If the kitchen is the most functional part of the whole house, the table top is the most functional part of the kitchen. When deciding which countertop to choose, take into account the following criteria:
- moisture resistance;
- ease of care and the ability to withstand the cleaning of aggressive household chemicals;
- tolerance to temperature differences;
- presence / absence of a large number of joints;
- complexity of installation;
- durability and strength, resistance to mechanical damage;
- the possibility of local repair;
- Design and texture that fit into the interior of the kitchen.
There is no universal solution for choosing the material of the kitchen countertop, as each option has its own characteristics, both in terms of performance, and in terms of style, and, of course, cost. Let's analyze the types of countertops and determine which one is right for your kitchen.
Laminate - a budget and popular material for the countertop, which is a chipboard with a protective coating of melamine (plastic). The thicker such a plate, the more expensive and presentable it will be, the thickness can be from 25 mm to 70 mm. And its strength is affected by the thickness of the plastic layer:
- Polish and Russian manufacturers offer a melamine layer thickness of about 0.45 mm;
- German and Italian - up to 0.8 mm.
Melamine perfectly maintains contact with hot (up to 230 ° C) surfaces, does not absorb foreign smells and can be cleaned even with aggressive chemicals. The worktops of the chipboard are also:
- moisture resistance;
- impact resistance;
- great variability in appearance;
- the possibility of self-assembly.
However, the overall service life of such countertops is not the highest. In addition, in the care will need to comply with a number of rules:
- Spots should be removed after appearance immediately, without using abrasives (better - a slightly damp soft cloth);
- If the surface of the laminate is matte, then old stains can be removed with a mixture of liquid cleaner with chalk for polishing;
- To remove grease, waxes or oils, use solvents of organic origin;
- In places of joints, do not allow stagnation of water;
- Do not scratch - use a cutting board.
Artificial stone - acrylic or agglomerate?
Modern composite based on natural stone chips, acrylic resins and pigments is called artificial stone. From it you get the most practical kitchen countertops, easy to care for and with an unlimited lifespan.
Acrylic artificial stone acquires plasticity at high-temperature impact, so that the elements of the table-top are glued together, no matter what form it is. However, acrylic is unstable to mechanical influences and high temperatures and can be damaged by a hot pan or the falling of a heavy object. In addition, on such a tabletop, stains should not be allowed - it is easily colored with food substances.
Another type of artificial stone - alomerat - made from stone crumbs (95% quartz granite or marble). The material is produced by vacuum pressing technology, which allows to ensure durability (up to 20 years), resistance to damage and high temperatures. Such a table top will be presentable and hygienic, however, the agglomerate is produced in standard forms, which will be difficult to adapt to the author's furniture. Moreover, the price of such products is high, and the resulting chips or scratches can not be repaired independently.
For this material is characterized by the widest range - both in color and in manufacturers. So, DuPont produces solid corian, 75% white clay, and more democratic in terms of cost Montelli (the acrylic stone of this company is available in the thickness of more than 12 mm - it can be polished). Korean companies produce affordable artificial jewelery khaneks and polystone. The company Samsung offers acrylic with different grain sizes in the structure - an old man, and German specialists of the company Ligron produce this material on the basis of quartz (quartzelan).
The artificial stone has a low weight, it is easy to care and install, it can not absorb fat - but its surface can never be compared with natural material in beauty. However, not every natural stone is suitable for the kitchen:
- Marble and onyx are used extremely rarely, because because of their porosity and softness they easily absorb all the impurities;
- The most practical is the granite supplied in the slabs. It also differs and a vast palette of colors - you can find even "jaguar skins" (it is clear that the more unusual the color, the higher the price);
- Brazilian slate - its surface must be treated with brushes, so that there are no scratches left. In addition, there is a standard palette of 5 shades - rusty, burgundy, green, blue, black.
Natural stone для столешниц - это всегда красиво, ведь каждый слэб имеет уникальный узор, созданный самой природой. Однако этот материал требует специального ухода и обладает большим весом (придется усиливать нижние тумбы в кухонном гарнитуре) - соответственно, цена обустройства такой кухни будет весьма высока.
Wood as a material for countertops
Traditionally, the kitchen countertop was made from solid wood, and today it is, you can say, a luxury. To produce a massive product, specially prepared lamellas of beech, merbau, wenge, teak or oak are glued together - but such a table top will not deform during long-term operation only if the optimum moisture level is maintained.
Under the wooden can also understand the base of the chipboard with a coating of polished or lacquered veneer.
Care for the wooden table top should be carefully, then it can serve you long:
- Polished surfaces do not take moisture very well, so they are only subjected to dry cleaning;
- a layer of varnish must be periodically updated;
- to eliminate local contaminants, you can use a special mastic - a mixture of equal parts of turpentine and kerosene with wax, melted in steam;
- stains from water on the varnished wood are removed as follows: sprinkled with flour on top, and then rubbed with rags soaked in engine oil.
Kitchen countertops from wood are periodically treated with special protective oils. But household chemicals for cleaning do not use.
For more details, see the material: Guide for choosing a wooden countertop
Choose an alternative - steel, tiles, glass
Traditional options may not suit your exclusive interior. Then we suggest that you pay attention to 3 more non-standard materials for kitchen countertops:
Metal (stainless steel) It is an ideal material for kitchen tops in high-tech style. It has a long service life, it is resistant to dirt, moisture, temperature changes, fungi and mold, it is easily maintained in perfect cleanliness and is not exacting for detergents. However, for the classic style, stainless steel is absolutely not suitable. In addition, it will have to be polished regularly.
Strained glass - quite expensive and exotic material. Completely glass countertops for the kitchen are made rarely - as a rule, we are talking about small decorative inserts. The glass looks incredibly impressive, but difficult to care for and has a low wear resistance.
The creative can also be called a table top made of ceramic tilesIdeal for interior in country style. But interlacing seams are considered the weakest point in this design, as they quickly become contaminated. In addition, from the mechanical effects on the tile may appear chipped.
Do not forget that even the most refined material should be practical if it is planned to make a kitchen countertop. However, the design does matter - the texture and color of the countertops must correspond to the overall design concept of the kitchen.
We hope that this article will help you to choose the ideal table-top for the kitchen, which will decorate its interior and serve for a long time.