laminate tops known better by the brand name Formica
have been available for roughly the past 50 years.
These counters are typically durable, colorful, and
moderately priced, laminate is the most surfacing
material for builders and remodelers. From wood and
granite motifs to splashy graphics and metallics,
laminate is available in a range of patterns and textures.
Pick your color, there are literally hundreds on the
Custom laminate counters typically use 1/16"
thick laminate and can be built in a variety of ways.
Laminate countertops can be given a square edge or
a rolled edge. The rolled edge type is typically called
post-form tops, available in many different profiles.
The square edge type can be beveled on the edges,
have wood inserts, or custom edging to create a rich
Laminate resists grease and stains and cleans up with
soap and water. Abrasive cleaners should not be used.
However, it won't stand up to sharp knives or hot
pots and pans. Prolonged exposure to water may dissolve
glue lines and cause warping of the sub-surface. Some
laminate finishes are more durable than others, so
you may want to take home a sample to test which one
works best for you. Once damaged, laminate is difficult
if not impossible to repair.
counters are made from thick sheets of acrylic plastic.
This thick plastic when assembled properly has very
inconspicuous seams which many times are invisible.
These thick sheets allow complete customization of
counters with almost limitless possibilities.
These counters come in many different colors and patterns
and can be shaped with many decorative features. Solid
surface counters also have the added design option
of integrated sinks built into the counter. These
built in sinks provide a smooth "seamless"
transition between the counter and the bowl. Solid
surface materials are water and stain resistant, nonporous
and easy to clean.
Although knife cuts and scratches can be removed with
an abrasive pad and household kitchen cleanser, these
tops are not designed to be cutting surfaces or landing
pads for hot pots and pans. The one drawback to solid
surface materials is that they are not designed to
handle extremely hot temperatures. The material can
also be buffed to either a semi gloss or high gloss
polished finish. These finishes may amplify the beauty
of the counter material. But also tend to show more
scratches and require more maintenance.
Quartz Surfaces are 93% pure, natural quartz. One
of the hardest and most common minerals on the earth,
quartz has superior strength and beauty, and the natural
radiance of diamonds.
Natural Quartz comes in various thicknesses. Its depth,
clarity, strength and durability comes from Dupont.
Natural Quartz is completely care-free! There's no
sealing, buffing, polishing, or reconditioning required.
The surface naturally maintains its luster. It is
extremely heat, crack, chip and stain resistan. Virtually
non-absorbent, reducing the potential for bacterial
Natural Quartz products are resilient to stains caused
by fruit juices, liquid food coloring, coffee, tea,
wine, grapes, soft drinks, paint, nail polish and
remover, automotive fluides, and permanent markers.
The surface has a high gloss finish and extremely
low moisture absorption provides maximum resistance
to staining and fully eliminates the need for any
Block and other kinds of woods will give your countertops
natural warmth and elegance. Thick butcher blocks
are made of hardwood strips glue together. It is the
ideal countertop for the cook who does plenty of slicing
and dicing. Butcher block is generally made from hard
rock maple or beech. Countertop units come in thicknesses
ranging from 1-3/8" to 3" inches and can
cut in any shape.
As with all wood products, warping can occur under
prolonged exposure to water. With proper care, wood
counters can last a lifetime. Periodic rubdowns with
mineral oil protect the finish and preserve luster.
Scratches and nicks add character to the wood, or
you can smooth them with sandpaper. If you like the
benefits of wood but want something requiring less
care, a butcher-block insert may be a better choice.
Insets in food preparation areas are handy for chopping
and carving. Butcher block can turn black if located
near water or improperly sealed.
ceramic tile comes in the widest range of colors and
patterns and is both durable and easy to clean. Heat,
stain and scratch resistant, it can chip if hit with
heavy objects. If a fragile object hits it, expect
the object to break. The type of tiles and grout used
will also impact the overall durability of the finished
product. Using colored grouts and grout additives
decreases (but not eliminates) the problem of stained
A practical and attractive combination for a kitchen
might be laminate countertops with a ceramic tile
or marble back splashes and butcher block or stainless
can be made of solid stone materials such as granite,
marble, and limestone or man made stone products such
as concrete or granite composite materials. Yet some
materials may be more prone to staining and structural
problems than others may. Natural stone counters tent
to be among the most expensive kinds of counter tops
and typically carry no guarantee.
Granite comes in an extraordinary palette of colors
ranging from subtle to dazzling in intensity. Each
granite color comes from a different quarry, and no
Two quarries in the world yield the same color. Granite
provides a worry-free surface and requires few special
Most granite is impervious to scratches, staining
and heat blistering or cracking. Hot pots and pans
won't damage it. Warm water and a soft cloth can be
used to clean up most spills and semi-annual application
of a non-yellowing paste wax will preserve the original
color. Marble, however, is not recommended for kitchen
countertops. Oils, alcohol, coffee, tea, wine, tomatoes
and citrus stain marble and tend to etch the surface.