the project generally lies in the kitchen. Since most families spend much of their time in the kitchen either cooking, eating or just chatting, a makeover in this room can have a profound effect on the overall appeal of a home. By far, the best way to take your kitchen to the next level is to replace the countertops.

Who Needs New Countertops?

People decide to replace their kitchen countertops for a variety of reasons. Maybe they have suffered stains and general damage over the years. Or perhaps the homeowner just wants to upgrade to a nicer, more modern style. Whatever the reason, before you choose a countertop style surface for your kitchen, you need to know what’s available. Different types and styles of kitchen countertops abound from the simple to the elegant. Each varies not only in cost but also inĀ  benefits and drawbacks. Learning the pros and cons of each available surface will help you pick the right style for your kitchen remodeling project.

Benefits of The Different Countertops Available

Laminate
Laminate is one of the most common countertop styles because it is affordable. Laminate countertops are also popular for their durability. Not only are they water-resistant, but they clean up easily with only a sponge. They are also available in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

 

Laminate Kitchen Countertops

Laminate Kitchen Countertops

Tile
Tile countertops certainly have a lot going for them. They are extremely durable and fire-resistant. They come in a variety of types, including, glass, stone, ceramic, and metal. Not only is this style beautiful, it tends to last, making it a great choice for a kitchen remodeling project.

Tile Kitchen Countertops

Tile Kitchen Countertops

Marble
Installing marble countertops is one of the most exquisite ways to heighten the beauty and class of a kitchen. Everyone can appreciate the beauty of marble, and, additionally, everyone knows it is expensive. So, if class and prestige is what you want your kitchen to radiate, marble countertops are the choice for you.

 

Marble Kitchen Countertops

Marble Kitchen Countertops

Granite
Like marble countertops, granite styles offer a classy, expensive look and a durability that can withstand a respectable degree of punishment. Unlike marble, these types of countertops are available in a wide variety of patterns and designs. So, if you have the money for marble, but don’t like the limitations in design, granite is the next obvious choice.

Granite Kitchen Countertops

Granite Kitchen Countertops

Concrete
Concrete countertops are popular both because they are relatively inexpensive and because of their versatility. Since this surface is created at the time of its installation, it can be shaped and colored in any number of ways. The end result often gives the kitchen an original look that won’t be found in any other home.

Concrete Kitchen Countertops

Concrete Kitchen Countertops

Stainless Steel
This type of countertop is well-liked because of its modern appearance and extreme durability. Besides being water and fireproof, stainless steel is very easy to clean and requires very little maintenance. The surface can also be etched with patterns to give it an original artistic style.

Steel Kitchen Countertops

Steel Kitchen Countertops

Wood
By far the most popular kitchen counter surface, wood offers an attractive, natural appearance at an affordable price. Wood countertops can be installed either as finished or unfinished depending on the preference of the homeowner. Many prefer the warm atmosphere provided by wood countertops over the cold modern look of stainless steel. This type of surface offers a good balance between beauty and affordability.

Wood Kitchen Countertops

Wood Kitchen Countertops

Risks or Negatives of The Different Countertops Available

Laminate
Although, they are affordable, laminate countertops do have a couple of drawbacks. For one, any damage to them is difficult to conceal. So, if any harm comes to them, they generally need to be replaced. Also, they do sometimes crack and separate, making them look a little cheap.

Tile
As previously mentioned, tile is beautiful and durable. However, it is relatively expensive depending on the surface area of the countertops. Tiles can also harbor bacteria from vegetables and meats if they are improperly sealed, and they do occasionally crack from time to time.

Marble
Although, they are beautiful, marble countertops have some considerable drawbacks. Besides being very expensive, marble countertops require higher maintenance. Since they are porous, there is a danger that they can be stained by common grease and oils. It is for this reason that these types of countertops have traditionally been used for pastry kitchens only. However, if you choose to add them to your kitchen, you must seal and reseal them often to keep them looking new.

Granite
Granite countertops have the same basic drawbacks as marble ones. Not only are they expensive, they are also porous and must be sealed often to avoid potential staining. Also, since they are made of stone, acidic foods like limes and lemons can actually etch the surface causing undesirable markings and patterns. For those who want the classy look of marble or granite, but not the headache of the extra maintenance required, synthetic stone countertops may be the answer. Not only do they provide a similar look to actual granite surfaces, they are easier to clean and won’t stain.

Concrete
Although, a concrete countertop surface is inexpensive, the professional installation can be pricey. Also, like marble and granite surfaces, concrete countertops must be re-sealed often. This type of countertop is also extremely heavy and can be susceptible to cracking.

Stainless Steel
Although, stainless steel is durable, it’s not indestructible. Dents can happen, and when they do, they can seriously damage the overall appearance of the countertop. Also, this surface can be expensive and the clattering of pots and dishes against it can be a little noisy.

Wood
Since wood countertops are so much cheaper than other types of countertops, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that there are several downsides to the surface. Not only are they susceptible to water damage, they can also be stained and burned quite easily. Furthermore, unfinished wood countertops can easily soak up bacteria like salmonella and E coli. So, cutting boards must be used in food preparation.