In a modern kitchen, the countertop is the busiest areas where most of the work takes place. Therefore, some of the most important concerns about the countertop, apart from the functionality, is its durability, and probably more importantly, its aesthetic appeal. The countertop should both match as well as enhance the style and ambiance of the room.
Granite for Toughness, Durability, and Quality
One of the toughest natural materials that you can use is granite. It is becoming an increasingly popular choice as a countertop due to its strength. It is also generally impervious to scratching. In the past, it used to be considered a high-end product used by affluent people. However, these days, and increasing number of people are opting to install it as their kitchen countertop.
Another of granite's advantages is its resistance to high heat. You can place very hot cooking pots and frying pans on a granite countertop without causing it any damage. However, granite does have a drawback - its natural porosity. This makes it susceptible to permanent staining if oily or acidic substances should spill on it.
Since granite is a natural material, you may think that it would be available in limited colors. But, on the contrary, since it is quarried from a number of locations all over the world - from Sri Lanka to Brazil to Texas - the variety of colors that it is available in is quite impressive - from ruby red, to verdant green, to jet black. Moreover, each slab will have its own distinctive color pattern, with splotches, stripes, and speckles.
Quartz - Natural and Engineered
Quartz, also called Quartzite, is one more natural material made of stone that is growing in popularity as a kitchen countertop. It is primarily sought after because, being a crystalline material, it adds a shimmering depth and beauty to any kitchen it is installed in.
Natural quartz is a material that is very dense and hard which usually can withstand very high pressures and temperatures without being damaged. Its surface is exceptionally smooth, which is what makes it as popular as countertops. And, because of its internal structure, quartz is as tough as marble and granite. Moreover, since it is much less porous than the other two, there is much less chance of stains damaging the countertop permanently.
Apart from natural quartz that is mined from quarries, there is also engineered quartz that is available in a comparatively cheaper rate. They come in a wide range of colors. Engineered quartz is created by ground quartz particles being added to colored resin, which is then baked, and then pressed, and finally polished. The material that results from this process is non-porous to a high degree, is extremely hard, and has a shine that does not dull to any great degree for a long time. Even though engineered quartz cannot quite match the variety of texture and grain that natural quartz has, still, it requires less maintenance.
Concrete Kitchen Countertop - A Great DIY Material
Although you may not think that concrete would make an attractive material as a kitchen countertop, it actually does. Many manufacturers make polished concrete countertops that are very beautiful and are also quite affordable. However, one of the best things about concrete is that it is very economical and cheaply available.
By using colored pigments and chemical stains, a concrete kitchen countertop can mimic much more expensive material such as granite, limestone, and marble. And by giving it a coat of epoxy, you can give it an attractive and glossy finish, which will also protect it. The natural and warm patina that concrete has makes it very attractive as a countertop.