How to choose a countertop for your kitchen and not regret the decision
Finding the perfect countertop is complicated since there are many materials with which they are manufactured and all have advantages and disadvantages. Do you know which ones they are?
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Without countertop there is no kitchen. It is a fundamental piece in this room of our houses, since it gives it personality and style. That is why choosing a countertop is something we should devote a lot of time to: Understand the materials, know all the options, their pros and cons, and get an idea of what we want.
In the case of countertops, quality and style are not at odds with the wide range of materials with which it can be manufactured.
In addition, just by changing the countertop from Countertops & More you can give a new look to your kitchen, so if you are looking to renovate it easily, investing in a good countertop can be the perfect solution.
What to consider buying a countertop
Height: Probably one of the most important points to watch, since it has to be located at a correct height to be able to use it comfortably every day. The height will be given by the kitchen furniture, since the countertop will rest on them. The height at which they are usually placed is 90 cm from the ground but may vary depending on your needs.
Length: The longer the countertop, the more expensive it will cost. So take the measures well so that you don’t need an inch or more, since falling short can be just as bad.
Thickness: The thickness of a countertop is usually between 3 and 5 cm, but it can always be greater depending on the material and style we want to give it.
Copete: This is a piece that serves as a finish to the countertop in the part in contact with the wall, so that water, grease or dirt does not slip between them.
Embellishers: When the worktop piece does not end against a wall, a trim is placed on the edge to protect the material from bumps, rubs, etc.
Joints: When the countertop is L-shaped, it is normal to be possible thanks to the union of two pieces by means of a gasket. They are not very pretty and usually accumulate dirt but sometimes there is no choice but to put them with certain materials.
Gaps: The sink and the ceramic hob are usually placed on the countertops. For its installation it is necessary to make holes in the middle and that increases the price. A smooth countertop is not the same as one in which we will have to make these holes.
Cleaning and maintenance: Not all materials are equally suffered. If you are going to cook a lot, it is worth investing in those that are better cleaned, resistant and durable.
Style: In the end, a countertop marks the style of the kitchen. Modern, rustic, more professional … And the material is essential to achieve it.
Budget: It does not have the same price a countertop of a natural material that synthetic, also influences the size, if we need it to have holes, etc. He thinks that it is a long-term investment, since the countertops can last decades well maintain.
You can also customize the shape of the edges or edges in many cases:
- Simple: The countertop ends with a straight cut of the same thickness as the rest of the piece.
- Miter: The edge of the countertop forms a 90º angle that collects furniture or appliances.
- Half-round: Instead of finishing straight as the single edge, the edge is rounded at the top, so that the lower one does have a straight cut.
- Rounded: In this case, the edge is completely rounded, both the upper and lower areas.
- Beveled: Like the half-round song but the straight-shaped song.
- Countertop types according to material
They are two large groups. Countertops made of natural materials or artificial materials.
Countertops made of natural materials
Stone, mineral and wood are the protagonists of this type of countertop.
Natural stone countertops
The stones that are used to make countertops not only mark different aesthetics but each one has its particularities in terms of cleanliness, resistance, durability, etc. In addition, being natural stone its price is higher, but even in that there are differences.
It is one of the best materials to make a countertop. It is resistant to heat, scratches and withstands impacts perfectly. It will last for many years in good condition.
It can have a polished or rough finish, depending on what we like. As for the colors, it depends on the type of granite but the most common and most demanded are the gray and black tones.
As for the dirt, it supports it quite well as long as we prepare the material for it with a hydrophobic and antibacterial treatment. With this, it will be easy and quick to clean.
When ordering a granite countertop you have to take into account that it will be very heavy , so its transport and placement will be difficult and this increases its price. If you want it to be L-shaped or you need a very long countertop, you should probably divide it into parts and use joints in the assembly.
In addition, the weight of granite also makes it essential that the kitchen furniture on which it will rest be resistant and of quality.
Slate countertops for kitchens
It is not a material that is seen in many kitchens and, however, the board is waterproof, heat resistant and supports any cleaning product very well, although being little porous almost maintenance free. It gives a rustic but very elegant touch to any kitchen.
The normal thing when we think of the board is to imagine it in black, but in reality the countertop manufacturers have many more shades such as green, gray or multicolored slate, in which reddish tones are seen.
But as a disadvantage, it is not the most shock resistant material and can be scratched . Therefore, you have to work on it carefully.
Because it is an expensive material, it is seen in few kitchens but in which it is very elegant and classy. It is a very hard and heat resistant material although it can break if it receives a very strong blow.
It can be found in many different colors and it is easy to get a countertop with natural shine if it is polished.
As a defect, it is a porous surface, which means that any substance that falls on it and is not cleaned quickly can be absorbed by the marble. It is especially sensitive to acids, so lemon and vinegar are its “enemies.”
In addition, that natural shine is lost over time and can only be recovered by polishing it again. Therefore, if you want yes or yes marble, consider choosing a matt marble rather than polished to not worry about this.
Soapstone or soapstone countertops
It is another type of veined stone that is a good alternative to granite and marble. Its veins can be quartz or talc. In fact, it is for being formed with part of talc that its surface is very soft , almost velvety, and hence it is known as soapstone.
It is not porous, so it is resistant to dirt and stains without the need to seal it with chemicals. It also resists heat.
The color ranges from a bluish gray to black tones and the veins are from white to yellow tones.
It is a material that can be more expensive than granite but cheaper than marble. In addition, it scratches with some ease but it is easy to repair by sanding the damaged surface.
Lava stone on kitchen countertops
The lava stone, as the name suggests, is extracted from the quarries at the foot of volcanoes such as Etna.
It is very resistant to heat and scratches. It is easily cleaned thanks to its non-porous surface, so it does not absorb stains.
The downside is that it is a very expensive material due to its exclusivity.
Quartz countertops are the result of mixing natural quartz particles and polyester resin.
Therefore it is a very hard and resistant material, easy to clean and available in almost every imaginable color.
While it is true that you have to be careful with direct heat, since it does not support it well and if we leave a hot container on this surface we can damage it.
When we want a rustic touch in the kitchens, the wooden countertop is essential. We can choose from numerous types of wood (walnut, oak, etc.) that will give us different colors and shades. They can be solid wood countertops or veneered with wood, being the first most expensive.
As an advantage it is necessary to know that varnishing it from time to time will always look like new.
But it can be scratched easily and it is better not to leave anything hot directly on its surface. Cleaning should be special, since with a cloth and water we will not get much. And you have to pay attention to the possible cracks that may appear.
The countertops of synthetic materials are also very numerous. Do not think that because they are not natural their prices are far from the previous ones. It will depend on the type of material.
Artificial stone countertops
The biggest advantage of artificial stone is that it can be found in many colors and finishes, be it matt, glossy, satin, plain or mottled, etc. The possibilities are very numerous.
In addition, since it is not a porous material, it is very resistant and easy to clean, more than even granite. It does not scratch and lasts very long in good condition.
The only flaw is that it is better not to put pans or hot pots on it because it could burn when made, in part, with resin.
Laminated or laminated countertops
They are manufactured with chipboard and its surface is covered with a synthetic sheet , so there are many possibilities when choosing its finish. It can imitate stone, wood or be a creative design. For this reason and for its easy installation it is a very economical option.
However, they are not so resistant to heat or dirt, although with a daily cleaning they endure a long time in good conditions.
Synthetic resin countertops
Created with synthetic resin, as the name suggests, these countertops are also a good option if we have a reduced budget. They resist scratches and bumps well and since they are not made of porous material it is easy to clean them and that the stains are not easily marked. They stand up well over time and there are also many models and colors available.
Heat is your enemy, so it is advised not to rest on them at a high temperature such as a tray fresh from the oven, for example.
Stainless steel countertops
If you are looking to give your kitchen an industrial air, the steel countertops will be phenomenal. In fact, they are the ones used in professional kitchens.
They withstand high temperatures perfectly, are very hygienic and easy to clean.
The disadvantages are that it scratches easily and that dirt is immediately visible on them, in addition to fingerprints. But its durability is excellent.
They are not yet seen in many kitchens but the trend will soon change as the porcelain countertops resist the passage of time very well. They do not suffer from direct heat or burn, stains leave no trace, do not scratch and are easy to clean.
This is achieved because it is a combination of stone and glasses that results in this ultra-compact surface. It even perfectly supports chemicals for cleaning.
You will find them imitating wood, stone, plain color , etc., so they can be adapted to the style of any kitchen.
The disadvantage is the price. It is probably the most expensive materials for a countertop.
The glass countertops bring a lot of light to the kitchen when they are light and neutral tones, although we can find them almost any color. For a modern and avant-garde air kitchen it is a fantastic option.
They clean very easily as it is not a porous surface and resists heat very well.
While it is true that it can be scratched, repairing it is very simple . As an inconvenience, the footprints are quite noticeable the darker the color of the glass countertop is and if we want a very large or L-shaped countertop we will need together and they look pretty, making the decorative effect not look so much.
Micro cement countertops
It is a material that withstands shock, is waterproof and is easily cleaned.
Another advantage is that this material can be applied on existing countertops , so it is perfect if we want a change of style. It can cover tiles or countertops of any other type.
Keep in mind that direct heat can damage its surface, so it is better to protect it from it and also clean it quickly when it is stained to prevent any remaining marks.
As you can see, the world of countertops is very wide. You have to take all the details into account but it will undoubtedly be the material you choose that makes the difference in your kitchen.