An Introduction To 9 Common Kitchen Countertop Materials!
If you’re due for a kitchen makeover, chances are you’d be overwhelmed with the choices that are now available on the market. There are so many options, at vastly differing price points, which can make it really difficult for you to decide which one suits you best. We list out some of the properties of each of the common materials, so you can be better informed before you make an appointment with an Interior Designer of your choice!
Undeniably the synonym for luxury. Marble tops make quite the statement, but at a cost as well. And it’s not just on the financial side at that; marble is naturally porous, which means stains can result from seemingly minor spillage. Also note that acidic foods can dull the finish on your marble countertop as well.
Visual blemishes aside, the stone itself can take the rigours of even the most demanding of chefs, though the sealers used to make the countertop less porous may not. Repeated exposure to harsh chemicals can result in premature wearing out of said layer. Still, if individuality is something you value, know that your countertop is one of a kind, as marble is a natural stone, and no two slabs are alike!
Granite is probably the second most reputable natural countertop material. It happens to also be the hardest, which explains its incredible scratch-resistance properties. Regular knives may not cause significant damage to such a countertop, but ceramic ones do, so take that into account when preparing food on your kitchen top.
Like Marble, Granite is porous, and most installers will coat them with a sealer to make them less susceptible to staining. It too can withstand some chemical abuse, though the itself sealer may not, and prolonged exposure to the aforementioned substances will invariably lead to shorter resealing intervals.
Sensa blends the exotic appeal of natural stone, with the durability of engineered surfaces. Slabs are sourced from Brazil and India, and are 20mm thick with a minimum usable slab size of 2.8m x 1.4m.
These stones are then treated with Senguard, which chemically binds to even the internal crevices to create an exclusive anti-stain protection that prevents liquids from penetrating the surface. No annual sealer reapplication is needed with Sensa, and Senguard’s other trump card against its rivals is that it allows the stone to breathe for extra durability, which is a luxury not afforded by conventional sealers.
Dekton is synthesised from a process that combines elements such as porcelain, glass and quartz to create a highly-resistant material. It is non-porous, is extremely durable, and has excellent stain, scratch and UV resistance. It is also heat-resistant up to 300°C, and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Locally, you can find Dekton slabs in 4, 12 and 20mm thicknesses, in 50 different colours. They also offer larger, non-standard slab sizes for their newer range, which is perfect for that instagram-worthy island of your dreams! And you can be sure it will be kept pristine, as it comes with a 25 year warranty for any manufacturing defect!
Silestone is an engineered countertop material that has more than 90% quartzite crystals in its composition. As with most materials destined for use in the kitchen, it is resistant to liquids and scratches, and with its N-BOOST technology, boasts a special surface treatment which facilitates cleaning, maintenance and shine.
Apart from countertops, it can also be used in a wide array of interior applications, such as cladding, sinks, shower trays and flooring. Silestone can be found in more than 90 colours and comes in 2 slab sizes (306 x 140 cm and 325 x 159 cm). Unlike Dekton, Silestone is best used indoors and away from direct sunlight. It too has a 25 warranty for any manufacturing defects!
Cambria is an American-made Quartz Countertop. As with most quartzite composites, it is harder than its natural granite or marble counterpart, making it less likely to scratch, chip or stain.
No sealant is required, and as it is nonporous and nonabsorbent, it is certified food safe, so you don’t have to worry about bacterial growth from raw or leftover food.
Terrazzo’s beginnings were humble – they were originally made with waste marble, granite, quartz and glass chips in Venetian marble factories. It was durable, and low cost, but was never really fashionable.
But Terrazzo is making a comeback! Modern Terrazzo countertops differ from their predecessors, as they are more thermally stable, and do not conduct heat. It will also not burn or be damaged should you place a hot object directly on the surface without a heat pad!
Laminam is a ceramic countertop. As it has to be exposed to extreme heat for it to be manufactured in the first place, hot pots and pans are of no issue should you place them directly on the surface.
It is scratch resistant, virtually impervious to water, and the combination of both those properties mean that it is easy to maintain. It is also non-porous, so you dont have to worry about sealants failing, and unlike Quartz, it is UV resistant.
KompacPlus may be more affordable than the other options on this list, but it definitely punches above its weight. It is made of layers of kraft paper and resin, carefully engineered to be resilient to wear and tear despite only being 6mm thick.
Being a non-porous material, KompacPlus is durable and sterile, and also highly resistant to wear-and-tear, water and steam as well!
The commonality is that all surfaces have been designed to withstand the harshness of a kitchen, all with varying levels of heat and scratch protection. Natural stones are undoubtedly the most visually appealing, though keeping them that way can be fiddlier than that of an engineered surface. Engineered surfaces, quartz, ceramic or otherwise, are harder than their natural counterparts, nonporous, and thus sterile, and require little maintenance. Compact Tops are affordable, and can be made to last, but generally will not fit into the theme of a higher-end renovation!