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Materials Overview for Kitchen Countertops

During a home improvement project, you may simply want to exchange a part of a room, like the kitchen countertop, for something that goes better with your house colors or a different material, such as granite. There are so many materials that are available for kitchen countertops to provide more contemporary looks, functional or timeless appeal. Of course, many of these materials have their own advantages as well as disadvantages. With this guide, hopefully you can pick the right material for your home remodel project based on these different aspects, including characteristics and price.

Laminate

 

There are so many choices for color with laminate. You can pick from a variety of patterns as well. The other benefit of laminate is its inexpensive and yet durable nature. The kitchen is also an area of liquid dangers, like spills and sink splash, but laminate is water-resistant. The only things that are drawbacks include irresponsible application or fire hazards. If cut or burned, laminate will need to be replaced. Laminate will also separate from backing if not applied correctly. You can clean laminate with a sponge or nonabrasive cleanser. Usually the price range is between $10 and $20 per linear foot.

Tile

 

With a neverending supply of colors, designs and textures, tile is a common choice for any kitchen countertop. You can find tile in stone, metal, glass or ceramic. Standard tile is relatively inexpensive and durable, with scorch proof surfaces and easy to clean characteristics. One disadvantage is with grout, which could deteriorate or discolor over time. Tiles may also crack or contain bacteria if not sealed properly. You can sponge clean with any household cleanser, but you should avoid overusing harsh abrasives. Tile ranges in price from $35 to $80 per linear foot depending on the tile selection.

Marble

 

If you're looking for a very aesthetically pleasing solution, marble is an option and a beautiful one. Traditionally, marble is used for pastry tables. It is also very durable. There are some reasons why the average kitchen won't have marble countertops. The materials are relatively expensive, but not only that, marble is easily stained, porous, acid foods can discolor stone and will require periodic upkeep such as resealing. You can wipe clean and seal with salad oil or commercial sealant. Marble is about $40 to $70 per square feet.

Granite

 

In a home improvement, granite is the option to take a kitchen or bathroom to the next level and add that much more value to the home. Granite comes in many different colors and patterned stone options. It is heat resistant, hard, durable and beautiful. Granite is also relatively expensive and susceptible to grease stains. It does require periodic resealing, which means a lot of high maintenance upkeep. You can wipe clean granite surfaces relatively easily. Granite is also $60 or more per square feet.

Synthetic Stone

 

There are definite appealing characteristics to synthetic stone. For one, it is another aesthetically pleasing countertop material. It is similar to granite but also has additional colors. Synthetic stone is also easy to maintain, as well as resistant to stain and acids. The only drawback for many is the cost. You can clean synthetic stone with a sponge and mild cleanser. Synthetic stone runs about $60 or more per square feet.

Solid Surfacing

 

Solid surfacing refers to materials like Corian. You can find these items at home improvement stores. Solid surfacing is very beneficial because it is non-porous, seamless, cleans easily, good for custom applications, low maintenance and there are a range of colors and patterns available. However, it is expensive and requires a professional installation. It can also be scorched or stained. You can clean solid surfacing with a mild cleanser and minor scratches can be removed by buffering with an abrasive pad. Solid surfacing is about $100 to $150 per linear foot.

Concrete

 

If you are looking for a versatile surface, then concrete is definitely an option for you. Concrete can be shaped and colored in any number of ways. Materials are also relatively inexpensive. Professional installation, however, is the expensive part about concrete. Concrete is also susceptible to cracking and needs to be resealed periodically. It is also very heavy and susceptible to staining. You can wipe concrete with a sponge and mild cleanser, but you will need to reseal regularly with wax or sealant. Concrete costs about $200 to $300 linear foot.

Stainless Steel

 

Sleek, modern kitchens will absolutely require stainless steel countertops. It also comes with easy care and multiple patterns that can be etched into the finish to make it more custom. Stainless steel is also waterproof and scorchproof. Stainless steel does have some minor drawbacks, including its cost, noise and durability as stainless steel can be dented. You can also wipe clean stainless steel countertops. The cost depends on the fabrication and edge finish. Custom fabrication costs about $300 to $500 per linear foot.

Wood

 

All natural kitchens need a little bit of wood, and that's where wooden countertops really shine. There are handsome and natural in appearance. You can always sand down wooden surfaces and refinish. Unfinished maple is a traditional kitchen work surface. However, wood does have the most disadvantages. It is susceptible to water damage, stains easily, hot pans can burn surfaces, and raw meat or other questionable food preparation can lead to traces of salmonella and other bacteria. For unfinished surfaces, you can use a natural mineral oil weekly, then sand and refinish any stains and burns. For finished surfaces, clean with a damp cloth and a mild cleanser. Wood will cost about $50 or more per linear foot.

Amy Wright
Christina
Amy Wright is the Lead Editor of Remodeling Central. When she isn't playing with her dogs she is trying to remodel a classic Chicago style brownstone with her husband.

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