Your kitchen countertop must wear two very different hats. It has got to be attractive, lest your entire kitchen cease to be attractive itself, yet it has got to be tough enough to soak up a variety of abuse. Attractive and tough — sounds just like a certain guy I see whenever I look in a mirror. But this article isn’t about how great I am. It’s your guide to countertops!
The warm tone of natural wood livens up any kitchen. Butcherblock is available in a variety of patterns and differently colored woods including cherry, walnut, and maple, so it can easily complement any kitchen’s other elements. Butcherblock not only conceals dings and dents, but makes them a part of its charm. It is essential that you regularly oil and reseal butcherblock as time wears on, and letting water sit on it is strictly verboten. Butcherblock isn’t terribly expensive, and an amateur can restore it at any point as well.
A big slab of granite is a beautiful thing. Every one is a unique piece of rock with its own lines and patterns, and depending on its mineral content it can be black, white, red, blue, green, or pink. Take care of a granite countertop and it’ll be the last one you ever buy, but you can still treat it roughly. Plunk a Thanksgiving turkey hot out of the oven on your granite countertop and you’ll have no worries. That said, you can chip granite if your aim is off with the meat mallet, and it’ll be like Club Med for bacteria if it’s not sealed properly. Get a pro to install your granite countertop, if only for your back’s sake.
Want to enjoy a sterling new countertop while leaving your bank account more intact in the process? Laminate countertops are not only friendly to the budget, but are also hearty and able to take on any color or emulate the look of costlier materials. Cleaning laminate is about as straightforward an operation as you could hope for, too. That said, there are limits to laminate’s durability. Knives, hot pots, and cigarettes are all natural enemies to the laminate countertop, so treat yours with tender loving care.
Like granite, any marble countertop is going to be one of a kind. Marble is gorgeous, versatile, heat resilient, and certain to add lasting value to any home it’s installed in. And you get to pay for all of those benefits! Marble makes for a costlier countertop, and furthermore requires regular resealing and can be scratched somewhat more easily than granite. But if you want to prepare dinner on the same surface that Michelangelo’s David is made of, you simply haven’t got an alternative at your disposal.
If you can conceive a tile countertop, you can have it. Available in any color and in nearly any size, tile offers the greatest versatility of all. A tile countertop is durable as well, and if grouted correctly a new one could possibly last you until the American Tricentennial. That would require some effort on your part, however. While modern tile is tough, it’s still apt to chip under unfortunate circumstances, although replacing one tile is a far more savory job than replacing an entire countertop. Care must also be taken to prevent the colonization of bacteria. While tile itself is not costly per se, its tedious installation means you’ll either have to forfeit a lot of free time or engage a professional.
Quartz boasts the strength of a slab of granite, but its suppleness makes it better able to avert cracking and chipping. Because quartz is man-made it is available in virtually any color, and because it is non-porous it will never need resealing and is marvelously easy to clean. However, technology has not yet progressed to the point where quartz can pass for natural stone — your neighbors will know, and they will silently judge you for it. It’s also less able to shrug off the ill effects of a hot pan, and sunlight may eventually fade it.
Resin countertops are inexpensive, yet because they were originally developed for use in laboratories where scientists brew caustic potions they are incredibly resilient to boot. You could pour red wine on your resin countertop all day long and it would suffer no ill effects, although there are more productive uses of your time. Synthetic resin is available in virtually any style, but with so many options on the market singling out a high quality resin countertop can take a bit of legwork. Opt for superior acrylic resin if you can, and ask a pro to help you pick the best countertop for your budget.
It is not recommended that you use fur for your kitchen countertop. It is prohibitively expensive, difficult to clean, and activists might break into your house at night to throw paint on it.
By David Scheller