Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION
Options abound when choosing new countertop
Maybe you’re building a new home, or upgrading your kitchen or bathroom with new countertops. Either way, choosing the right countertop can be overwhelming.
Each type of countertop has pros and cons and a broad range of pricing. From plastic laminate to stainless steel, our handy guide covers the basics of counters on the market.
One of the newest trends in kitchen countertops is to mix different styles and materials.
Butcher block pairs well with stainless steel and stone. There is a considerable choice of materials and finishes available in kitchen countertops to suit all styles and budgets and each material brings its own advantages and disadvantages.
• Laminate: One of the most commonly used kitchen counter materials; laminate is inexpensive and is low maintenance. It is a plastic-coated synthetic available in many colours, patterns, and textures. Resists grease and stains but is susceptible to damage from sharp knives and hot pans. It’s best to choose matte finishes and patterned designs to keep nicks, which are difficult to repair, less noticeable. Consider adding an edge in a solid surface material such as corian for a higher end look.
• Granite: A forerunner in countertops, granite is a durable hard surface that’s easy to clean which is hard to scratch and even harder to stain. Available in a broad spectrum of colours is often flecked with bits of minerals which gives it a salt and pepper look. Best for kitchen countertops and fireplace surrounds. Avoid ammonia based cleaners.
• Marble: Marble is softer and more absorbent than granite and can stain and scratch easily. It must be resealed often, but the effect can be worth it. Marble is available in a variety of colours and patterns and like ceramic tile, you can create unique patterns, but you’ll have to deal with keeping grout clean. Ideal for backsplashes, floors, vanities, pastry surfaces and tub surrounds. Clean marble with water and if necessary mild detergent and rinse thoroughly.
Sealing is an option but some sealants may darken white so test a small are first.
• Soapstone: A popular granite-looking material, soapstone doesn’t stain or show marks, but it’s more prone to scratches than granite and can crack over time, but resists high heat. Great for kitchen counters, sinks, vanity tops and fireplace surrounds. Do not seal; rub out scratches with mineral oil each year.
• Ceramic tile: Available in many colours, patterns, shapes, and sizes. It’s durable, long-lasting and heat-resistant, but can chip or crack. Damaged tiles are easy and affordable to repair. Grout lines can stain or collect food particles so be sure to choose your grout colour wisely. Epoxy and acrylic grouts are more resistant to stains. For other grouts, most stains will come out with scouring powder and household bleach
• Butcher block: A popular countertop with chefs, a butcher’s block looks and acts like a wood cutting board. When choosing the type of wood, opt for durable maple, oak or beech. Scratches and cuts will be noticeable but can be reduced by treating with mineral or linseed oil periodically. Water damage is an issue, so it’s better to use it for an island countertop and away from sinks and dishwashers.
• Stainless steel: Ideal for a clean contemporary industrial appearance, shows nicks and scratches easily — avoid scouring powders. Like tile, stainless steel makes sense around cooktops and ranges as a landing area for hot pots and pans.
For more home improvement information, to send Shell an email or to find reliable plumbing contractor in your area go to www.AskShell.com.
More Neighbourhood Forum
More Neighbourhood Forum
(1 of 5 articles for this week)05/22/2013 1:00 AM 0
Must Have Menus
Ads by Google