If you haven’t shopped building and reno materials in a while, you may be surprised to learn about all the new various options. Whether you want to dramatically transform your space or if you just want a countertop to function for years to come, choosing will be an important decision. And of course you will need to factor in price, durability, food prep needs, style and maintenance.
Here at Home and Living we can suggest the most popular options to help you begin the research and selection process.
Known by such names as Silestone, Caesarstone, Zodiaq by Dupont, and others, these products are made of natural quartz and undergo a fabrication process versus being cut from solid stone. Consumer Reports rates these as a top choice because they are durable, resistant to stains, and easier to maintain than natural stone. This surface does not require sealing as it is not porous—a big plus for many consumers. And other benefits are that they have resistance to chipping, are waterproof and available in a large range of colors with a typical 10 to 15 year warranty.
Granite has been popular for many years now because of its natural stone beauty and variation. Each slab is unique with a beautiful depth of color and striations or veining. It is also resistant to heat and scratches, although it is porous and requires sealing and periodical resealing. You will also need to plan your “cut” because color and grain can vary from sample to sample.
Tile has been an affordable option for decades. It is durable, heat resistant and comes in a hug variety of shapes, styles, and colors. Glass tile is the latest darling of often creating very distinctive and breath-taking backsplashes but it is also used flat surface. The draw backs are possible chips, cracks, and grout that can stain. A dark colored grout is an option as well as sealing the other, lighter shades.
Concrete countertops have made a surge in popularity for many good reasons. The pigments can be made for to achieve any color and you can add texture by using glass stone, tile bits or even seashells, to create a one-of-a-kind surface. Like the other concrete in the family, it is hard and not easily chipped. It can however, stain and should be sealed. It may also develop hairline cracks but there are penetrating and topical sealers for protection.
Laminate is still quite popular because of its affordability and wide rang e of color and pattern. It’s often created to mimic the high-end look of stone, limestone and dozens of other products. Laminate is actually layers of paper or fabric impregnated with resin over composition wood. You will need to make edging choices as well. Consumer’s Reports gives this material excellent ratings for stain and heat resistance. And although it is easy to clean, it can also be scratched and burns or chips are not fixable or, at least, easily fixed.
If you’ve hears the name Avonite or Corian, these are solid surface materials made from acrylic or polyester resins in combination with mineral fillers. It presents a seamless look when installed and any minor scratches or discolorations can be sanded or repaired because the fabrication is true throughout.
Unusual, sleek, pricey and contemporary, stainless steel is the choice of many high-end restaurants. They are heat resistant and easy to clean. The drawback is that the surface can be scratched, dented, is noisy, and prone to fingerprints unless finished to prohibit them.
Popular with consumers, this eco-friendly material is made from recycled glass that is held together with ground placement binder. By either using large shards or finely ground glass, the effect can be altered dramatically. It is of course, non-porous, easy to clean and maintain. Excellent ratings in the resistance area, it is also resistant to cuts and heat—and but it can be chipped or stained however.
This natural stone product has been around for many years. Known previously as a “country kitchen” material it develops a characteristic patina with age and is best when regularly rubbed down with mineral oil. Scratches add character however and the weathered look is in step with what’s hot today. Soapstone is quarried like granite or marble and is impervious to staining; it does not harbor bacteria and stands firm against heat.
A material not widely known or even discussed, lava countertops are functional and good-looking. The stone is glazed with enamel for an impervious, non-porous surface. That also makes them water-resistant. More expensive that granite or marble and every bit as durable.
Reclaimed wood is in a new heyday and furniture made with it as a consequence, can be pricey. Often the wood comes from weathered barns and buildings that are torn down, so it is an eco-friendly option. The surface offers a natural, earthy appeal but, will need to be sealed every so often. And because it is still wood after all, it will be prone to cuts and scratches. Unlike the butcher block tops of the mid-century, these materials look more weathered.
Combine various surfaces such as, the expensive marble in a baking board or use it for making candy. The concrete can be near the sink and Corian can cover an island. Just use each product to fits its best function and avoid the matchy-matchy look of the past.