If you are remodeling or freshening up a kitchen you will probably need to select new counter tops. There are lots of options available today and you will need to select the ones that give you the look and function you are craving. Prices and maintenance vary so take that into consideration when making your selection.
2. Quartz counter tops are gaining in popularity because of their antimicrobial and easy maintenance properties. The very quiet ones like this look great in contemporary kitchens but some manufacturers also make slabs that look very much like real granite and marble. They are man made and are available in lots of solids and stone looking colors.
3. Limestone, with natural fossils embedded in it, is also a popular counter top. It most often comes in a soft beige color like this photo but also is available in some light green and gray colors too. Most limestones are not polished but their honed finish gives them a very soft inviting look.
4. Natural marble counter tops are beautiful and can be used in kitchen if the homeowner is realistic about how they wear and age. It is not a “bulletproof” material and so will develop a patina as it ages and show signs of use. It is best in kitchens when it is honed and very well sealed. I suggest to my clients that they try different kitchen products on a sample (honed and sealed) to understand how it will react in the kitchen environment. It develops a beautiful warm patina over time.
5. If you are not familiar with soapstone, do not over look it. This is a beautiful material for kitchens. It is often used to make matching sinks too, like in this picture. It has a soft honed finish which is easily fabricated and holds up well in kitchens. If oiled with mineral oil it takes on a darker color which gradually dries out to a lighter color until the oil is reapplied. If scratches develop, oiling it makes them disappear. This material also develops a wonderful soft patina over time. I’ve used this in contemporary as well as casual country kitchens.
6. Here is an example of a lighter soapstone without oiling. Some soapstones have a lot of veining and others have very few veins.
7. Travertine is also used for counter tops. You can identify it by the small holes that have been filled. In this picture they appear white. The fills are not usually very noticeable but are duller than the travertine itself so they are noticeable when light shines across the surface. The colors of travertine vary from very light beige to darker milk chocolate shades. The fill colors from one quarry to another vary from white to very close to the color of the stone itself. Generally fills close to the travertine color are more attractive and less noticeable.
8. If you are looking for something that looks like real stone but is much less expensive, look into the laminates available today. If you don’t know what you are looking at you would think they are real stone. This Formica counter top even has an ogee edge like real stone. The only disadvantage is that you have to be careful to not set hot things directly on the surface as it will burn. You also can’t under mount cast iron or stainless sinks in these counters because they don’t have enough thickness.
9. Another man made product to consider for your kitchen counter tops is stainless steel. It can be used in the entire kitchen for an industrial and/or professional chef look or just in a portion of the kitchen, which is illustrated here. This is another material that can have the sink integrated right into it for a seamless finish.
10. And don’t forget butcher block counter tops for a stunning but less expensive option. They make beautiful counters but I do not recommend installing them where there will be a sink because over time the water may seep into the exposed ends of the wood and discolor it. They are easily maintained but I recommend using a separate cutting board on top for chopping unless you want that “worn out” butcher block look. They are made of wood, so don’t put hot things directly on them or they may scorch or burn.
Whether using all one material or mixing several, be sure to select counters that will pass the test of time and be practical in your hard working kitchen.
All photos sourced from Houzz.com