Like all other expansive kitchen installations, countertops highlight the beauty and performance of the visible room surfaces and spaces. If you decide to make countertops the focal point of your kitchen remodeling project, be ready to splurge a significant portion of your budget on them. In such a case, you should base your entire kitchen design including the color scheme, cabinets and furniture installations on the appearance and nature of your showpiece countertop. Even for low budget kitchen renovations, you can still install incredible countertops by being creative and overtly imaginative. It is advisable to seek the services of an expert remodeler in your locality for assistance on these intricate countertop design decisions. You can consult any professional plumber offering DC plumbing services and home makeover services if you live in the Washington DC region. Mostly, you will need to choose a suitable option from the following countertop styles.
Butcher block countertops are made from wood. They are quite affordable and relatively easy (DIY) to install. Like all other wood surfaces and finishes, butcher block projects warmth and a natural kitchen outlook. It matches and complements stainless steel fixtures, appliances and stretch cabinets. However, butcher block is susceptible to knife cuts and is damaged — warped and cracked — by heat, humidity and excess moisture. Because it is not stain resistant, oil the butcher block regularly and clean it with a damp cloth and soap. Mild nicks can be sanded away but avoid chopping directly on the block’s surface to enhance longevity. Maple is the most popular option — other choices include teak, oak and walnut.
There are two main types of natural stone countertops: granite and marble. Both granite and marble have the traditional look of natural stone and are considered high-end/luxurious preference in kitchen remodeling projects. Granite comes in many different color combinations enabling you to choose a unique, enticing pattern and style for your kitchen.
Granite is available in many different grades, with some relatively affordable (lower) grades available in the market today. Comparatively, marble is still quite expensive. Be careful when selecting granite to avoid buying “bad” granite with natural fissures that look like chips. Natural stone countertops are porous and prone to staining, etching and chipping. Therefore, seal granite and marble countertops regularly and wipe spills quickly to ward off stains. Avoid placing hot items directly on the granite countertop to keep it from cracking and getting discolored.
Available in a variety of popular brand types like Formica and seamless laminate, this is one of the most affordable kitchen countertop styles. Laminate is available in a huge number of looks, patterns, solid colors and styles including wood and natural stone lookalikes. Faulted for not being as durable as natural stone, laminate survives a moderate lifespan period of about 10 years or so. Because it is susceptible to burns, scratches and chipping, laminate requires careful cleaning and maintenance. Clean it with soapy water and a very soft cloth and avoid the use of abrasive cleaners to keep it from scratching. Protect the countertop surface from heat by always placing hot dishes on trivets.
Engineered quartz is the hardiest — it’s stain and scratch resistant and waterproof — and one of the most attractive kitchen countertop styles in the market today. Engineered quartz is a mix of materials, made from pulverized and ground natural stone and then mixed with polymer resins. It comes in countless colors, styles and patterns including solid colors and natural stone stand-ins. Except for the routine wipe with a damp cloth, quartz requires no maintenance. Although it costs as much as some types of natural stone like marble, quartz countertop is an artificially produced material.