Tag Archives: kitchen countertops

Kitchen: Countertops

“Kitchen countertops are in the most cases the worst that can get destroyed in a kitchen. They are expensive and difficult to change and it can take long time to get the new one. That’s why it is so important to take care of them” says Joakim Lindberg, the head of selling department of Elgiganten, for local Swedish magazine Vi i Sundbyberg.

Heat, water, chemicals and heavy weight can take their toll on the countertops. With proper care, you can prolong its life for years. Different materials ask for different levels of maintenance. Here are the best tips so your counterboard is beautiful and serves you for many years.

PLASTIC LAMINATE

+ most popular, durable, hard-wearing material, can survive many years, made primarily of thick particleboard impregnated with resins, available in different colours, patterns, and textures, for countertops is used 1/16-in.-thick general-purpose laminate in matte or fine matte, cheap in comparison with other options

– easy to scratch by ceramic bowls and sharp objects, impossible to fix the damages, made out of thick particleboard gets damaged easily by humidity from under the countertop,


NATURAL STONES

1 GRANITE

+ the most durable working surface when polished

– expensive, heavy, needs to be well polished

2 MARBLE

+ looks prestigious

– does not have the same tight surface as granite (can get marks of e.g. vine, juice and fat),  the edge can split off easily when an object falls on it, can break if you climb on it to reach top shelf above

3 SOAPSTONE

+ at similar price range as polished granite, can be fabricated into sink to match the countertop,

– fewer colours: usually dark greenish-black or lighter green-tray, porous (must be sealed with mineral oil to reduce staining)

4 SLATE

+ extremely dense, can be fabricated into sinks to match the countertop, comes in green, red, gray, purple and black colour, less common are variegated purple and mottled purple slates, which have visible veins and shades of contrasting colours, nonporous and virtually maintenance free, scratches can be buffed out with steel wool

– relatively soft, soft, matte sheen, but you can create a wet look by rubbing the slate with lemon oil, slightly more expensive than soapstone


WOOD

+ the most usual are beech, oak and rock maple but teak, walnut, cherry are also used, often finished with mineral oil or some sort of varnish, price comparable with granite, oak, beech, ash and walnut are less sensitive to humidity than beech och birch, being a living material it can swell, settle ,and get cracks,

– needs oil care two or three times a year, cherry wood is more expensive than other wood, beech och birch are a bit more sensitive to humidity, it is possible to smooth the damages out


STAINLESS

+ easy maintenance, lower risk for damages compared with ceramic tiles, stone or wood, manages the heat, resists the humidity,


CERAMIC TILES

+ great for secondary work surfaces (such as islands, eat-at counters, peninsulas)

– high maintenance,


SOLID SURFACES  e.g. Avonite, Corian

+ highly resistant to stains and scratches, completely renewable and repairable, Scratches and burns can be sanded out, deep gouges can be filled, comes in literally hundreds of colors and patterns, many of which resemble natural stone, solid-surface sinks are also available

– made of 100% acrylic, 100% polyester, or a combination of acrylic and poly /minus if you are after natural materials/


CONCRETE

+ closely resemble slabs of natural stone, extremely flat and very smooth, as compared to hand-troweled finishes, a variety of colors can be achieved by adding pigments to the concrete during mixing,

– poured concrete needs several weeks of curing time before it can be adequately sealed, cracking is always a concern with concrete