Closing out the breakdown of the endless possibilities for kitchen counter materials, we take a closer look at some interesting alternatives that may have some drooling for that unique and custom look. Having seen some of these options like stainless steel and concrete myself, I know my wish list is growing!
A chef’s dream, a butcher block looks and acts like a wood cutting board.
Upside: Easy to cut on but leaves scratches
Downside: water and heat damage is an issue so a smaller area for butcher block may be considered; scratches and cuts will be noticeable but can be reduced by treating with mineral or linseed oil periodically and can possibly be sanded out depending on thickness.
Cost: Expect $40-150 psf
Ideal for a clean, industrial look and blends well with most any color given its neutrality. This surface is alloy steel that contains a dash of chromium to make it rust-resistant. Stainless steel is typically attached to plywood decking to provide strength and deaden its sound.
Upside: heat and water resistant; easy to maintain.
Downside: Scratches and cuts are not repairable so you shouldn’t cut on them. Plus, they can be noisy and dent if banged with a pot if they are not supported properly.
Like stainless steel, copper can give a polished look to your kitchen. Copper is much softer than stainless steel and can warp or dent. Scratches are considered part of the patina, so you don’t need to worry about them. Over time, copper will change color so you’ll need to polish it or embrace the new shade.
Cost: $85-200 psf
New Trends to watch:
Tempered glass counter tops mix function and fashion and give kitchens a modern look. Consider a bar top or as a back-splash to minimize maintenance but retain the fashionable look.
Upside: Available textured, sandblasted, etched or grooved, glass is sanitary since it’s non-porous
Downside: Though it’s easy to clean it may be hard to keep it looking spotless and free of scratches. Glass is heat resistant and water resistant but can crack if something is dropped.
Cost: $60-300 psf
It may sound like something out of Bedrock, but concrete is practical and versatile. It is easy to shape to any custom layout since it is cast on site. Made entirely of natural materials, this hardened mixture of water, cement, sand, stone and pigment and gaining popularity.
Upside: Heat, scratch and crack-proof; can be finished in any color, texture or style.
Downside: Some types may be expensive and requires regular sealing to resist water and staining. Newly poured counters are more sensitive to heat damage so curing time is important.
Cost: $80-150 psf
If you missed the first parts:
Continuing our review of the vast options available for kitchen counter top materials, let’s take a closer look at solid surface, tile and laminate.
Corian: A trademarked brand of solid surface material, this type of counter is made of solid synthetic sheets formed by mixing a mineral compound with polyester and/or acrylic resins and is color consistent
Upside: custom-made to fit your space; any nicks and scratches can be sanded out and is stain-resistant. Available in a wide range of colors, textures and patterns
Downside: Can be expensive; doesn’t have the same look and feel as natural stone. May crack when exposed to hot pots, will stain or scratch but can be scrubbed or sanded out
Cost: About $40-$90 per square foot.
Itching to update your kitchen with new counter tops? The choices are plentiful with many new exciting trends to watch. To help make the process less intimidating and more rewarding later, I believe it is important to first ask yourself some questions about the types of surface choices and how they may suit your needs.
9 Questions you should ask yourself to ensure a perfect match for your new kitchen counter top surface:
1) Feel: Do you want your counter to be smooth vs textured?
2) Appearance: Do you desire a solid or consistent color vs more natural that has granules, veining or that’s patterned?
3) Material: Do you want a natural vs manmade material?
4) Durability: Can I chop, slice, and dice directly on my counter tops?
5) Water resistance: Will I want to roll dough directly on them?
6) Heat Resistance: Can I set hot pots directly on them?
7) Stain Resistance: Can I spill lemon, orange juice or red wine on them?
8) Maintenance: Do I have the time and diligence to reseal them routinely?
9) Do I want an integral sink that matches the countertop?
Over the next few days, I’ll be discussing the various choices in surface types, along with the pros and cons of each including projected costs. In the meantime, please feel free to ask a question or provide feedback.