Kitchen Countertops … Some Tips for Making a Smarter Choice for Your Kitchen

There are really only four countertop materials that you have to deal with. They are; Tile, Laminate, Butcher Block and Solid Surface. Within these four categories, of course, there are many sub-catagories and options, and you should know what your choices are, as they each have properties germane to your taste, lifestyle and budget. In play as well, is your desire to do the project yourself or not.TileThis is really the do-it-yourselfer’s dream.Countertops for Kitchens and Bathrooms – MSI Countertops They can be purchased, on sale, sometimes for less than seventy five cents each for a 12″x12″ ceramic tile! At that price, one could tile the countertops AND the floor for less than you’d expect to pay for a countertop alone. Tile comes in sizes from 4″ to 16″ and prices from fifty cents to fifteen dollars (and up) each! There are so many colors and textures, you’re sure to find something that will please the whole family.Installation is easy (and fun) and a countertop project can be accomplished in a weekend by the average homeowner. Since you’ll be working one tile at a time, mistakes can be fixed as you go, and there are several ways to finish the edges, including wood trim. You will have to rent or buy a tile saw and a few specific tools, however, and make sure you’ll be able to live with, because of the grout, an uneven surface. Talk to someone in the tile department at one of the big boxes.LaminateLaminate comes in pre-made sections for your particular counters or in raw sheets which you have to cut and glue yourself. You know this product by names like Wilsonart™ and Formica™. The pre-made sections are the easiest to work with and you can buy them made with the backsplash and edging incorporated into the finished section. All you, or your contractor, have to do is attach them. They’re even made with 45 degree angles for “L” shaped counters.This is the least expensive option if you want a perfectly smooth countertop to roll Quartz countertops your pizza dough on! Butcher BlockThis choice can have a warm and inviting appearance or an edgy look, depending on the appliances, the finish and the backsplash treatment. Butcher Block was probably the first countertop material, and is used by top chefs and butchers today because of its durability, hardness and ability to withstand force. Germs and bacteria have nowhere to go, as these are very hard and non-porous and these clean with a simple wiping.You’ll need to re-oil every few months and standing water may cause staining, but cleanup is very easy. Be careful with hot pots and pans as these ARE wood and will burn. Also, certain juices and liquids will stain. Unlike the other countertops, however, you can sand these! Moderately priced, but look for sales.Solid SurfaceAs the name implies, these are solid. Same pattern and colors all the way through. At one time, these could only be installed by a professional, because of the relationship between the manufacturers and the contractors, but not any more. Today you can order from one of the big boxes or even online, have them custom made and delivered to your home! Remember, though, measure twice. Solid Surface is the most expensive of the four … and you don’t want to pay more than once! Again, talk with a salesperson.