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Choosing Kitchen Counter Tops

Nov 30, 2007
There are many material options to choose from when building a new home or remodeling an existing kitchen.

Granite is the latest trend in counter tops. Once available only to the wealthy due to the expense, the cost of granite has decreased in the past several years and has become more affordable to the middle class and is finding its way into more and more homes. This all natural stone is polished to a reflective sheen and gives a sophisticated feel to any kitchen.

Granite is sometimes difficult to work with. It is a natural stone, and it is therefore, not identical in color or pattern to any other piece of granite. Only an expert can successfully match different pieces to cover large areas or when aligning two pieces. It must be sealed on a regular basis to prevent it from being stained by foods or liquids. Granite also does not withstand heat and hot pots should never be placed on it. This material must be installed only by a professional.

Ceramic tiles have been used for centuries. This is perhaps the one counter top material that can be installed by the owner. They come in many different sizes, styles, and colors. Ceramic tiles can be mixed or matched to create interesting patterns and even to create a picture. Ceramic is heat resistant and is an excellent choice for use in a kitchen. There are only a couple of deterrents to using ceramic. The grout is easily stained and will mold in areas that has a lot of moisture. Impacts and slightly uneven surfaces will cause the tiles to crack. Over all ceramic tiles are easy to maintain or replace if needed.

Formica is another type of counter top material that has withstood the test of time. It is available a huge variety of colors and patterns. It can be purchased in large sheets and cut to fit. This material is relatively inexpensive and can be installed by the average person, but one should be very careful when cutting to prevent mistakes. Formica does not withstand heat and will have a melted appearance when anything hot is placed on it. If water seeps under it, it will swell the wood beneath it will buckle up and clack the Formica.

Stainless steel can be used for a kitchen by someone who wants an industrial look. It is expensive and must be professionally installed. This is perhaps the easiest material to care for. It can be wiped clean and disinfected. Stainless steel does not absorb liquids and is stain, germ, and heat resistant.

Concrete has recently come on the scene as an alternative to granite. It can be colored to suit the consumer and is very durable. It requires very little maintenance and withstands heat. Concrete is sealed and is resistant to germs. It will stain and any type of colored food or liquids should be cleaned immediately.
About the Author
Dror Klar is an advocate and writer about top quality Jerusalem Stone and Granite. learn more about his sites
jerusalem stone and California Granite
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