YOU’LL LOVE WHAT THESE COUNTER TOP MATERIALS WILL DO FOR YOUR KITCHEN AND YOUR HOME VALUE

When it comes to upgrading and renovating your home it can be difficult to decide which project to tackle, especially when you have a limited budget and will be focusing on one at a time. By far, one of the more popular project areas is the kitchen, and for good reason. A recent survey of 1,000 homemakers, conducted by B&Q, revealed that the primary meal preparer will spend nearly 18 entire days per year in the kitchen – this roughly equates to 1,117 complete days over the course of 63 years. So is it really worth it to throw down a few paychecks on hooking up your food space? Absolutely.

Perhaps the most noticeable element of the kitchen is the counter top material – if not to guests in the home, certainly to the person standing there staring down at them for multiple hours a day. Here’s a list of different counter top materials that will sharpen up any kitchen’s aesthetic, add an additional element of functionality, and increase the overall value of any home.

QUARTZ Available in an extremely wide variety of colors and patterns, engineered quartz is a great choice because it is essentially maintenance free. They are stain, acid, scratch, heat, and impact resistant – and due to their non-porous surface they don’t need to be sealed like the ever-popular natural stone counter tops.

GRANITE (POLISHED AND HONED) Chances are you know a lot of people with polished granite counter tops, they are widely popular. Slightly less popular are the honed variety – the major difference being the matte finish. Granite is virtually indestructible from a durability standpoint, although it is certainly susceptible to stains and damage caused by acid, oils, and even wine. It also requires annual sealing maintenance in order to keep its original quality and it certainly will not set your kitchen apart from the crowd.

WOOD/BUTCHER BLOCK – A thick, wooden counter top is sure add a warm, soft feeling to any kitchen – and it’s just as functional as it appears. It is very durable, heat resistant and less prone to scratches and knife marks than you might think. Obviously, the harder type of wood the better in this case. When sealed properly a wood counter top becomes the perfect surface for food prep – yes, even meats. With the right wood, the right sealing, and proper maintenance these counter tops are likely to outlast anything else in your home.

MARBLE – This timeless classic immediately brings a high end look to any kitchen and, sometimes, a high end price to match. With options other than the well-known Carrara becoming more available there is still hope for those of us with budget limitations. Marble is a porous stone, so regular maintenance, sealing and special care with acids particularly, is an absolute requirement in order to keep it looking its best.

STAINLESS STEEL – There is a reason most commercial kitchens have large areas of stainless steel for food preparation. It is, without question, the most hygienic surface available due to its tendency to

inhibit any form of bacterial buildup and growth. It doesn’t stain (possibly that’s how it got its telling name). Ever. Just a little water and soap and virtually any mess is history. Aesthetically, it has an equally clean look – sharp lines and a smooth surface make it easy to integrate into any design concept.

CONCRETE – The most customizable of any material, a concrete counter top can take any shape and be any color you choose – you can even have your sink molded right into the counter for the ultimate clean appearance. You can even choose a customized texture, although smooth seems to be the surface of choice among avid kitchen goers. It’s relatively maintenance free too. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of a concrete counter top is its energy efficiency. When your home heats up the concrete will capture it and when the room begins to cool that heat will be released. This does not mean you’ll no longer need your heating unit and AC, just that all the heat you generate while preparing Thanksgiving dinner for a dozen family members will go to good use later.

We have just begun to scratch the surface (pun intended) of counter top materials here, but any on this list would certainly wake up a tired kitchen. And now that we know how much actual time we spend standing in front of the stove or over the counter, it’s easy to justify an investment in kitchen beautification.



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