Atlanta Legacy Homes is a design-build residential construction company specializing in remodeling, new construction of homes in the Atlanta area as well as acquiring, remodeling and managing income properties for our investors. This blog is all about tips, ideas, and innovative approaches for the remodeling division of the company.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Top 10 Countertop Materials
With exposure to water, heat, sharp knives, and more, countertops carry a heavy burden in the kitchen. Discover the pros and cons of each countertop material to help you make the right choice for your kitchen.
Butcher block is the best type of wood to use for kitchen countertops. It can stand up to cooking, cutting, and chopping without dulling knives. And at the same time, butcher block can soften the look and feel of any kitchen.
Butcher Block: Pros & Cons
Pros: -- Simple to install and repair, scratches can be sanded out -- Ideal for cutting or chopping
Cons: -- Requires a food-friendly sealing that must be reapplied periodically -- Demands thorough, prompt cleaning after food preparation and spills -- Vulnerable to moisture and heat
Laminate countertops are inexpensive, easy to clean, and available in the widest range of colors, textures, and patterns. You can even give laminate an upscale look with a sculpted edge treatment such as a classic ogee or sleek beveled edges.
Laminate: Pros & Cons
Pros: -- Versatile and cost-effective counter choice -- Easy soap-and-water cleanup -- Resistant to heat, stains, and scratches
Cons: -- Susceptible to damage from sharp knives and hot pans -- Deep scratches are difficult to repair -- Cannot be repaired if scorched
Stone works for serious cooks because it's durable, colorfast, and resists scorching. Plus, each piece is unique and boasts enduring good looks. The most popular choices include granite and marble. Though it's the most expensive countertop material, you can cut the cost and add texture by using tiles instead of a single slab.
Stone: Pros & Cons
Pros: -- Hard and resistant to heat and scratches
-- Easy to clean if sealed (although marble is susceptible to stains)
-- Increases value of your house
Cons: -- Well-constructed cabinetry needed to hold this heavy material -- Requires frequent resealing for porous stones such as marble or limestone -- Expensive
Solid-surfacing countertops mimic the look of granite, glass, or other stones and boast a softer, warmer feel. This low-maintenance material can also resist damage from heat, moisture, and fading.
Solid-Surfacing: Pros & Cons
Pros: -- Wide variety of colors and design possibilities -- Can be molded into sinks -- Nonporous and resists scorching -- Scratches and stains can be sanded and buffed out
Cons: -- It's almost as expensive as real stone -- Can discolor if hot pots and pans are left in place -- Softer than stone so sharp knives can damage
Quartz-surfacing countertops are made of 93 percent crushed quartz blended with color pigments and plastic resins. Quartz- surfacing can stand in for stone without all the maintenance. Its nonporous surface requires no sealing.
Quartz-Surfacing: Pros & Cons
Pros: -- Available in a larger range of colors than traditional stone countertops -- Resistant to heat, stains, and scratches -- Never needs to be refinished
Cons: -- It's almost as expensive as real stone -- Not quite as natural-looking as real stone
Don't be afraid to move concrete indoors. Concrete is an extremely versatile countertop material. It can take on many different colors, shading, patterns, and sheens to suit any kitchen style. Concrete countertops can be poured in place or fabricated off-site and installed later.
Concrete: Pros & Cons
Pros: -- Can be stained a variety of shades and fashioned to resemble various kinds of stone -- Heat- and scratch-resistant -- It's an extremely durable material
Cons: -- Highly acidic liquids can damage the surface if it's not cleaned immediately after spills -- Requires periodic sealing
Ceramic tile is a popular choice for kitchen countertops because it's water-, stain-, and heat-resistant. Ceramic tiles also comes in variety of styles and colors and can easily mesh with traditional and contemporary styles.
Ceramic Tile: Pros & Cons
Pros: -- Available in a wide variety of colors and styles -- Glazed ceramic tiles are extremely resistant to heat, scratches, and stains -- Easy to keep clean
Cons: -- Can be labor-intensive to install -- Grout can stain or collect food particles so grout lines require periodic cleaning, bleaching, sealing, or regrouting -- Tiles can crack or chip
Glass countertops are durable, versatile, and gaining popularity. Install just a clear top layer to match anycolor scheme or install two layers -- a clear top layer and a textured bottom layer -- to help mask scratches. Give a glass countertop added interest with a decorative edge.
Glass: Pros & Cons
Pros: -- Heat- and stain-resistant -- Easy to clean, just use a window cleaner -- Recycled-glass options (shown here) are eco-friendly
Cons: -- Can chip or break with heavy impact and may scratch -- Requires frequent cleaning -- Could be better used as an accent countertop than as a work surface
Though it's uncommon to see wood countertops -- besides butcher block -- run throughout a kitchen, a wood-topped island or baking center is popular. Using wood countertops for these prep stations adds instant warmth and charm to a kitchen.
Wood: Pros & Cons
Pros: -- Can be made from reclaimed wood for an eco-friendly option -- Surface can be renewed by power sanding -- Long-lasting
Cons: -- Vulnerable to moisture and heat -- Some raw meat or high alkaline fruit and vegetables (e.g. beets, papaya) can cause stains after extended exposure -- Requires a food-friendly sealing that must be reapplied periodically -- Could be better used as an accent countertop than as a work surface
Stainless-steel countertops can be found in kitchens ranging from traditional to contemporary style. Stainless steel can complement any kitchen because it matches many common kitchen appliances. It's perfect around cooktops and ranges where hot pots and pans often land.
Stainless Steel: Pros & Cons
Pros: -- Tough; impervious to stains and high temperatures -- Won't oxidize and develop a patina like other metals -- Doesn't need to be coated with a finish
Cons: -- Shows nicks and scratches; avoid scouring powders -- Needs a solid, firm underlayment or it will dent