Countertops- Making your selection easy
For many people the kitchen is their favourite room in the house. After all, it is the place where delicious meals are created. And if you’re a food lover or like to cook, chances are you spend a lot of time in this room.
Just like your food shouldn’t be bland and tasteless, neither should your kitchen.
There are many things you can do to ‘spice up’ your kitchen area whether it’s a small, modest space or a large, spacious room.
One of the simplest changes or additions you can make is to your countertops.
Why bother, you might ask.
Well apart from enhancing the look of your kitchen, experts say the right countertop type and design can greatly increase the resale value of your home.
Bathroom countertops are equally as important. The choice you make can transform a plain, boring bathroom into one with character and “pizzazz”.
So how do you choose the right countertop?
TriniHelper is here to make your choice easier.
Types of countertops
There are many options in countertop material on the market. So it can be a daunting task to choose just one.
Some things you have to consider are ease of maintenance, ease of installation and, of course, price.
Marble is less expensive than granite but still comes at a hefty price. Though just as beautiful as granite, there are more drawbacks to this material.
Marble requires frequent maintenance and cleaning as it can stain easily. It requires regular sealing to prevent fluids from absorbing into the porous material and it scratches easily.
It is a very heavy material so if placed on cabinets, the cabinets must be strong and sturdy enough to withstand the weight.
It is heat proof and, with proper care, can last a lifetime.
Quartz is described as one of the hardest minerals on earth. So countertops made from this material are guaranteed to be lasting and strong. Also called engineered stone, quartz can mimic the look of marble countertops but it is a non-porous material and is more resistant to scratching.
Unlike granite and marble, quartz countertops do not require sealing, making it the easiest to maintain.
There aren’t many drawbacks to this material apart from its costliness.
One of the more costly options is granite. While expensive, granite is a popular material for countertops because of its sleekness and durability. Granite tends to last longer than other countertop materials, an average of over 100 years.
It is a very hard material often compared to the strength of diamond.
It is resistant to scratches so if you chop your veggies on the surface, you won’t have to worry about damaging your countertop.
Granite is also great at absorbing heat, so you can safely place your hot pans or in the case of bathrooms, a hot curling iron, on the countertop without worrying about heat damage.
It is also resistant to staining and if installed and sealed properly, will not absorb liquids. Spills can be easily cleaned. Granite countertops are easy to maintain and will require sealing once every 10 years or so.
The only drawback to this material is it can dull knives if you regularly cut or chop foods directly on the surface.
Of course, in these economic times, you may not be willing to splurge on granite, marble or quartz countertops.
If you want to save on the expense but still have attractive, sleek countertops, ceramic tile is among the most inexpensive options there is.
The benefits to ceramic tile are endless. There’s a wide range of colours and patterns to choose from so you are guaranteed to find something to suit your style.
Ceramic tile takes heat well and is light weight so you need not worry about the sturdiness of your cabinets.
But this material is susceptible to chipping and cracking. If you accidentally drop a heavy pot on it, it can damage easily and cannot be fixed.
Grout lines in between tiles can become stained or dirty and look unattractive. Particles of food may become stuck between the tiles, making it difficult to clean. This needs regular cleaning to maintain its look.
Laminate is a plastic coated synthetic material that is lightweight and affordable. It is easily installed and easily maintained. This material is relatively durable and you don’t have to worry about grout lines or staining.
But laminate can chip and crack easily and is near impossible to repair if this happens. Chipped of cracked laminate countertops will have to be entirely replaced as it is not possible to repair a single section.
This material is not heat resistant and can melt or distort under direct heat. With proper care, however, laminate countertops can last many years.
Wood may not be the most popular choice for countertops but this material can give your kitchen a rustic, earthy look.
The major benefit of this type of countertop is that it can be sanded and resealed ever so often to smooth out imperfections.
But wood can become damaged over time with constant exposure to moisture. It will require regular sealing to prevent water absorption.
Stainless steel countertops are popular in restaurant kitchens all over the world due to its virtual indestructibility. Stainless steel does exactly what its name implies and is resistant to stains.
It is waterproof and heatproof and considered to be the most hygienic surface due to its resistance to bacteria, mold and other household germs. Not to mention, with a neutral, silver colour, it will blend in with any design.
But stainless steel has its drawbacks too. This material will scratch easily and can be dented, if you’re not careful. Stainless steel tends to show smudges and fingerprints more visibly so be prepared to clean more often.
When you think of concrete, you may be picturing cement-coloured, rough material. But concrete can give granite and marble a run for their money. Concrete is known to be lasting and durable, after all homes and buildings are made from this material.
But concrete can also be beautiful and exotic when stained, polished and installed as a countertop.
Concrete countertops are rising in popularity because of their toughness and resistance to wear and tear. It won’t scratch easily and is heat resistant. But it will require more maintenance, regular sealing to keep out moisture and can be costly to install.
Solid surface is a relatively low-maintenance material made from stone pieces, acrylic, resin and other chemicals.
The resulting material is used to form sheets for countertops and is versatile and durable. It is a great substitute for real stone or wood but unlike stone and wood, it is non-porous and stand up to moisture.
It can scratch or become damages but these flaws can be sanded out easily to restore your countertop to a pristine look. It is easily cleaned and stain-resistant.
This material is however not heat resistant and direct heat may result in distortion or discoloration.
When choosing the best countertop for your home, all these factors must be taken into consideration. Ask yourself can I afford it? Will it last? Am I willing to do what it takes to maintain it? How often must it be maintained? Once these questions are answered and you choose a design or pattern that appeals to your personal tastes, you can move forward with your project worry-free.
So when you are ready to add your countertop or upgrade your existing one, get in touch with us at TriniHelper, we would be happy to send over one of our professional installers to give you an estimate.