In the first half of our kitchen countertop series, we discussed natural stone options, which are durable and beautiful. However, there’s a whole world of non-stone materials to consider, any of which can transform a kitchen from blah to ooh la la. As we reminded you in part one, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and it deserves a countertop you can fall in love with. It’s time to find your perfect match:
Wood counter-tops offer a natural beauty that can’t be found anywhere else, creating a warm and welcoming space. Hardwoods are most commonly used, but other options include maple, cherry, oak, birch, and teak. In addition, countertops can be further customized through various stains and finishes. Like any great beauty, however, wood is not without its challenges. It’s porous and must be properly sealed, can be prone to scratches and dents, and should be treated with mineral oil to prevent water stains. If you’re willing to put in the work, the warm beauty of wood countertops is its own reward.
When most people think of laminate, they picture a kitchen on a 1950s sitcom – dated, tacky, and dull. Today’s laminate is different. Thanks to major advancements in photography and production, laminates can now mimic stone, butcher block, and other pricier surfaces for an expensive look at a fraction of the cost. Laminate is also low maintenance, easy to clean, and light weight, making it a great choice for those on a tight budget. It’s also an ideal way to give your counters a temporary facelift while you decide on a long term solution.
There’s a reason stainless steel is used in restaurants and other high-traffic kitchens: it’s nearly indestructible, and it resists heat and bacteria. If you’re envisioning an industrial chic kitchen, stainless steel countertops are a great place to start, especially because they blend seamlessly with the stainless steel appliances. Paired with lacey curtains, they can provide that perfect balance of beauty and brawn. While some feel steel lacks warmth, others love its retro vibe and the way it complements wooden cabinets and stone floors.
Completely solid, and often referred to as “Corian,” which was the name of one of the original manufacturers, solid surface is made of a durable, man-made acrylic which repels moisture, and can be formed into any shape, allowing for large applications with a seamless, integrated look. It also comes in many colors, so if you’ve been dreaming of turquoise countertops, solid surface is the way to go to. Best of all, it’s easy to clean with a little soap and water, and scratches can be quickly sanded away, making it one of the easiest surfaces to care for. The one downside is that solid surface is not quite as heat resistant as natural stone, so make sure you keep a few trivets on hand to avoid burns.
“Going green” is all the rage these days, and with good reason. Luckily, you can walk the talk while still enjoying a beautiful and unique look in your home. For example, recycled wood made from old barns can look stunning in your kitchen. Recycled glass that has been crushed and bound with concrete or resin can create a unique and artistic look. Recycled plastic can mimic the look of solid structure countertops. Even recycled paper has been used in kitchens, after it’s been pressed and hardened with resin. Obviously, each of these materials comes will require a different maintenance method, and comes with its own list of pros and cons. At their best, they offer a unique beauty you can be proud of. At the very least, they’ll provide great conversation fodder at your next dinner party.
Still can’t decide between granite and wood, quartz and steel, slate and laminate? We don’t blame you. Why not give us a call and let Kitchen & Bath Design Studio design a space that’s absolutely YOU.