What You Need to Know about Countertop Surfaces
June 27, 2012
The latest trend in countertop surface materials is granite, one of the hardest and most durable of stone material. Granite texture is medium-coarse to fully coarse, with coloring determined by chemicals and natural formation techniques. Primarily made from quartz, micas and feldspars, granite reveals an interesting display of color combinations according to the distribution of these minerals.
Common granite countertop colors are mostly beige, gray, brown, red and black. The ability of granite to withstand heat and accept sealants makes it desirable for use in the kitchen. It is resistant to staining and cleans easily using standard dish soap.
The price of granite varies due to what type of edging is carved into the slab along with color and composition. Expect to pay an average of $50 to $100 for one square foot of granite that contains minimal features.
Cement used as countertop material is highly absorbent and porous which makes it necessary to seal cement periodically to avoid irreversible staining or discolorations. Although it weighs almost the same as granite per square foot, cement needs to undergo a curing process before it can be used as countertop material.
Because it is porous, cement coloring is easily changed by mixing pigments in with the cement prior to pouring it into a mold. Dyes, stains and tints can also be applied after installing the cement countertop to produce an interesting variety of designs. Purchasing one square foot of plain cement will cost approximately $100 to $125.
For those wanting a sleek, shiny countertop that is nearly effortless to clean and resistant to sounds if connected to a wood substrate, stainless steel offers other exciting features such as its non-porous quality that never absorbs stains or odors. Nor is it conducive to bacterial growth, since it does not contain any microscopic crevices or fissures.
Highly durable and heat resistant, stainless steel countertops can take quite a pounding so kitchens that experience a large amount of cooking would definitely benefit from being outfitted with stainless steel countertops. This countertop material is a little pricier than others, with one square foot of stainless steel costing $100 to $200.
Butcher block countertops never seem to go out of style and provide kitchens with the natural hardness, beauty and warmth of wood, making it the perfect type of countertop for the serious chef who is also aesthetically discriminating. Composed of thick, wide hardwood strips that have been adhered together using a special wood glue, butcher block countertops are usually made from maple, cherry, oak or walnut.