When it comes to kitchen design, homeowners look at everything from cabinets and appliances to sinks and faucets. When it comes to cabinets, countertops are the icing on the cake.
Granite is still the rage in kitchen countertops. Nevertheless, whether it is marble, granite or other surface material, knowing exactly what you’re getting will help you decide what type of countertop to buy.
About 15 years ago, granite countertops were mainly in expensive homes. Today, it’s the most popular countertop on the market. Probably the biggest reason is cost. For granite, the price has come down quite a bit.
The cost for granite countertops in a medium-sized kitchen is between $2,000 and $3,000 and even cheaper for a small space. The availability of prefabricated granite and practices that make it easier to harvest have helped the price decline.
Granite, a durable stone, comes from magma at the center of the earth. It is heat and chemical-resistant and is so hard only diamonds or other granite can scratch it. Upkeep of granite is a breeze.
Just like other naturally occurring stones, granite doesn’t have a particular pattern. It is available in a combination of colors, depending on where the granite is harvested. It comes in two thicknesses, 2 cm and 3 cm.
Marble runs second behind granite in sales. Some people choose marble over granite to give their homes a classic “period look.” Unlike granite, marble comes from mineral deposits in the earth.
It is softer than granite and not as resistant to acidic things. However, some still prefer marble. Like granite, marble doesn’t follow any specific pattern; it reflects what is caused by nature.
If random stone patterns aren’t your thing, you can always go the way of man-made. Man-made stones, including but not limited to brands such as CeasarStone, Silestone and Cambria, are available in a variety of colors.
Homeowners usually have a specific reason for choosing man-made over natural stone — for example, the desire for all-brown or all-green countertops without nature’s imperfections.
Some man-made stones use quartz. Some even look similar to natural granite. Many man-made stones share the same characteristics, too, such as being easy to maintain, stain resistant and nonporous. As for cost, man-made stone can be more expensive than natural stone, but it depends on what you want.
Next time you drink a bottle of beer, consider that you might be eating off it in the future.
A completely “green” countertop is making its way into homes. Created by Vetrazzo, it’s made from a combination of recycled glass and concrete.
All kinds of glass are used in Vetrazzo’s countertops, including recycled vodka bottles, windshields and traffic lights. These countertops can be both inside and outside the home. The cost compares to the cost of granite and higher.
Another product commonly recycled is paper. Just like recycled glass, recycled newspaper is finding its way into countertops. Some feature countertops made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper.
The newspaper is layered and compressed with a nonflammable resin, creating a durable, low-maintenance design.
You won’t see shreds of paper through the resin, but the material is available in several colors. It is heat-resistant to 350 degrees, stain resistant and easily repairable. The cost is comparable to marble and granite.
Whatever you have in mind for your new countertops, you can find a lot of options to make your kitchen have a unique look.