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How to Choose Kitchen Countertops

Since countertops are the workhorses of a kitchen, they are very important functionally as well as cosmetically. It is on the counter that we peel, chop, roll, and lay out supplies and bowls, mix and serve.

For this reason the surface needs to be level, smooth, tough and supply ample room for all the tasks it needs to perform. A decent kitchen will have an unrestricted countertop of not less than 36". It is best positioned outside the "work triangle" (the space between the refrigerator, the sink and the cooking surface).

You'll naturally want to consider the durability, stain resistance, maintenance issues, color, style and cost options. You can choose between different surfaces, such as highly polished, satin or matte. You can have the endges profiled in different ways, such as bull nose or beveled.

The most popular surfaces today include: quartz, marble, granite, slate, limestone or travertine, concrete or soapstone.

TYPE PROS CONS
QUARTZ Make with quartz crystals. Hard mineral. Resists scratching. Virtually non-porous. High degree of stain resistance. No sealing needed. Surface remains same over time; doesn't improve with age. Uniform texture and color. No unique variations like natural stone has.
MARBLE Wide range of colors, textures, patterns. Colored veins against consistent background. Glossy or satin finish. Cool, non-stick surface. Not recommended as primary countertop. Porous. More susceptible to stains and liquid penetration, leading to cracking. Requires protective sealer.
GRANITE Second to diamonds for hardness. Resists stains and scratches. Will last for generations. Expensive. May look dated in 10 years. Needs protective sealer.
SLATE Resists heat, stains, bacteria and scratches. Dense. Nonabsorbent. Clean with water and mild soap. Scratches can be buffed out. Available multiple finishes. Needs protective sealer. Color choices limited to neutral, earthy tones. Surface may be irregular due to how it is fabricated.
LIMESTONE/TRAVERTINE Offers softer look. Variety of textures, variations. Perfect for rough-hewn looks. Acquires natural patina over time. Requires careful maintenance. More tendency to scratch and stain than granite. Requires protective sealer.
CONCRETE Can be stained in range of colors. Can be imprinted with designs. Low maintenance, very durable. Pricing similar to acrylics. Lower design appeal and consistency. Weight restricts size options. Needs protective sealer.
SOAPSTONE Color choices from gray to green. Impervious to chemicals, acids, temperature changes. Oxides over time and turns charcoal or black. Can be buffed to satin gloss or matte surface. Intricate veins look custom. Nearly maintenance free. Can be custom carved and shaped. Limited color choices. Consider seam placement as comes in 72" lengths. Seal with mineral oil; re-oil regularly. Needs protective sealer to erase light scratches and prevent staining.

April's Quick Tips Links


Barbara Jennings is one of the foremost authorities on interior redesign, home staging and art consulting. She trains entrepreneurs from all over the world through her online tutorials and books. Author of 9 books for the decorating and design field, she is widely respected for her expertise and affordable training programs.



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interior redesign training, home staging training, interior design business Specific concepts of arranging furniture are applied by interior decorators to get those amazing rooms you see in decorating magazines. But you can do the same thing yourself once you know the secrets. It makes all the difference in the world. Without great arrangement design, your room will never look right, never feel right, and leave you feeling disappointed. Our training is easy to understand and apply. Get the secrets the professionals use and turn your home around in a matter of hours, without having to buy anything new.

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