What are today’s popular choices for kitchen countertops?

Here are popular as well as innovative materials to select from for your kitchen remodel.

GRANITE: A natural stone formed from magma.  It is dense, highly durable and heat resistant and remains cool to the touch, usually several degrees colder than room temperature.

-Maintenance: The stone should be sealed at least once a year, depending on the amount and types of use.
-Appearance: The most common types appear speckled or spotted and come from Brazil and/or China. The colors range from off-white to completely black with exotic stones featured in sky blues, moss green or golden hues with a range of natural knots and veins.

MARBLE: Very similar to granite, the same key points listed under granite above apply to marble as well. The differences however include the following:
-Maintenance: Less sense than granite, marble tends to patinate and stain even if sealed.
-Appearance: Marble is characterized by veining where the more rare and expensive types have little to none. Colors are also limited to white, beige and black.
Last issue I touched on the latest in countertop choices; such as – granite, marble, lava and soap stone, and quartz.  Below are some of the other popular choices available to today’s homeowner.

BUTCHER BLOCK: Constructed normally of thick pieces of hardwood, traditionally maple, butcher block is usually 1 ½” thick and just as the name denotes, this material is associated with the type of counters that butchers use to cut up meats. Needing a protective layer of food friendly finish like oil and/or beeswax, this countertop material can also be fabricated using oak, cherry or even teak with thicknesses measuring up to 2 ¼”.

CONCRETE: A manmade product mixing cement with fly ash, aggregate (like sand, gravel or granite), water and additives. This material can be mixed and fabricated on site.

METAL: Stainless steel and copper are the two metals used in kitchens because of their anti-microbial properties. Both contain natural characteristics that resist mold and bacteria and are highly durable and recyclable making them great Green products.

ICE STONE: A new material to the Green & Sustainable design world, this man made material combines concrete with recycled glass bottles to create a natural looking material that can be custom colored.

LAMINATE:  There are many realistic-looking designs in an array of colors in today’s laminates. Laminate is one of the most cost effective choices and does not need to be sealed. There are some custom edge treatments now available, as well as integrated sinks.

Green and Sustainable are big issues in today’s world.  Believe it or not, most materials available for countertops are Sustainable or long lasting with the need to replace them being rare. Because these materials need to stand up to continuous and everyday use and abuse, durability is key for the use in kitchens as well as key to Sustainability.
There is a world of possibilities to choose from for your kitchen countertops.  Select one that fits your personality and lifestyle.-Heat: Because of its natural characteristic to remain cool, bakers tend to prefer this stone over granite.

LAVA STONE: Fabricated from large blocks of volcanic stone, this material is highly durable and can be colored into any possible color you can imagine. Because this is harvested from a continuous producing source, it is categorized as a Green & Sustainable material.

SOAPSTONE: A natural durable stone comprised of talc mineral and high in magnesium, this stone’s characteristic is that it as it ages, the stone patinizes. In addition, the stone does NOT require treating that granite requires.

QUARTZ:  This Green material is known for its high durability, flexibility, stain resistance, chemical & solvent resistance, anti-mold & mildew and heat resistance. Usually mixed with concrete or other similar materials to create surfaces, this material can be made into any color imaginable.

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