Unusual Materials for Countertops to Consider for the New Year
Changing your kitchen countertops is a worthy New Year’s resolution, and easy to keep. The only issue is choosing the right one for your kitchen. Many options are available, including the top choices quartz, granite, and marble. However, it might be work considering less popular and unusual materials for your countertops. Here are some of them.
Formica is the most recognizable brand of laminate countertops, and continues to be a favorite among builders. This is a synthetic product primarily made of plastic, paper, and fiber, and originally made as a replacement for mica in electrical appliances.
Laminate sheets became popular as material for countertops in the 1950s because it was affordable, durable, and heat resistant. Laminate countertops today do a good job of mimicking the look of a variety of other materials for countertops, such as granite. Of course, it is nowhere near as durable as granite or marble, but not bad for the price.
However, laminate countertops became associated with poor-quality construction in the 1980s, and the years have not tempered that bias. Having laminate countertops in your home can lower the resale value and might give other people a poor impression of you as a homeowner.
Most restaurants have stainless steel countertops because they are easy to sterilize and can take quite a beating. Having one in your home is a good way to give the impression that you are a chef in the making.
Stainless steel countertops look particularly suitable in ultra-modern kitchens. However, they are very expensive, and maintaining the gleaming surface is all but impossible with reasonable use. Stainless steel surfaces accumulate fingerprints and scratches quite easily. While the scratches have no effect on the function of the countertops, they do start to look old and used very quickly. If you want gleaming, high polished countertops, stainless steel might not be your best choice.
Concrete countertops enjoyed some popularity not long ago because it is very durable and quite beautiful. Companies that specialize in creating these countertops offer them in a wide range of custom colors, designs, sizes, and thicknesses. However, they fell out of favor because they were quite expensive, heavy, and difficult to maintain. They also had a tendency to crack and scorch, and could not be repaired.
You might not be aware of it, but granite (and other natural stones, for that matter) comes in tiles and modules as well as slabs. Modules are larger than tiles, but smaller and less expensive than slabs. Modular granite countertops is a good option for dedicated DIYers, as fabricating and installing granite slabs require considerable skill and special equipment.
One problem with modular granite is the seams, which with some luck should be negligible. Another is availability. Only a few companies carry granite modules, and often limited in color and type. You might have better luck with tiles, although that means even more seams. However, if you are the enterprising type, it should result in some interesting and unusual kitchen countertops.
Using reclaimed wood for your countertops satisfies two desires: protecting the environment and having the warmth of wood in the kitchen. While cabinets are usually wood, nothing beats the look of well-polished wood countertops.
Using reclaimed wood just makes more sense because you are using wood recycled or repurposed from discarded wood from old buildings. However, while they are undoubtedly beautiful, reclaimed wood countertops is not a great idea.
Wood is not a good choice for kitchen countertops, no matter the source, because they are difficult to maintain. They are very porous, so they can be dangerous for food preparation. They are also vulnerable to water and heat.
You might think that glass kitchen countertops sound like a bad idea, but it might not be at all. Solid glass designed for kitchen countertops will not easily shatter, and can be anywhere between 1.5 inches and 1.5 feet thick. It is non-porous and not easily breakable. It is also an excellent choice for truly unique countertops, as you can embed LED lights in them if you choose.
However, thicker glass slabs can be very heavy, and they are very expensive. With prices starting at $200 per square foot, you might want to reconsider how much you want to pay for unique kitchen countertops.
Chances are you have never heard of zinc countertops, but you have probably sat at one without knowing it. Many older establishments used zinc countertops for their bars, such as observed of bistros by Ernest Hemingway during his stint in Paris after World War I.
Zinc countertops actually use a slab of wood or other base material wrapped over with a thin sheet of zinc (about 1/16 inches thick). It is soft and easily scratched, so achieving a high gloss look is almost impossible. It also reacts to acids and other foodstuff, so your new countertops will look old quite quickly. However, zinc eventually achieves a nice blue-gray patina, so you might stop noticing the scratches. That said, zinc countertops start at about $150 per square foot, so it might not be the best material for your new countertops.
These unusual materials for countertops are worth considering for the New Year if you want to do something different for your kitchen. However, if you would rather have countertops that are easy to find, install, and maintain, and would add value to your home, you should stick to granite, quartz, or marble countertops. You might like to get in touch with Granite ASAP.
We carry a wide range of granite, marble, and engineered quartz brands in the country. Over 100 colors of marble and granite slabs are available for inspection at our Chantilly, Virginia showroom. If you prefer engineered quartz, we can offer you products from the Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI brands, each one carrying the manufacturer’s warranty. You can choose what you want and we will deliver it ASAP!
We service the state of Virginia, including the cities of Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, Tysons, and Washington DC.
Feel free to ask any questions over the phone, or get in touch using our contact form. We offer free estimates and quotes for any of your kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling needs.