Reminding first the GENERAL ASPECTS that regards all the existing countertops:
- The thickness can vary from a min. h1 cm (0,39 inch) up to a max. h15 cm (5,90 inch). The used scale is usually 1-2-3-4-6-8-10-12-15 cm. For modern kitchens are mainly used very thin countertops, those in th. 1-2-3-4 cm (0.39-0.78-1.18-1.57 inch) and those very thick, particularly for industrial design styles or lofts h.10-12-15 cm (3.93-4.72-5.90 inch); while for classical models are using mainly medium thickness, that will allow shaping different edge profiles, such as h4-6-8 cm (1.57-2.36-3.14 inch).
- The edge profile can be simple or sophisticated, depending on the material of the countertop, its thickness, and the kitchen style. For modern kitchens are best: square, double chamfer, rounded, shark nose, stingray, and blade. For traditional kitchens, best recommended are round, beveled, half bullnose, full bullnose, demi bullnose, ogee, radius ogee, DuPont, and a mix of the above.
- The countertop finishing can also make a significant difference in the way your countertop looks, feels, and performs. Especially when it comes to natural stone countertops, it can change the reflectiveness, water-repellency capacity, decrease the visibility of stain and maintenance requirements. The most popular types of stone countertop finishes are natural, polished, honed, flamed, leathered, and aged.
1.MARBLE AGGLOMERATE is a composite of marble, resin and colored pigments. It can be of many colors and pigmentations, some of the most popular options you can see below:
This worktop is quite durable, but like many natural stones, liquids penetrate the porous areas of the material, so oily substances may leave permanent stains, while acidic substances may corrode the material. A good waterproofing treatment, reapplied regularly, slows absorption times and allows you to react before the liquid penetrates the stone. Use only water and neutral soap for cleaning marble agglomerate worktops; avoid liquid detergents.
2.TERRAZZO is a composite material made of chips of marble, quartz, granite, glass, and others, poured together into a chemical resin cast and concrete. This material is very practical, particularly used on flooring; but in the 80s found its applicability as a countertop too. Available in a multitude of colors and combinations, here are some of my favorites:
3.CONCRETE is preferred for a distinctly industrial look. Cement mortar is made from pastes derived from blended mixtures of inert hydraulic bonding agents, comprised of quartz and mineral sands with controlled granule sizes free from salts and impurities. This formula is then blended with a percentage (1-2%) of stabilizing elastomeric polymers to prevent tensions and cracks caused by temperature changes and dynamic stresses. The surface is usually treated before application to allow the coating to adhere. Once dry, the surface is then treated with a transparent acrylic coating: this treatment protects the surface against grease and dirt. Cost-wise, it is less expensive than a natural stone top, but pricier than a laminate.
This countertop is not for perfectionists because of the presence of small imperfections, tiny holes, and corners that are not perfectly square. There may also be uneven trowel marks, all of which highlight the craft manufacture.
Nevertheless, it has a good resistance to abrasion, scratches and stains. A good treat and proper maintenance will prolongate its longevity. With regards to cleaning surfaces, it is recommended the use of neutral detergents diluted in tepid water (dilution 1:10) applied using a micro-fiber cloth. Rise off any detergents used as this considerably reduces the wear on the coating protecting the surface. The use of concentrated cleaning products and steam cleaning systems should be strictly avoided.
If you have a property house and a budget that allows it, then choose unique natural stones to enhance the beauty, create scenography, and add value to your estate. You have so many options to choose from, but especially look for: onyx, gemstone, marble, granite, and quartzite. If you have big spaces, islands, and good natural lighting to emphasize the beauty of colors and contrasts, then choose particular color slabs with sculptural veining and unique pigmentations. Still, if the kitchen size is quite small, I would recommend opting among the classical stones in white, beige, or black, because a colorful plate will not have enough scenography, and it can actually load a little too much the small spaces.
If, however, you love natural stones but at same time are also looking for more durable and technological materials, then take a look at composite materials, such as DuPont ™ Corian, Okite, Dekton® by Consentino, Quartz, Silestone®, and Betacryl®.
Or, in other cases, when you love natural stones, but you have a tighter budget, look for the options that are partially made of natural stones, but other parts are different components; such materials are marble agglomerates, terrazzo, and also the concrete.
For a moderate cost, but always natural, stylish, and durable materials for a timeless look, choose one of these: stainless steel, copper, butches block, veneered wood, and even lamina stoneware (made of porcelain) or tempered glass.
Last but not least, there are many budget-friendly colors and textures alternatives to choose from in Fenix NTM ™ and unicolor laminate.
I wish you good luck with your choices, and if I can be of any help, let me know in the comments or contact me directly.
Have a great day! And see you soon with my next tips and design subjects.