8 Countertop Materials For Your Kitchen

Are you getting increasingly bored of your dated, black granite kitchen countertop? It’s time to give your kitchen a modern, upgraded look by redressing your countertop. Here are 8 surprising countertop materials that can replace your granite top with.

1. Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel

You can give your kitchen an edgier, modern or industrial feel with stainless steel countertops. They are versatile, and can be installed with a smooth/satin or matte finish. Being that stainless steel is 100% recyclable, it’s an eco-friendly option that’s durable, non-porous, corrosion-resistant and easy to clean.

There are multiple ways in which stainless steel can transform your space. For a completely modern feel, it can be easily cut into a seamless surface to lay over your entire working space. If the thoroughly modern style is not your thing, you can blend modern and traditional styles to great effect. The downsides of stainless steel tops are their cost and tendency to smudge easily.

2. Butcher’s Block

Butcher’s block are cheaper than marble or granite, and can give your kitchen a warm look. They come in two styles: edge grain and end grain. In the edge grain style, the wood rails run parallel to the edge of the piece. With end grain, the edges of the wood rails are fused together into a checkerboard pattern. Butcher-block tops commonly use hardwoods like maple, oak, walnut, cherry or sometimes, even bamboo making them sturdy, long-lasting and bio-friendly. They’re finished with oils, beeswax or paraffin.

When it comes to maintenance, care must be taken to prevent damage, such as using trivets for hot pots and not using them to cut on. They can be cleaned with a damp cloth and a mild detergent. Harsh detergents and chemicals can damage them. They also need to be sanded to remove dents and dings, and reconditioned to restore their shine.

3. Glass or Recycled Glass

Recycled glass

Glass countertops are a durable and heat-resistant option made by melting glass and pouring them into slabs. It is hard, non-absorbent and therefore, easy to clean and maintain. They come in a variety of colors and unique surfaces, and are eco-friendly. The glass can be translucent or embedded with other material to give it a textured feel. This surface lends itself to a number of styles including a modern back-lit kitchen-tops or used as an accent in a traditional kitchen design.

They are more expensive than granite countertops, however, and are available only from select companies which are certified to produce glass slab counters.

4. Soapstone

Soapstone is a quarry stone which is largely composed of talc, making it a soft material. However, it is infused with a high percentage with quartz to make them durable and suitable for kitchen countertops. Soapstone has a smooth, matte feel to it, and is resistant to acids or other chemicals.

While it’s not resistant to nicks and dents, these can be sanded or oiled to restore the surface. It does require more maintenance than other countertops, and is not heat-resistant. It also becomes darker with age, which depending on how you look at it, can be a good thing or a bad thing.

5. Quartz

Quartz is a man-made engineered stone made by combining ground quartz with resins or polymers to get a durable, granite-like surface. Depending on how the quartz was ground, quartz countertops can have a number of unique appearances: coarsely ground quartz gives the stone a speckled appearance, while finely ground quartz produces a smoother finish.

Quartz countertops are resistant to nicks and dents and can be easily cleaned with mild soap and a soft cloth. They do not require any refilling or resealing. However, they are not heat-resistant. They are ideal for small to medium kitchen tops; however, with large countertops, contiguous surfaces are not possible.

6. Concrete

kitchen countertop

When infused with color, concrete countertops can give your kitchen a contemporary, industrial feel. They are sealed to make them stain or scratch-resistant and non-porous. They are highly customizable when it comes to size and shape, and can be mixed with a variety of materials like glass chips or multi-colored stone chips for a variety of surface patterns.

When sealed, they are very durable, heat-resistant and easy to maintain. However, over time oils and moisture can seep in and cause them to look grimy. When it comes to expense, it depends on the amount of customization done.

7. Zinc

This is another contemporary material that is growing increasingly popular like stainless steel. Again, depending on point of view, the blue-gray patina that develops on zinc surfaces over time can be viewed as an aesthetic feature. This patina develops due to the surface reacting with water, acids or other substances. It has a non-porous surface that can be easily cleaned with mild soap and has anti-bacterial properties that makes it safe for direct food contact.

However, it is not heat-resistant; hot containers placed directly on the surface can warp or melt. The surface is also not scratch-resistant, and direct knife-work can dent or scratch the surface. They are also more expensive than stainless steel or granite.

8. Paper Composite

Quality kitchen remodelling tips

Paper composite countertops are made of post-consumer use, recycled cardboard or paper held together with petroleum- or formaldehyde-free plastic resin. While they are a green material, they are not recyclable or repurposable. They’re available in thicknesses up to 2 inches, and are lighter than stone countertops. They are durable and resistant to nicks/dents and even heat to an extent: anything above 350 degrees can scorch the surface. Though they are non-porous, they can be sealed with mineral oil.

They are easy to clean with warm water. However, they don’t do well with soap and abrasive or strong cleaning liquids; these will dull the surface in the long run.

If your granite countertop is starting to feel like a tired eyesore in your kitchen space, there are number of options available to you to turn your kitchen into a contemporary space that you’ll be proud of.

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