Countertops in the kitchen – features of choice
The tops of a modern kitchen are the facade of the kitchen set, the apron of the working area and the countertop. It is these three whales that create the general concept of the kitchen interior. But if the choice of the first two is dictated primarily by their aesthetic component, and only secondarily by functionality, then the countertop is a rigid symbiosis of two principles. It would seem that aesthetics are secondary compared to its performance. However, the attitude of the person preparing the food is extremely important. And in order to ensure a good mood for the chef, the aesthetic component of his workplace is very essential. Therefore, the kitchen countertop must be beautiful.
What is the functionality of the tabletop?
The countertop is a monolithic or multi-part slab, fixed on kitchen cabinets. Its thickness depends on the material of manufacture and ranges from 2 to 7 cm. Usually, the countertop consists of a base (most often plywood) and cladding. Plastic countertops, which were very popular some time ago, did not show their best side – they turned out to be extremely short-lived. Now, thanks to the development of innovative technologies, a weighty list of materials for the manufacture of countertops for kitchen sets is offered on the furniture market:
a natural stone
These materials are more or less resistant to high temperatures, abrasion, are not afraid of moisture, do not accumulate grease and are easy to clean. However, each of them has its own characteristics, positive and negative sides, both in terms of performance and in relation to their aesthetic component.
Wooden countertops – a tribute to tradition
Wooden countertops look most organically in the style of Provence and loft. They look quite simple, so they fit perfectly into the eco-style. Their soft, warm texture brings coziness and peace to the interior of the kitchen. However, despite the fact that the wood is carefully polished and coated with special oils, it is not strong enough and is subject to mechanical damage in the form of dents and chips under strong physical impact. Modern processing methods protect the wooden countertop from moisture as much as possible, but its operation still requires careful handling. Over time, it darkens beautifully, but still, its operation time is not as durable as countertops made of other materials. Hot objects can spoil its appearance.
Countertops made of laminated chipboard – a symbiosis of strength and decorativeness
This is the most budget option. The protective transparent layer that covers the laminated table top makes it heat, light and wear resistant. In addition, its positive performance characteristics include invulnerability to mechanical shocks, to the chemical effects of solvents, cleaning agents, and other aggressive substances. Rack laminated top and scratches, high temperatures and sunlight. Due to its heat resistance, this type of worktop can be used near the stove without the risk of ignition and deformation. Places of embedded appliances and sinks should be carefully treated with sealant.
Countertops made of natural stone
natural stone countertop
Countertops made of natural stone look luxurious. They are made from sheets of stone blocks, which are given finished features on special equipment. Since their manufacture is very laborious, the cost of countertops made of natural stones is quite high. They are very dense and hygroscopic. Their disadvantage is their heavy weight. In addition, they are not recoverable. Therefore, with the help of a wax pencil it is impossible to eliminate chips. Given their porosity, after installation, a natural stone countertop must be treated with a protective compound. Otherwise, stubborn stains from the liquid can only be removed by polishing it again.
Countertops made of artificial stone
artificial stone countertop
The beauty of these countertops is that, realistically repeating the pattern of natural stone, they do not deform or get dirty, they are heat-resistant and hygroscopic. These countertops are easy to maintain and have an unlimited lifespan, making them the most practical option. Thanks to the greatest variety of textures and colors, countertops made of artificial stone harmoniously fit into any kitchen set.
Very organic for loft or high-tech kitchens. They are characterized by high resistance to mechanical and thermal damage, increased moisture resistance and hygiene. They have a very long service life.
Their disadvantage is that the slightest spots and drops are extremely noticeable on them, even traces of the touch of hands are visible. Therefore, they are suitable for those who maintain sterile cleanliness in the kitchen.