Installing Kitchen Countertops

One fast way to make a dramatic change to your kitchen is to install new kitchen countertops. A countertop overhaul can be as simple as installing new material on your already existing counter or as involved as having completely new counters made.

One of the hardest choices is picking out of the seemingly endless list of materials just exactly what your new kitchen countertops will be made of. There is stone, stone-synthetic composite, completely synthetic material, plastic laminate or ceramic tile.

Under each of this kitchen countertop categories are hundreds of available subcategories, colors and styles. To narrow the decision, decide which material will hold up the best under your normal kitchen conditions.

Plastic laminate, tile, and synthetic kitchen countertops will scratch, so be sure to use a cutting board. Granite countertops don't scratch, but they do need periodic resealing. Stone-synthetic composite countertops don't need to be resealed and many claim they are as scratch resistant as granite.

All of the different materials used for kitchen countertops can stain, however. Red wine, mustard, and curry powder are common culprits and it is important to keep countertops wiped clean to avoid the hassle. Perhaps the most popular material used for kitchen countertops is synthetic material, also called solid surfacing materials. The most widely known of this material is Corian, produced by DuPont. Other manufacturers are Formica, Aventine, and Wilson Art.

There are a few reasons for the popularity of synthetic kitchen countertops. For example, when they are installed, no seams are visible. This gives a sleek finish with counters that appear cut from a single piece to fit your kitchen.

Another reason synthetic kitchen countertops are popular is the variety of colors and styles they are available in. Many are made to resemble real stone, with flecks of color that give a textured look. They are also available in colors no natural stone could have, such as vivid greens and reds. Synthetic kitchen countertops also have the handy feature of being able to sand out scratches. Though possible, actually buffing the scratch out completely may be more difficult that it sounds as many people don't have the necessary sanding tools.

Those with a higher budget often opt for stone kitchen countertops. There is no denying the elegant appeal of marble or Blue Perl granite with its dark grey stone and translucent chips. Granite is a particular favorite because it is extremely durable as well as elegant.

Granite kitchen countertops are almost impossible to scratch or damage with a hot pan. Because it is a porous stone, however, granite must be periodically resealed and even sealed will stain if substances are not cleaned off fairly quickly. In the high-traffic, elegant kitchen, however, periodic resealing is a small price to pay for such durability.

Kitchen countertops are a big choice when remodeling a kitchen. They can create drama with color or design or add to a sleek, streamlined look. Every material has its positives and negatives so it is important to know how it will be used and how to care for it.


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