How to choose the best Kitchen Countertops for your lifestyle
Kitchen Design Trends for New Custom Homes
Stone, stone-look laminate, marble, concrete, tile or solid surface – here’s what you need to know before you tell your NC custom home builder what kind of kitchen countertops to install:
Laminate Countertops – Compare and Contrast Kitchen Countertops
Modern laminate is durable and stain resistant. It comes in a variety of colors and textures, including a look that imitates more expensive materials like granite and marble.
Laminate is one of the least expensive countertops because it can be shaped and molded fairly easily to match the dimensions of your kitchen cupboards. Laminate can also be customized, with hardwood for the backsplash and front edge, without a lot of additional cost.
One downside to laminate is that it can be scratched or burned, and the colors may fade with time. However, mold or bacteria growth isn’t a problem with laminate, so bleach and harsh cleansers aren’t needed for cleanup.
Ceramic Tile Countertops – Compare and Contrast Kitchen Countertops
Ceramic tile costs more than laminate, but just how much you pay depends on type of tile, pattern, and decorative accents.
The versatility of tile can add personality to countertops, but the way the tiles are laid out can also make a difference in terms of how much labor is involved. A horizontal pattern is standard, but other patterns require extra cutting and skill.
Another aspect of tile that makes it stand out is the grout that is used to hold the tile in place. Grout is available in a wide variety of colors that can accent the tiles, and is more stable and longer lasting than in the past.
Tile is scratch and heat resistant, but grout must be sealed regularly to protect it from stains. Grout seal comes in aerosol cans and dries quickly, so it’s easy to apply. When properly sealed, the grout is almost as easy to clean as the tiles, which require only soap and water.
Solid Surface Countertops – Compare and Contrast Kitchen Countertops
Solid surface countertops are made of materials like resin, an acrylic or modified polyester, color pigments, a fire rating filler, and added particles to give the appearance of veins or textures. Corian is a good example of a solid surface countertop. One nice feature of Corian is an option for an integrated, seamless sink.
These kinds of countertops are a mid-priced option, lately higher than granite but lower than quartz, and come in hundreds of colors and finishes that have varying rates of glossiness. Although they are generally resistant to scratching and are typically heat and stain resistant, solid surface countertops such as Corian can be scorched.
Solid surface countertops can be wiped down with a soft cloth. Special cleaners are available that can restore glossiness, and many of these materials can be lightly sanded when scratches appear.
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