Whether you are just replacing your counter top or renovating your kitchen, the counter top is both a practical and visual asset to any home. As you may be aware there are quite a few choices out there! I’ve divided the types of tops that are available into a three part “series”. In this first series, poplular counter top options are described.
Granite - Granite is a natural stone from around the world which is made up of igneous rock. Although originally considered a luxury product for your home (and priced accordingly), granite prices have decreased considerably in recent years. This stunning, natural material is cool to the touch – great for baking. As granite is a natural material and patterns/colours can vary greatly from slab to slab, I recommend that you personally select your slabs for your kitchen – thus ensuring that you know what you are getting. Keep in mind that granite does require some maintenance as granite counter tops need to be resealed every year or two.
Quartz – Quartz is a manmade stone which is comprised of 93% natural quartz combined with polymer resins and pigments. Brand names include CaesarStone, HanStone, Cambria, SileStone & Zodiac. Quartz prices are similar to that of a mid-range granite. Quartz is non-porous, maintenance free (no sealing required), stain resistant, scratch resistant, heat resistant and is available in a wide range of colours. Bleach and acetone can damage the … finish on quartz surfaces.
Solid Surface – Solid Surface counter tops are comprised of 100% acrylic and is available is a large range of price levels. Brand names include Corian and Staron. Price point is determined by colour and pattern. A very general rule of thumb is that solid colours are less expensive than counter tops with lots of pattern. The number one advantage to using a solid surface counter top is that it is 100% non-porous making this material popular in heath care applications. Stain resistancy, inconspicuous seams/joints and the fact that the material is repairable round up its advantages. Solid surface counter tops do scratch easily, however scratches can be repaired through sanding and polishing. The material has a “plastic like” appearance and therefore may not be suitable in some residential applications.
Plastic Laminate – Plastic laminate is a high pressure decorative laminate which is applied to a particle board substrate. Brand names include Wilsonart, Formica and Arborite. This is your most economical option with hundreds of patterns to choose from. The surface is not heat resistant, water resistant nor scratch resistant. The seams/joints are susceptible to water damage.
Stay tuned for the next series detailing alternate stone tops (stone other than granite).