The search for kitchen countertops of different types, like concrete countertops or stone countertops, is not only the choice of quality, beautiful and practical materials; it is the definition of its main functional features, according to the preferences, style and way of life of each family individually.
The worktop in the kitchen is an integral and important part of furniture, as well as the main element of kitchen interior and home design in general. At the same time, it has to endure a lot of trials: we put hot and cold on concrete countertops, we cut something on stone countertops a hundred times a day, we touch sharp and heavy objects and so on, and you will not list everything. What kind of countertop to choose, so that it meets all the criteria? What issues about countertops you should know before buying it?
Scientifically speaking, a countertop is the upper part of the table, the surface is a working and functional area, nevertheless, it performs a decorative and aesthetic role. The modern countertop is a kind of a plate three or four centimeters thick, as much as possible protected from all sides.
There exists a large choice of countertops, you only need to hold the process of their selection, so that this important part of kitchen interior will delight and inspire you.
As a rule, many household appliances are built in any countertop, especially if we speak about DIY concrete countertops: hob, sink and so on. Since this is the main working area for homeowners, any countertop must meet the following criteria and requirements.
Requirements for kitchen countertop:
1. Resistance to moisture and temperature changes;
2. Shock resistance and heat resistance;
3. Resistance to mechanical damage and abrasion, smells, stains and dirt;
4. Accessibility and ease of cleaning, possibility of using chemical and abrasive household detergents;
5. It should not absorb fat and condensation;
6. Aesthetics, beauty and functionality, which is also important.
It often happens that countertops are presented with a bar counter, working area of a kitchen and a dining table, and also window sills - it looks great, like one thoughtful and logical kitchen ensemble.
The variety of materials determines quality of the countertop itself, and today there are many of them, we will dwell on each in more detail.
· Laminated chipboard
The countertops that are made of laminated chipboard are the most common today and are in great demand. They are used in manufacture of kitchen, office furniture and other interior items, special furniture for schools, pharmacies, shops, where strength, durability, resistance to scratches and abrasions, moisture and temperature are necessary.
The thickness of the table tops varies from 28 to 38 mm.
This artificial surface is pleasant to look at and touch; there is a possibility of a rich choice of patterns, shades and textures: matte, glossy, mirror, rough and smooth variants.
Laminate countertops are available in the form of plates, which are cut according to the corresponding sketch of the finished furniture and, in the future, are mounted to it with the help of metal corners and screws.
Very often the kitchen apron is also finished with plates of laminate; it turns out a single continuous and harmonious composition, and a very winning, budget option for the kitchen.
Steel is metal, which can be more reliable, durable, hygienic and stronger; these countertops are cheaper than natural stone.
Stainless steel, about 80 mm thick, is fastened onto a sheet of high-quality chipboard with liquid nails; the edges are bent, carefully brewed and ground. Such metal worktops are predominantly straight. In case if you need a corner, its seams are welded and sealed tightly. This is an additional and very laborious process, requiring special equipment and skills.
On the matte surface, seams are almost invisible, and on the glossy surface they are very aesthetic and delicate.
There are few options for decorating such a countertop: circles, stains, patterns and ornaments, or a glossy mirror surface, which is effective for kitchens in hi-tech style. The lower part of the countertop made of stainless steel is framed with plastic, and the edge is bent upward, so that moisture does not fall behind furniture and cabinets.
The metal surface will withstand any hot dishes; you can put hot pans on it without fear. And all the scratches are removed by re-grinding, which can be done from time to time, returning the steel to a completely new look. But keep in mind that with time the metal dims and has a property of leaving stains from your fingers, which looks very not good, and this is a big minus.
For such worktops only solid wood types, such as pine, alder, needles, oak, larch, and birch are suitable.
The countertop is a board, glued of wooden slats. This technology allows you to get a durable and wear-resistant surface, effective and elegant, reminiscent of the ship's marine deck. This is the best option for an environmentally friendly, warm and cozy wooden house, where all the furniture is wooden, or finished with natural veneer.
The edges of the countertop made of wood are carefully milled, the edges and surfaces are painted with oil of deep penetration, protecting from moisture, pollution and temperature changes. Oil processing is a complex process, requiring knowledge of patience and skills, so the quality and durability of the countertop itself largely depends on the quality of production, and consequently the price of finished product also increases.
The price and quality of countertop depends on thickness and number of layers of impregnation, the more of them, the better, and also the processing and design.
For particularly capricious and picky buyers, it is possible to order a countertop made of exotic species of wood: red, cork or tropical. Price of such product will be appropriate. When working on such a countertop of a wooden array, it is necessary to take into account the humidity of the air, comply with the rules of the temperature regime and conduct timely, exceptionally gentle care. It’s quite difficult to restore the gentle gloss of wood; you need to be able to grind, so it is better to use special stands under the hotter and not to put electrical appliances on it.
The huge drawback of the wooden countertop is that it is the most delicate natural material, requiring proper attitude, care, and attention.
· Concrete countertops
The novelty of countertops for kitchens is concrete countertops, made on demand and meeting the needs of any taste. Concrete countertops are made of concrete, in appearance resembling a countertop made of natural marble. Durable, resistant to external influences, waterproof material reveals its decorative features. They can be polished, painted or include elements such as seashells or pebbles.
The appearance of the countertop of concrete depends on the brand of cement, additives and their dosage. It is advisable to experiment by making several small test samples in small formwork, and after drying them, grind the surface until the required result is obtained.
Used cement grade is not lower than M500. Washed, sieved sand up to 0.3 mm provides an even color and ensures a good uniformity of concrete countertop mix. Use crushed granules of fine fraction. Requirements for care are regular carrying out protective impregnation. For more information, visit ConcreteCountertopSolutions.