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Countertop Choices

While building a new home is exciting, it can be overwhelming. Many of the decisions you make about materials will affect your continued enjoyment in your new home. As you decide on the many different materials you will use to finish your new home, remember to think about quality, practicality, maintenance, functionality, durability and the cost of each material. You will definitely need to consider these items when you select the countertops for your kitchen. They will affect the overall style and atmosphere of this room; so take some time to think carefully about all of the materials used for countertops. Plan on them lasting a long time in your kitchen. The most popular countertop materials are listed below.

  • Butcher-Block - The wood of a butcher-block countertop is earth friendly and offers a warm and cozy feel in the kitchen. They are perfect for cutting, as there is a cutting board available in the kitchen no matter where you turn. It is easy to sand out cutting marks. On the other hand, these countertops are not very elegant looking and do not typically add a lot of style to a kitchen. The wooden countertop stains easily, and if you should put any hot pots or pans on it, burn marks will show. Wood is a haven for germs and bacteria, so it must be cleaned thoroughly and frequently.
  • Concrete - A concrete countertop in the kitchen is currently fairly trend setting in contemporary houses providing an industrial look. Concrete can be mixed to create any color you desire matching a particular décor or style in your new home. This type of countertop has a mid-range price. Concrete is safe for hot pots, durable and simple to clean. However, it is fairly porous staining easily and creating a home for bacteria. A concrete countertop can and should be sealed regularly to protect against stains and harmful bacteria.
  • Corian - These countertops fall somewhere between laminate and granite. Corian countertops are seamless and have the appearance of granite. They add class and style to kitchen décor and come in a dazzling array of colors. Corian countertops are very durable and are typically low maintenance. These countertops can scratch, but they can easily be repaired. Unlike the stone alternatives, Corian can melt so be careful not to put hot pots and pans on the counter. These countertops are more expensive than laminate, but cost somewhat less than granite.
  • Granite - This type of countertop is a high-end choice. While it is one of the most expensive countertop materials, it is of high quality. No need to worry about putting anything hot on a granite countertop. And, it doesn't scratch so it will maintain its elegant look year after year. These countertops come in a fair selection of colors adding style to your kitchen. Granite is very durable and low maintenance. It will require an annual sealing, but otherwise the cleaning and care is quite simple. However, granite countertops are porous so you should wipe up any spills rather quickly and use only cleaning supplies recommended for granite countertops.
  • Laminate - This is the most commonly used type of countertop in North America. Laminate comes in a wide array of colors and patterns making it easy to match any color scheme or decorating style you desire in your new kitchen. It is the most inexpensive of the available countertop materials and is widely available. You can find a wide selection of laminate countertops at almost any lumberyard or home improvement center. It is easy to maintain and simple to clean. On the other hand, you must be careful not to cut or poke a hole in the laminate or place anything hot on it. Laminate can be damaged easily if you are not paying close attention, and there is not an easy way to repair it. In addition, it does not look as nice as some of the other countertop materials, and it is not as durable.
  • Marble - A marble countertop is very elegant and classy in appearance, but it is not practical for a kitchen. It can be very expensive and is of low quality when considered for use as a countertop. Marble is very porous, so it stains easily, and it is not very resistant to bacteria. More time will be spent trying to keep it clean than will be spent preparing meals. On the other hand, it is safe to put hot pots on a marble countertop.
  • Quartz - A quartz countertop is natural and low maintenance. It is one of the hottest trends where natural countertops are considered. This natural stone is available in a striking array of colors. It is gorgeous and attractive adding elegance and flair to any kitchen. Quartz is nonporous, making it well suited for food preparation, and it is durable, withstanding all of the daily activities that occur in a kitchen. However, there is currently only one quartz countertop producer in the United States causing it to be rather expensive.
  • Slate - A slate countertop generally provides a nice look in the kitchen, but is duller in appearance than a shiny granite countertop. It is durable, nonporous and easy to clean. There are no worries about bacteria. If it should scratch, the slate countertop can be repaired easily, and it is safe for hot pots and pans. A slate countertop can be moderate to expensive in cost.
  • Tile - A tile countertop can range in price from fairly inexpensive to very expensive depending on the type of tile you select. Tiles come in a huge selection of colors and textures making it easy to match a color scheme or accent other elements in your kitchen. It is safe for hot objects, but not very practical. The grout lines of tile countertops trap everything including food scraps and bacteria, and they stain easily. It may seem that a tile countertop should be low maintenance only having to wipe it down when it comes to cleaning, but in reality the grout lines must be scrubbed well and often. Grout lines can be sealed to protect against staining, but they will always need to be scrubbed for bacteria. Also, remember that tiles can crack and chip easily of something heavy is dropped on the countertop.

There is a great selection of countertops available for your new home. Before making your final decision, go one step further. Visit a local lumberyard or home improvement center to get a better idea of the style, look and feel each countertop can provide in your new kitchen. Shop for your countertop with the same care and consideration you used to shop for your house plan.

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