The kitchen counter top is a focal point of the kitchen and also serves as an important instrument in this high traffic workspace. Almost everything done in the kitchen requires the use of a countertop, maybe with the exception of the range top. So when its time to decide on a counter top, there a different things to think about.
These topics can include: maintenance, cost, usage, longevity, and appearance. First, maintenance and how well you keep your kitchen. If you're a neat person and you keep the kitchen tidy, then most countertops will work. However, if spillage and less then professional clean-up are part of your routine, then certain countertops may not be suitable. The best counter top against wear and tear is the granite countertop. When money is no object, this is the top choice.
This counter top holds up against heat, it is hard to damage, will last a lifetime, and brings value to a kitchen. The most common granite countertop is a custom cut slab, but you are also go with granite tiles to save some money. Second is the cost -- what can you spend and still look good. Laminate counter tops such as Formica are made of a plastic substance. They are inexpensive, come in a variety of colors and are mostly stain resistant. The best part of the laminate is that they are relatively in-expensive; unless you go to a big box store such as Home Depot or Lowe's, then you will surely be ripped off.
Instead try a local store where quality and price matter to the store owner. A good deal awaits you. The down side of the laminate is that it does not last as long as other surfaces. Next, the usage and how much wear is your kitchen receiving? A solid surface counter top resists scratches and can take abuse.
These types of surfaces are Corian, Swanstone, and Avonite. These types of countertops are not heat resistant and can be stained. So if your kitchen is more like a professional kitchen, then solid surface may not be for you. Longevity is a concern when looking for counter tops. Concrete counter tops can be custom poured into unusual shapes to fit the irregular kitchen and at the same time this type of counter top can last a long time, with proper maintenance.
Concrete countertop will require more maintenance that granite and may be more susceptible to damage, but they cheaper than granite. Finally appearance and what look are you going for in your new kitchen. Marble counter tops offer a stunning appearance, granite is a definite class act, solid surface is a choice that is in higher end homes, and even laminate can look good.
So one has to weigh all options and keep in mind that you have many choices. You can save money and still have that look you want; it just might involve a little more research.
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