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Countertop Options
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement

When remodeling your kitchen, countertops should be on the top of your list. After all, aside from your refrigerator, your kitchen counters are used most frequently. With so many materials, colors, and styles to choose from, selecting the right counter top can be very overwhelming.

Kitchen counter tops come in a variety of materials. Selecting the right material is vital to the appearance and functionality of your kitchen. You want a counter top to enhance the visual statement of your kitchen while still being durable enough to survive its everyday usage.

Plastic laminates are typically the most widely used material for kitchen countertops. This is true mainly because it is inexpensive, resistant to stains and grease, low maintenance, hides scratches, and it comes in an array of colors and textures. However, sharp objects and hot pans can damage laminate plastic countertops and the damage is hard to repair.

Solid surface countertops are similar to plastic laminate in that they both are durable but susceptible to damage from sharp objects. However, with its increased price, come more benefits such as no underlayment needed and the option of ordering it custom formed to hide seams. Solid surface veneers will give you the same durability and resistance to stains as your standard solid surface countertop, but with a decrease in price. This is due to its limited variety of patterns and colors, as well as its need for an underlayment.

Butcher block countertops, made from hardwoods such as red or white oak, offer an alternative look and appeal. Wood never goes out of style and will always give you a warm, natural look. Although scratches can easily be sanded out from wood, the over all maintenance must be kept up.

Steal, on the other hand, is very easy to clean and is the perfect choice for serious cooks. Steal offers a stylish modern look to your kitchen. Although steal countertops may be very appealing, durable and easy to maintain, they are also very expensive, heavy and difficult to install.

If you are looking to keep cost low, it is best to stick with a simple durable tile countertop. Glazed ceramic and porcelain tile will not stain, but keep in mind that you cannot use ceramic material as a cutting board! Porcelain is more expensive but also more durable. For the best protection, granite slabs will offer you stain and heat resistance. Also, granite will increase the value of your home.

Materials and Costs:

• Concrete: $100 per square foot.
• Marble: $50-$100 per square foot.
• Granite: $50-$100 per square foot.
• Wood: $50-$100 per square foot.
• Ceramic: $10-$30 per square foot.
• Limestone: $50-$100 per square foot.
• Slate: $50-$100 per square foot.
• Quartz: $50-$100 per square foot.
• Stainless Steal: $100-$200 per square foot.
• Laminate: $25-$50 per square foot.
• Solid Surface: $90-$150 per square foot.

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