If the kitchen is the heart of a home, then the countertop is its essence. The countertop not only serves as the place where food is prepared, it can also be a sound investment as it can last longer and for those who intend to sell their home in the future, a well-kept kitchen attracts plenty of potential buyers.
Choosing the perfect material for the kitchen can be tricky and daunting for first time buyers. Once upon a time, the selections were limited; nowadays however, one has hundreds of materials, patterns, textures and even designs to choose from. Whether one is remodeling or building their new home, below are the top kitchen materials that one should consider.
Granite is very popular and has graced many high-end kitchens because of its sturdiness, heat and scratch resistance features. As the stone is quarried from different parts of the world, the designs, colors and features of each stone is unique. As the stone is made up from mixed mineral deposits and molten magma, original granite tends to be rough and textured and depending on the abundance of the minerals embedded creates its unique coloring. Below are some of the different granites available in the market today.
- Arandis is a type of stone quarried from Namibia and its main characteristic is its gold coloring with veins
- Bianco Romano is natural stone that comes from Brazil. The white granite is popular not only for countertops but also for stairs or vanity tops. Aside from the Bianco Romano, Brazil is also known for the Café Imperiale which is popular because of its long-lasting features.
- Blue Eyes is a natural stone prized for its high scratch resistance and sanitary features as well as weather resistance. The stone is not only highly demanded for countertops but also a prized material for exterior cladding. The stone is imported from Canada.
Granite stones are popular for kitchens that experience heavy traffic as it stands very well with heavy use. That said, granite countertops need re-sealing as the stone is naturally porous which makes staining a possibility. Some would require a yearly re-sealing; however, the latest models would only require re-sealing once every ten years or so.
Marble is another natural stone material that is sought after because of its timeless beauty and elegance. Although this type of stone requires care and regular maintenance, regular care will allow it to age naturally. Its porosity would require home owners to use high-grade sealant to protect the surface as acid or base products can stain the stone. That said, high quality marble when treated properly enables them to be more durable and stain resistant. Below are examples of marble stones available in the market today.
- Emperador Light is a brown marble that comes from Spain. Another is the Gris Pulpis, which is a slightly darker brown that also comes from the country.
- Jerusalem Gold. The distinctive coloring of the marble resembles that of many stones that grace temples and palaces used during the Middle Ages hence the name of the stone.
- Bianco Carrara. These stones are perfect examples of the “veins” patterns that marble stones are known for. From white to grey, these stones are said to have been from the Jurassic period. Small cavities called “tarolli” naturally occurred on these slabs of stones.
Marbles are ideal for people who spend less traffic in their kitchen area and are more interested in it for its aesthetic value. That said, lighter colored stones are ideal as scratches are less apparent with lighter stones than darker ones. Having it honed and sealed before installation and regular maintenance will also help the stone to age naturally.
Quartz is an engineered stone thus is stronger and more durable than granite and marble. Not only are the stones durable, they are also heat and scratch resistant making them the perfect countertop. That said, it is slightly more expensive than granite making many homeowners having second thoughts using this material. Its durability however, makes it a sound investment.
Another feature of the stone is that it is made not only of quartz but also of other materials such as resin, polymers and pigments allowing for limitless colors and hues. As quartz is non-porous, cross contamination caused by molds and bacteria is highly unlikely. Coarse to finely ground materials also affect its final appearance. What benefits homeowners the most is that it is easy to clean and does not require any re-sealing or treatment.
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