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Selecting Countertop Materials With Confidence

Dec 5, 2007
Selecting a material for kitchen and bathroom countertops can be simple if time is taken to know what is available. They all have agreeable and unpleasant characteristics. Here are a few tips concerning some of the most commonly used materials to assist in making this important decision.

Laminate has been used extensively in kitchens and bathrooms for many years. It is still used in private homes and rental properties. This material is inexpensive and is available in a large variety of colors and patterns. Laminate comes in standard size rolls.

It is not recommended for use on wide countertops as it will require seams. There will also be seams where the sheets meet in corners. Other negative aspects include the tendency for laminate to chip and scratch. It is not heat resistant and will burn if a hot pot is placed on it.

Ceramic tiles are easily installed and are relatively inexpensive. They are available in any conceivable color, size or shape. Ceramic tiles can be smooth or textured, glazed or natural terra cotta. They can be mixed and matched for a more custom look. Various sizes and colors can be used to make a mosaic.

Tiles can be used for flooring, countertops, backsplashes, and in pool areas. The imagination is really the limit with ceramic tiles. There are only two negative feature of ceramic tile. They will crack from impacts and the grout will mildew in areas prone to high levels of moisture over a sustained period of time.

A new material on the scene is concrete. This durable material is proving to be very versatile. It is no longer just for driveways and patios. Concrete is now being used for countertops. Color and variations of a color can be added to give it the appearance of marble or granite.

Textures can be added before it dries of a truly unique look. All surface areas are sealed, but care should be taken not to cut directly on the surface. Any spill that can stain should be cleaned immediately. This is another material that should be professionally installed.

Another material that has seen a new use is stainless steel. No longer just for commercial kitchens, stainless is appearing in home kitchens across the country. The beauty of this material is not only the clean reflective quality it gives, but the ease of use and maintenance.

It needs only to be washed clean and can withstand high temperatures. Again, this is a material that should be professionally installed as it is rather expensive and could cost even more if cut wrong and more has to be purchased to replace a ruined piece.

Perhaps the most expensive countertop material is granite. The average size kitchen has approximately ninety square feet of countertop space. The cost to install granite in this space is about ten thousand dollars. Granite must be sealed at least once a year and more often if it is used daily.

As a natural stone, granite is porous and will stain easily. It should be cleaned well after each use and immediately when any type of liquid is spilled on it. Granite can not withstand heat so hot pots or any other type of hot object should never be placed on it. Due to the weight and the expense, granite is definitely a material that should be installed only by a professional.
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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