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A Guide to Kitchen Countertops

One of my favourite activities when building a home is to choose the countertop for the kitchen. I almost always go with real stone and it usually becomes my cornerstone (pun intended) which influences my choice of colour and style for rest of the kitchen. There are at least nine different types of materials to use as countertops in the kitchen: following are some pros and cons of each possible counter top material.

Granite used to be the gold standard. It is inexpensive (except for the blue granite variety) and it comes in a wide range of colours. It can be polished or matte. Once it is sealed, Granite is no longer porous and it can withstand quite a beating.

Quartz is the current popular choice that most home builders and decorators are opting for in the kitchen. Quartz is a man-made stone created by cooling magna that incorporates all sorts of minerals(Mika Quartzsite and mixed with acrylic resin). It is low maintenance, does not stain, nor scratch easily and it is heat and acid resistant. Once installed there is no upkeep. There is an increasing variety of Quartzes - some can even be mistaken for real stone.

Quartzite, not to be confused with quartz, is a natural stone. Quartzite comes in a multitude of colours and it is resistant to scratches. But it does need to be sealed every year for it’s quite porous.

Marble is still my very favourite. It's classic. Think of all the beautiful old monuments all over Europe. Marble has timeless beauty. The veining throughout the stone makes the stone come alive. I like it matte or honed. It can be a problem in the kitchen because it is a very porous stone and so it stains and scratches easily. Juices from acid foods such as oranges and grapefruit leave an indelible mark on it. However, it is the first choice of my professional chocolate-making friends. Sadly, it is also one of the most expensive stones available.

Soapstone is my least favourite stones. It only comes in tones of grey. It doesn't have the twinkle of other stone. It is also a soft stone that is easily scratched ( mineral oil helps make the scratches disappear). Surprisingly, it is a good stone to use in the kitchen. It is non-porous and very dense - that is if you like grey.

Limestone is a beautiful natural looking stone. It comes in a variety of colours and it is heat resistant. Once it is sealed it can work in the kitchen but it does nick easily and spills have to be cleaned up immediately so as not to seep into the stone and stain it. Which makes it a little trickier to have in the kitchen.

Butcher block in the kitchen is very practical. It's great for chopping and it adds character but after a few years it can look old and beaten up. It requires regular washing with white vinegar to keep it hygienic and some oil helps maintain it.

Stainless steel countertops do not get my vote . I find the steel visually cold as well as cold to the touch but my professional chefs friends love stainless in their kitchens. It is hygienic, easy to clean, very modern and Zen-looking. It is expensive but very low maintenance.

Concrete can be used for different applications. The depths can be thick or thin . It comes in a wide range of colours and variations. The price is very reasonable and once sealed it's non-porous. I'm not enthusiastic about concrete for it has less life than some of the other choices, but my sculpture girlfriend Marie, vehemently disagrees as she finds it exceedingly versatile!

We do our best in the construction phase to pick out for you the most beautiful countertop material that blends style with practicality. Each and every countertop is selected as if it were our own kitchen.


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