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.DuPont ™ CORIAN is a composed made of 1/3 acrylic resin and 2/3 natural minerals. The principal mineral is aluminum trihydrate, which is extracted from bauxite (used to make aluminum). Being a composite, it can be made in various colors and shades using different minerals and pigments, creating a paste with homogenic, pigmented or veined surfaces. Some very popular and other most unique colors are: in unicolor Glacier White (cat.0), Bone (cat.1), Designer White (cat.1), Bisque (cat.1), Pearl Grey (cat.1), Distinct Tan (cat.1); pigmented Aurora (cat.2), Dove (cat.2), Linen (cat.2), Aqua (cat.2), Midnight (cat.2) Mardi Gras (cat.3), Mont Blanc (cat.3); veined Burled Beach (cat.5), Dune Prima (cat.5), Cocoa Prima (cat.5), Cosmos Prima (cat.5), Hazelnut (cat.5), Juniper (cat.5), Limestone Prima (cat.5), Rain Cloud (cat.5), Sandalwood (cat.5). For more please visit the original producer site: www.corian.it .
It is a non-porous and completely solid material, very durable. It withstands almost all kinds of scratches, cuts and knocks, and is easy to maintain. Even though the material is resistant to heat, do not place hot pots directly on the surface, and do not pour boiling water directly into the sink (in Corian) without running cold water first. If strong chemicals are split onto the surface, clean immediately with lots of soapy water to prevent stains from forming.
It can be fitted with hidden joins which make the surface 100% hygienic as certified by the American NSF and German LGA foundations. DuPont™ offers a product warranty for 10 years from the date of purchase.
2.OKITE is another composite material made of a selected quartz base (over 90%), resin and colored pigments, using a highly technological patented process. It can be made to aesthetically recall different natural stones as marbles, granites and onyx, but with higher resistant qualities and available in slab size measuring 120"x55" (306 cm x 140 cm) equal to 45.83 SF per slab (4.28 Sq.Mt. per slab). The material is non-porous, waterproof and resistant to stains, acids and solvents. It is practically unbreakable!
Some of the most beloved colors are: 2005 Prisma Bianco, 2009 Prima Nero,1665 Bianco Assoluto, 1114 Nero Assoluto, 1926 Crema Botticino, 8052 Calacatta Oro, 1663 Bianco Classico, 1432 Grigio Chiaro, 1405 Grigio Scuro, 1717 Roman Stone, 1896 Bianco Carrara. Recently, there were added to the collection some beautiful colored blends with translucent capabilities when backlit: 9002 (on yellow brown), 9003 (on orange red), and 9004 (on smoked green). To see all colors please visit the original site: www.okite.com .
It is easy to clean and therefore also extremely hygienic. Has received the certification from the American NSF (National Science Foundation) as extremely hygienic surfaces and certification Greengard which guarantees that the worktop does not release volatile organic compounds into the environment.
Maintain clean using a normal kitchen sponge and liquid detergent. This worktop provides excellent resistance to heat; however, it is always advisable to avoid placing hot pots and pans, cafetieres or irons on the surface in order to prevent stains. Okite® is guaranteed for 15 years.
3.DEKTON® by Consentino is one of the most resistant and technological composite material existing today on the market of countertops. It is a sophisticated blend of raw materials used in the building industry, glass, new generation porcelain material and quartz surfaces using an exclusive “TSP” technology. This technological process consists of accelerating the metamorphic changes that natural rock undergoes over thousands of years under high pressure and at high temperatures, creating an ultra-compacting mass with absolute absence of porosity and defects.
Different formulas are used to create the worktops based on the desired finish and color. These are classified in collections: Liquid, Natural, Industrial, Stonika XGloss, Chromica, Wild, Basiq XGloss, Natural XGloss, Solid XGloss, Tech, and Solid. There are some of the best-seller colors like: Laos, Soke, Lunar, Orix, Kira, Laurent, Bedrock, Trilium, Khalo, Taga, Bergen, Sand Drift, Aged Timber, Domoos. For more please visit the original site of the producer: www.dekton.com .
The final chemical composition of an average Dekton® worktop is as follows: silico-aluminates, fused silica, crystalline silica, inorganic pigments. The crystalline silica contents are always lower than 11% of the total weight in all color combinations and formulas. The main properties of Dekton® are non-porosity, chromatic stability, dimensional stability, high mechanical strength, high scratch resistance, high resistance to UV rays, excellent resistance to fire and heat as well as ice and freezing, abrasion and resistance to stains.
Even though this is a highly resistant worktop, it is advisable to avoid overloading work surfaces with concentrated loads greater than 50 kg (e.g. do not stand on the worktop). It is also advisable to avoid placing hot objects directly on the work surface, it is recommend using saucepan mats to prevent damage caused by thermal shock. DEKTON® offers a warranty of 10 years.
4.QUARTZ is an engineered stone, made from a mix of 95% natural quartz and 5% resins and oxide pigments. It can mimic granite, marble or any other natural stone and comes in an extensive variety of colors and patterns, produced by different manufacturers around the world.
It is one of the most resilient countertops available on the market, resistant to abrasions, attack from chemical agents and heat, and it does not absorb liquids. The material is non-porous, waterproof and is resistant to stains, acids and solvents.
However, it is not infallible. It is not recommended using abrasive cleaner as they will eventually dull the stone’s finish. Also, leaving hot pans on the countertop may change the color over time. Excessive cutting directly on the surface can lead to scratches, but these marks can be removed using an abrasive sponge soaked in a mixture of acetone (30%) and running water (70%). Edges and corners can chip. Do not overload the surface with concentrated loads more than of 50 kg.
It is easy to clean and therefore extremely hygienic, as certified by the American NSF. Ordinary stains can be removed using by a damp cloth and common detergent such as Cif cream or Marseilles soap. Use more aggressive household cleaning products to remove difficult stains, taking care to rinse thoroughly after use. Do not use denatured alcohol, which can leave stains when it dries.
5.SILESTONE® is composed of 94 % natural quartz, otherwise known as silicon dioxide (SiO2), which usually comes in a white or transparent mass, but can also be colored when it is formed in the presence of impurities, and the remaining 6% is polyester resin. This composition gives the worktop elasticity, and same time makes it extremely hard and highly resistant to acids, mechanical impact, scratches, and stains. Thanks to its unique formula based on a new generation silver ion technology developed exclusively by Cosentino, Silestone® work surfaces offer added value in the form of protection against bacteria. See all colors on the producer's website: www.silestone.com . Here below are some of my favorite:
Thanks to its non-porosity, is very easy to clean. Use water and a neutral detergent, while solvents that do not contain dichloromethane can also be used to remove silicon and grout residues. Avoid the use of products with a PH higher than 10.
Silestone® offers a certified warranty for 10 years and is accredited by the prestigious American NSF standard, which certifies the product is hygienic and healthy. It has also been LGA Hygiene tested (Quality Test GmbH is an independent body that certifies the safety and quality of domestic products based on European and International standards). It has also received CRADLE TO CRADLE certification (this certificate guarantees not only the worktop itself but also everything else that affects its manufacturing process). It has also received ISO 14001:2004 certification from the Bureau Veritas as well as GREENGUARD certification, which guarantees that the worktop does not release volatile organic compounds into the environment.
6.BETACRYL® Pure Acrylic Stone is a composite material, made with two thirds aluminum hydroxide and one third high quality acrylic (approx. proportions), and a small amount of color pigments.
This material has several advantages:
- It is a non-porous surface which makes it perfectly hygiene
- All joints are invisible; moreover, restoring, repairing and modifications are made without leaving a trace on the surface
- Uniqueness between worktop and modular bowl of same color; total customization of the shape and thickness, including curved surfaces can be made using heat forming technology
- Absolutely waterproof, does not absorb any kind of fluids
- No color change over time
- Eco-friendly, food safe (acrylic resin)
It has good resistance to heat, however, placing very hot pans, coffee pots or other objects directly on the worktop can slightly damage its surface. Moreover, it is advised to always run first cold water into the sink when pouring boiling water into it. It has excellent resistance to everyday mechanical stresses, but it is not recommend using it as a cutting surface, since it can be scratched.
Normal stains can be removed with a cloth, water and common household detergent. Difficult stains can be removed with a harder sponge and abrasive cream. Do not use greasy or ash-based detergents as these can form a patina on the material’s surface. Avoid contact with caustic products, solutions of methyl chloride, acetone and oven/metal cleaners.
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.