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A Quick Guide To Different Types Of Countertops

Updated on August 17, 2015

A walk through the different types of countertops

The perfect countertop design and material can either make or break the overall appearance of your kitchen. They come in many different types, colors and textures that are both beautiful and functional. Below are some of the best and most popular countertop materials.

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-- Natural Stone Countertops

Description and features:Natural stone countertops are by far one of the most popular types. They are made from actual stone slabs mined from the earth and curved into different shapes for the countertop. The most popular stones used include granite, marble, soapstone and Jerusalem stone. Natural stone countertops give the kitchen an exquisite and modern look with their mild yet glossy appearance

Pros:

  1. Natural stone countertops are available in many different colors making them suitable for any theme you choose to go with.
  2. They are soft and offer a nice surface for kitchen work for example dough kneading.
  3. They are strong and durable as long as they are kept dry.
  4. They are stylish and compatible with most design themes.
  5. Adds property value to your home in case you ever have to sell it in future.

Cons:

  1. They are porous meaning that they soak up water or any form of moisture.
  2. Natural stone countertops stain easily.
  3. They are not water proof and therefore required to be sealed at least once a year.
  4. Natural stone countertops can be dented or chipped especially when they have soaked up moisture.


-- Solid Surface Countertops

Description and features:Solid surface countertops are a great alternative to traditional natural stone countertops. They are man-made and are created using acrylic, corian or a mixture of both materials. These make the solid surface countertop durable and resilient.

Pros:

  1. Solid surface countertops are heat resistant.
  2. They do not require sealing.
  3. They last for long without the need to renovate or fix.
  4. They are available in many different and attractive colors and patterns.
  5. They are waterproof and repel moisture.
  6. Are renewable and easy to repair.
  7. Solid surface countertops are stain proof and resistant to scratches.

Cons:

  1. Solid surface countertops are expensive to buy and to install
  2. It a synthetic look which is not ideal for natural themes.

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-- Plastic Laminate Countertops

Description:Do not be confused by the name into thinking that this countertop type is made of plastic. Plastic laminate is made by treating special paper material with resin then subjecting to extreme heat and pressure. The result material is referred to as Formica. The resin give characteristic color and design patterns as well as reinforcing the strength or the material. The plastic laminate countertop are layered with a waterproof surface and an absorbent base. It is a low maintenance and affordable countertop material option.

Pros:

  1. It is available in many different colors, textures and pattern designs offering shoppers a wide variety.
  2. Plastic laminate countertops are durable.
  3. They are cheap to design, purchase and install.

Cons:

  1. It is easily damaged by heat and excessive force.
  2. If water makes it to the bottom layer, it reacts with the material there causing it to swell and giving an unattractive bumpy look.

-- Stainless Steel Countertops

Description and features:If you were to pay a visit to any professional kitchen such as that in a restaurant, you are very likely to find stainless steel countertops. It is a great option if you want your own kitchen to have that modern and professional look and feel. The stainless steel is flexible and can be adjusted to suit whatever shape or design that you desire. It is important to note that the type used in professional kitchens in usually not similar to that used in domestic counterparts mainly because of size.

Pros:

  1. It gives the kitchen a nice and clean beautiful appearance.
  2. Stainless steel countertops add property value to your home if and when you will sell it.
  3. It is easy to clean as the surface is smooth.
  4. Can be customized to suit your desired shape and design.

Cons:

  1. Stainless steel countertops are very expensive.
  2. It is high maintenance.
  3. When it scratches the marks are visible and deforming and could allow formation of rust.

-- Ceramic Tile Countertops

Description and features:Ceramic tile countertops are the best way to go when you are on a low budget. The tiles are affordable and readily available in many different colors and patterns. Unlike other countertops that are in the form of slabs, these come in individual units that are fixed one at a time on the desired surface. This is great because you don’t have to replace the entire countertop in case there is damage to one part.

Pros:

  1. They are the cheapest countertop types available.
  2. Installation is very easy and one can usually do it for themselves.
  3. There is a wide variety of colors and designs to choose from.
  4. They are strong and durable.

Cons:

  1. The space between the tiles is a collecting pool for dirt and moisture.
  2. The seams between the tiles cause discontinuity that can be unattractive and inconveniencing.

-- Wood Countertops

Description and features:Wooden countertops are a daring but highly rewarding option. Unlike all the others on this list, they are always warm to the hand and this makes them perfect for cold weather regions and homes where there are children. The wood can either be curved out as a whole slab from the source or small pieces glued and pressed together to form the slab. It is then colored and polished for a nice and shiny look.

Pros:

  1. Wood is warm and gives the kitchen a cozy feel.
  2. It blends well with both wooden and glass cabinets.
  3. Wood countertops are affordable and worth every count.

Cons:

  1. Wood is high maintenance material and needs to be regularly polished to maintain glow.
  2. Can be scorched when hot objects are placed on it.
  3. Limited color palate and design options.

-- Concrete Countertops

Description:Concrete countertops are not very common but do have their fair share of fans. They are made using basic concrete mixtures that are modified by physically reinforcing using tougher materials such as fiber glass. The countertop application is by pouring the mixture into an enclosed template space and allowing it to dry. After it has dried it is filed for smoothening and painted to improve aesthetic appeal.

Pros:

  1. They are hand-made end extremely flat.
  2. Concrete countertops are smooth.
  3. Good quality concrete is fairly affordable.
  4. It is available in many different colors and patterns and adjustable to fit any kitchen theme.
  5. Concrete is flexible and can be decorated using carvings.
  6. Can be reinforced using wire mesh and fiber glass to making it stronger and more resilient.
  7. The wet poring allows you to have the concrete countertop in any shape you wish.

Cons:

  1. It is applied as a wet mixture and requires several weeks to harden and this is an inconvenience.
  2. Needs to be sealed regularly to prevent stain formation and absorption of moisture.
  3. It cracks easily under pressure and extreme heat conditions.

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After all is said and done, the choice of countertop type is all yours. Their demand makes them fairly affordable. This allows you to have your dream kitchen whether you are building your own home or renovating an old one.

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