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What are Some Common Materials Used for Kitchen Countertops?

By KD Morgan
Updated May 16, 2024
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Kitchen countertops serve the purpose of finishing off the interior design of your kitchen as well as creating a functional contribution to your kitchen workspace. Depending on the degree of usage, the marketplace offers many options.

The ultimate kitchen countertops are made of granite. They are extremely functional and made of a very hard stone. You can place hot pans directly on granite, cut directly on it and spill without causing damage. It is very sanitary because granite is not porous and is installed in one solid slab so there is no grout to absorb bacteria and mold. Though the cost of granite kitchen countertops is high, the durability and functionality make it a preferred stone for your home.

Wooden cutting board style kitchen countertops are good choices for people who do a lot of baking. They are available in a variety of colors and hard timbers. Wooden countertops will soil and show water and dirt marks. They are also difficult to keep sanitized. They will have to be re-sanded periodically. However, with proper care, they are a beautiful option for the right person.

Ceramic tile has been a favorite since the 1950’s. It is extremely durable, although the grout has a tendency to stain and collect bacteria. There are so many options when choosing tile for your kitchen countertops that it makes it a fun, inexpensive investment. The grout will need to be renewed every few years, depending on usage. While durable, you must be vigilant when working on tile not to drop heavy items or spill fluids that can cause staining.

Cement, quartz and marble are other natural materials of preference for kitchen countertops. Cement is durable; however, it will stain because it is so porous. It is also possible for cement to crack over time.

Quartz and marble are very delicate and though they are beautiful, are easily cracked or chipped. They too are porous and can stain easily. Marble is excellent for rolling out dough for baking. These items are best reserved for people that have show-place kitchens and do not do a lot of heavy cooking.

Corian™ Avonite™, Swanstone™ and other solid surface kitchen countertops are an excellent synthetic material that is very durable and has a look of a natural material. If marred, they can be sanded down to their original beauty. As with most materials, hot pans cannot be placed on these surfaces and stains will occur. It is comparable to granite in expense but some people prefer it to the natural product.

For an industrial look, stainless steel kitchen countertops are a good option. They are very durable and practical. They offer a great advantage in being heat resistant. Though expensive, the advantages include a sanitary workplace with easy cleanup.

Laminates, such as Formica™, are an easy, inexpensive way to decorate your kitchen countertops. They come in a variety of colors and designs and are extremely durable. This high-pressure plastic is easy to maintain and does not harbor molds and bacteria as many other kitchen countertops do. It does stain; however there are stain-removing products available.

In the busy modern society of microwaves and prepackaged meals, kitchen countertops have been relieved of intense wear and tear they used to receive. Therefore, your choice for your countertop can include your visual preference.

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Discussion Comments

By overreactor — On Feb 12, 2009

I have found that a smooth surface is the best. It is easy to wipe clean. Tiles can look nice, are not that expensive, but are not as easy to clean.

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