Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kitchen Countertops : The Pros And Cons

A kitchen is always one of the top choices for a homeowner to make an improvement. Whenever a kitchen is remodeled, a counter top is usually replaced with a new or better one. there are several different types of countertops to choose from in the marketplace today, such as laminate, quartz, corian, silestone, wood, tile, and granite. Being able to clean and maintain your countertop is always an important decision in choosing which material would be best suited for your kitchen. A countertop can blend in modestly with the other kitchen furnishings, or can stand out as a centerpiece in your kitchen by being dramatic or luxurious. So let's examine the pros and cons of each countertop material. The most common types of countertops are :

  • Laminate
  • Solid Surface ( corian, silestone, etc.)
  • Wood ( Usually maple or oak )
  • Tile ( ceramic, granite, porcelain, or marble )
  • Granite               
1. Laminate

Pros : Wide range of colors and patterns ; easy to clean ; low in cost.
Cons : Scratches and chips ; seams are noticeable ; cannot place hot items on counter ; prone to water damage over time ; cannot camouflage repairs.
Maintenance : Clean with soap and water ; can remove stains with non-abrasive cleanser.

2. Solid Surface

Pros : Luxurious ; custom molded to fit cabinets ; durable ; scratches and burns can be sanded away.
Cons : Expensive, High in cost.
Maintenance : Cleans with non-abrasive cleanser ; sand to remove scratches and burns, using 550-grit sandpaper.

3. Wood

Pros : Natural beauty ; scratches and burns can be sanded away ; moderate in cost.
Cons : Constantly needs waterproofing and sealing ; warping may occur ; less durable than stone ; can collect bacteria ; can stain.
Maintenance : clean with oil-based soaps ; sand to remove scratches and burns using 220-grit sandpaper followed by water sealer.

4. Tile

Pros : Wide range of colors and designs ; easy to install ; easy to repair.
Cons : Grout shows soiling, difficult to keep clean ; can crack or chip easily ; moderate to high in cost.
Maintenance : Clean glazed tiles with soap and water ; clean porcelain tiles with oil-based soaps, such as Murphy's ; apply grout sealer every 3 months and re-grout as necessary.

5. Granite

Pros : Luxurious ; extremely durable ; will not burn ; does not scratch or chip easily.
Cons : Can crack ; difficult to repair ; limited color selection ; can stain ; seams are noticeable ; expensive.
Maintenance : Clean with warm, clear water and dry with a cheesecloth ; use a 3-part cleaner once every 2 years to clean, seal and polish.

Choosing the right countertop for your kitchen is a decision that will affect the overall appearance of your kitchen remodel or cabinetry upgrade. Bear in mind that countertops can last for years, making it worth the time and effort to choose and select them carefully. And most importantly, they are a vital component to creating the kitchen of your dreams ! :)