The kitchen countertop is a huge part of our everyday lives. From fixing our first morning cuppa to late night snacks and cooking up a storm for our loved ones, it is one of the most frequently-used areas around our homes. In a modern kitchen where an open concept is popular, the countertop may also play the role of a casual workstation. With the myriad of choices available today, it is important to gather as much information as you can before committing to a long-term relationship with a countertop that will define your kitchen space.
Here’s a list of materials which will guide you in choosing the countertop companion best suited for your kitchen space, design, and lifestyle.
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An extremely popular choice, granite countertops are formed by natural processes and come in a variety of colours and patterns. This heavyweight contender is extremely durable; it can withstand scratches, heat, and water damage from daily kitchen use. It is a material that is easy to clean and requires little need for maintenance. Though, annual sealing is necessary to maintain its stain-resistant feature. Feed your artistic soul as no two slabs of granite are exactly the same, making your countertop one-of-a-kind!
Note! Granite choices are usually darker in shades and colours.
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Quartz countertop material is a mix of the hardy natural mineral together with binding resins or polymers in a nine-to-one ratio. Simply put, it is an ‘engineered stone’. Despite its origins, quartz countertops can retain a natural look and the material’s uniformity makes it easier to hide seams during installation. Its biggest appeal, by far, is durability. It is extremely hard and durable, scratch-and-stain-resistant, does not require sealing, has a wide range of colours, and is a darling to clean.
On the flipside, it is not as heat-resistant as granite, though there’s nothing to worry if you avoid placing temperatures above 200°C directly on the countertop surface.
- Solid Surface
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Made from synthetic materials like polyester resins, acrylic and pigments, solid surface countertops offer a whole host of customisation options, including colour, pattern and finish. You can achieve a fluid countertop design, and opt to make it resemble other materials such as copper, granite and sand. Due to its non-porous characteristic, germs and stains will not set in. Any damage can be easily buffed and sanded away, leaving no annoying joint lines or seams to contend with.
That said, you really shouldn’t put hot pots and pans directly on the surface, or slice a knife across it.
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You’ve hit jackpot in this one, for those who are budget-conscious. Post-form is a thin sheet of synthetic plastic laminate glued to a base material such as plywood. Since the material is relatively easy to manufacture, they are readily available in large quantities, making the countertop more affordable than many of the materials mentioned. The laminate comes in hundreds of finishes; hence it is possible for this countertop option to look classy and high-end despite its price-tag.
The downside of this material is its relative weakness to scratches and heat. On a positive note, it can be replaced easily, and proper usage and some tender-loving care will make this kitchen countertop last for quite some time. However, post-form is losing its lustre and is no longer the popular kitchen countertop choice.
- Kompac Top
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What’s in this mysterious name? Well, this ‘new kid in town’ is made of recycled paper, compacted with resins to produce a lightweight, slim, yet hard composite. It is sure to be a hit with home owners who are conscious of their carbon footprint. The versatile and eco-friendly contender is waterproof, steam-proof, non-porous and easy to clean.
Generally a resilient material, Kompac tops do not sit well directly under high-temperature cookware. It is currently only available in a small variety of finishes, leaning towards earthy styles such as wood and stone.
The plethora of options out there can be a whirlpool for many aspiring home-owners or those who are looking to give their kitchen a new facelift. Before you take the leap, check off these questions!
- What is my budget?
- What are my usage habits?
- Is it easy to maintain?
- How does it fit in with the rest of my home design?
A good interior designer will be able to recommend the most suitable countertop for your specific needs, and guide you through this important decision-making process.