There are so many kinds of countertops that are available for the kitchen and the bathroom that countertop fabrication is almost an art form. What kind of countertop a person wants depends only how much money he or she is willing to spend and his or her own desires. Here are a few countertop materials and their pros and cons:
Solid surface is one of the more eco-friendly types of materials for a countertop. It’s made out of resin and can be made to look like stone. It can also be made with an integral sink as well as holes for the fixtures. Since it’s molded through, it hides scratches and chips. It’s also nonporous, hypoallergenic and quite easy to clean. If it has an integral sink, there are no rims for bacteria to hide under. However, some homeowners find that solid surface looks artificial. Food shouldn’t be sliced on it nor should hot pans be placed directly on it.
Stone is beautiful and waterproof, though most stone needs to be sealed because it’s porous. This is especially true of marble, which is very soft and prone to chipping. The good thing about stone, besides its beauty and water resistance, is that it will last forever if it’s well maintained, which includes blotting up spills right away and sealing when necessary. After all, the slab the countertop was made of is already several million years old. But stone is also heavy, and the counter should be strong enough to hold it without buckling. No matter how tough, all stone countertops should be protected from acids like wine or citrus juice even if they’re sealed.
Concrete is also heavy but can be formed into all manner of textures and polishes. Aggregate, bits of colored glass or shells can even be added to it as embellishments. Concrete needs to be handled carefully because it can crack and it must be sealed because it’s very porous and subject to stains. Installing a concrete countertop is also a job that should be left to a professional. It is a rather intricate project for a DIY’er, and if not installed properly can void the warranty.
This is crushed rock with pigments added. Engineered stone resists stains, scratches and cracks. Though it’s a bit pricey, it’s almost maintenance free.
Ceramic tiles are fired at very high temperatures to make them very tough. However, they’re brittle and need to be applied with care. But the good thing is if a tile does crack or chip it can be easily replaced by the homeowner. But because the countertop is made out of individual tiles that make for a bumpy surface, it’s not ideal to roll out pastry dough. Also, the grout needs to be sealed to protect against stains, mold, mildew and bacteria.