Inexpensive Granite Countertops – Do You Know All Your Options?



Poor kitchen countertops, they need to have a split personality these days, they have to work so hard and still look fabulous which could be a contradiction in terms! The most popular countertop at the moment seems to be granite but before you rush out read on for the pros and cons of various countertop materials.

Stainless steel countertops

You can’t beat stainless steel countertops if you are trying to emulate that commercial kitchen style. It’s ideal if you are looking for sleek and contemporary. One-piece benchtops with an integrated sink give a streamlined and seamless appearance. As there aren’t any joins, there are no grooves or cracks for food water or gunk to get into which makes the whole kitchen more hygienic.

Pros: It’s tough, hygienic, stain and heat proof. If you want to hide the scratches and fingerprints choose a satin finish.

Cons: It can be expensive because it needs to be made by a custom fabricator. It is noisy to work on and can scratch easily, but then again signs of wear give character over time, which is appealing.

Laminate countertops

Laminate comes in literally hundreds of patterns, colors and textures which means you can get a whole lot of bang for not much buck.

Pros: It’s easy to clean and affordable, there is a large range of choices which allows you to copy expensive stone, wood and steel without the high cost. Laminate is moisture resistant and hygienic, and can also withstand a good deal of wear and tear. They can be prefabricated with several edge profiles, from rolled edges to square and specialty edges.

Cons: It’s difficult to repair chips. Abrasive cleaners are not recommended and the surface must be protected from hot pots and pans as it may scorch and leave unsightly dark rings. The seams can be hard to keep clean.

Timber countertops

Wood gives a genuine feeling of warmth and natural good looks, espeically for country kitchens. The common timber butcher block is made of laminated hardwood strips.

Pros: Timber is strong and sturdy, it can be sanded and resurfaced and sealed with a polurethane, or oiled like a chopping board. Each cut will give it character and the timber will not blunt your knives.

Cons: It can be expensive and you need to be careful not to let water, food or hot pans to stand on its surface. It also scorches really easy and it’s not scratch resistant so you will need to re-seal it every 12 months or so to prevent bacteria building up.

Engineered stone countertops

Engineered stone countertops are made from a blend of crushed quartz and other stone granules, marble dust or glass particles, pigments, polyester resin binders and various additives. It runs the gamut from eye popping color to the suble shades of natural stone and marble

Pos: It offers the hardness of granite without being porous which means that you don’t need to seal it. It is stain, heat and scratch resistant!
Cons: It can be expensive to install.

Marble and travertine countertops

Known for their natural beauty, marble and the softer travertine add a sense of luxury to a kitchen. A slab of perennially cool, non-stick marble is ideal for pastry making.

Pros: Classic and luxurious, marble and travertine gain a wonderful patina over time.

Cons: Both are very expensive. They are softer and more porous than granite, stain easily and the stains are hard to remove. They can crack which can lead to a growth of bacteria so they need regular application of protective sealant and will also need buffing to eliminate scratches.

Granite countertops

The variety of colors, patters and finishes, from honed to high-gloss, means there’s a granite countertop option for to suit almost any kitchen.

Pros: Provides a scratch, stain and heat resistant suface that will last for generations.

Cons: The porous nature of granite means it must have regular coats of protective sealant to keep its beautiful appearance and prevent stains building up. As it’s a natural material, the color and pattern you choose in the showroom may be different to the one you actualy receive. Granite countertops can only be installed on sturdy base cabinets as they weigh a ton. If you opt for intricate contours or sculpted edges the price can increase substantially.

Corian countertops

Corian is long-lasting, non-porous and easy to maintain. This acrylic resin material comes in 90 colors including whites, brights, pastels, veined and textured colors. It can be cut, routed, sanblasted, inlaid, moulded or thermoformed to create almost any shape.

Pros: A hygienic, seamless benchtop without a join in sight, Corian allows for endless design possibilities, including integrated sinks. Heat, impact and stain resistant, it is easy to maintain as it is non-porous. Scratches, chips and heat damage can be sanded out.

Cons: It must be professionally installed, decorative edge treatments cost extra.

There are so many options other than granite for your kitchen countertops. Why follow the pack when it comes to creating a fabulous and beautiful cooking space? Use the above guide and search the internet for images of each one to see which will best suit your individual style.

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