Guide to choosing the right material for the kitchen counter.
Do you want to renovate your kitchen and don’t know which material to choose for your kitchen counter? Fenix, wood, quartz? This choice is important, because the counter often determines the style of decoration.
Guide to the characteristics of each material.
- The Dekton – $$$
Appearance: Dekton is an ultra-compact surface produced by Cosentino . It is available in more than 45 colors, several sizes and thicknesses of slabs. It therefore fits easily into different design styles both indoors and outdoors.
Composition: The Dekton is unique! It is an alloy of inorganic minerals of natural origin. Their molecules are compacted by a 25,000-ton press, placed in an oven and gradually heated to a temperature of 1,200 ° C. The result is one of the densest and strongest materials in the world. The Dekton is 100% mineral without resin binder, like quartz.
Durability / resistance: The Dekton surface is extremely resistant to UV rays, scratches, stains, thermal shocks and has almost zero porosity. This material seduces as much by its healthy and absolutely hygienic side. Dekton is the only material that supports thermal shock. For these reasons, it can even be used in an outdoor kitchen.
Maintenance: As its absorption rate is almost nonexistent, it never needs to be sealed. It is therefore easy to maintain and clean. Nothing stains it and cleaning with water and regular soap is enough to restore its cleanliness.
- Quartz – $$ to $$$
Appearance: Natural quartz is offered in a multitude of colors, textures and thicknesses, which allows endless possibilities of appearances.
Composition: Quartz an engineering stone composed of a mixture of quartz, resin and color pigments. We recommend coatings made by Caesarstone, as they contain up to 93% natural quartz.
Durability / resistance: Quartz has a low porosity surface. It is very resistant to shocks, scratches, stains and acidic foods such as lemon, vinegar or wine. Since quartz is sensitive to heat, avoid placing hot dishes directly on the work surface.
Maintenance: Its cleaning and maintenance are easy. This involves cleaning it with soap and water with a neutral pH, to keep it looking intact. Quartz does not require a sealer.
- Le Vetrazzo – $$$
Appearance: Vetrazzo pushes the limits of natural stone! This innovative Californian product is an ecological choice, being created from discarded glass products. Unique and upscale, it embellishes the kitchen with its charming varied colors. The plates are available in several thicknesses: 1, 2 and 3 cm.
Composition: It is made from recycled glass and no polymer or resin is used in its production, made from various post-consumer and post-industrial sources. Composed of 560 pounds of recycled glass per slice, it is a handmade product.
Durability / resistance: Vetrazzo is an extremely durable surface. It is comparable to granite in terms of scratch and heat resistance, as well as its durability.
Maintenance: Caring for Vetrazzo surfaces is as easy as caring for natural stone. It requires no sealant and its non-porous surface resists stains. So just clean it with a damp cloth!
- Granite – $$
Appearance: Granite offers a wide variety of colors. These variances being natural, they ensure the uniqueness of the material. Granite is available in different types of finishes (polished, mat, antique or burnt).
Composition: Granite is a natural magmatic stone mainly composed of three minerals:
Durability / resistance: The granite countertop is a sustainable investment since it is very resistant to scratches, humidity, stains, acid products and heat (over 300 ° C). In addition, it is little or not porous, a characteristic sought in a kitchen. It has average resistance to splinters.
Maintenance: The daily cleaning of the granite must be done with a mild soap (avoid abrasive products). It is also recommended to apply a layer of sealer on its surface every year.
- Marble – $$ to $$$
Appearance: The marble presents breathtaking variances. Unique, it can come in a wide variety of colors and its appearance can reveal streaks. The marble is polished for a glossy or matte finish.
Composition: Marble is a sedimentary stone derived from limestone, 100% natural.
Durability / resistance: Marble is very fragile because it is porous. It has low resistance to stains, scratches and chips. That is why it is better to use marble only in particular areas of the kitchen. It is an ideal surface for preparing cooked food or pastries. However, it has good heat resistance.
Maintenance: Marble requires a lot of maintenance. It is highly recommended to apply three coats of sealer over the counter every six months. To clean it, the surface requires daily care with soapy water. By avoiding acidic foods and abrasive products, marble maintains its original appearance more easily.
- Quartzite – $$$
Appearance: Quartzite is similar to granite or marble depending on its color, and never presents clear colors, but rather a set of lively and harmonious colors.
Composition: It is a 100% natural metamorphic stone formed from sandstone heated naturally inside the earth’s crust and pressed by the movement of tectonic plates.
Durability / resistance: Quartzite is rather porous and its robustness varies according to its color. Generally, it has good heat resistance and medium resistance to scratches and chips.
Maintenance: It is recommended to apply three coats of sealer every six months and to clean the stone daily with soapy water. An impregnator can also be used to temporarily waterproof it in order to increase its resistance to stains.
- Le Fenix - $$
Appearance: Thanks to its technology, Fenix has advanced properties, in addition, an extremely matt surface, soft to the touch and anti-fingerprint.
Composition : The composition of the Fenix surface involves the use of nanotechnology (engineering and manufacturing of materials and products from fine particles) and is obtained thanks to new generation resins.
Durability / resistance: Fenix resists mold and has improved antibacterial properties. It also resists scratches and abrasion, as well as acidic foods and household products. These characteristics make it an efficient material.
Maintenance: This innovative material is distinguished by properties which facilitate normal cleaning and does not require any particular maintenance.
- Slate – $$
Appearance: The slate has rich nuances and fine grains of pleasant subtlety. Given the differences in slate tiles, each counter has a unique character. Its finish, generally antique polished, gives a mat appearance.
Composition: Slate is a metamorphic rock, formed naturally under strong conditions of pressure and temperature. This natural stone is very popular with professionals in the world of design and decoration. To optimize the beauty of the material, a neutral sealer or color enhancer is applied during its manufacture.
Durability / resistance: Slate is often described as eternal for its recognized resistance to heat and acids. In addition, it does not easily flake or scratch. In the event of an accident, deeper scratches can be removed by sanding followed by the application of mineral oil.
Maintenance: Slate has long been used for laboratory counters, given its impermeability. It is therefore ideal for kitchen countertops, as it does not tend to harbor bacteria. This material requires periodic maintenance with soapy water. An application of vegetable or mineral oil is recommended every two to six months.
- Wood – $$
Appearance: This material recalls the charm of yesteryear and gives a warm atmosphere to modern kitchens. Wood is a living material whose appearance changes over time. This is what makes its charm and its unique aspect, but also its fragility. For work surfaces, the choice of hard wood is preferred, such as cherry and maple.
Composition: Wood is a noble material that offers a host of original variants such as mahogany, cherry, walnut, cherry, maple or oak. A host of exotic species and types of assemblies are also offered (flat, coated, tip, etc.).
Durability / resistance: Since wood reacts to moisture, it is best to avoid installing it near the sink. Watch out for stains! The wood is not very resistant. It is also a material sensitive to heat. The choice of species determines the resistance of the counter and its price.
Maintenance: Daily maintenance of a wood counter is very easy. It can be sanded as needed. However, to preserve its color and give it a certain impermeability, it must be varnished regularly. It must be maintained several times a year with linseed oil in order to waterproof it and strengthen its resistance to scratches. For hygienic reasons, get into the habit of removing food residue from the surface, then wash it with detergent.
- Stainless steel – $$
Appearance: Stainless steel (also called inox or stainless) has a neutral look that goes perfectly with any style. Its radiance captures and reflects light, giving an effect of grandeur to the space.
Composition: It is an alloy of steel, chromium and nickel (in variable proportions). For a counter, the stainless steel sheet must be in one piece. Little more: it is fully recyclable!
Durability / resistance: Stainless steel is heat resistant and easy to clean. As it is non-porous, it does not absorb stains, liquids, bacteria and odors. It is advisable to use a cutting board, because stainless steel is easily scratched. It is also recommended to use a trivet, as the heat can cause the material to expand. Resistant and 100% hygienic, stainless steel has a lifespan of several decades and ages over time.
Maintenance: In the kitchen, stainless steel is an ally! With a simple hot soapy water, the surface will become impeccable. And for small fingerprints, a simple microfiber wipe will do the job!
- Laminate – $
Appearance: Laminate has come a long way! It is the cheapest material and the one that offers the widest range of choices: dozens of colors, patterns, material effects (concrete, wood, stainless steel).
There are two types of laminate counter: molded and square top (flat top). When molded, it is prefabricated in one piece and without any visible joint.
Composition: The laminate is a composite panel generally composed of overlapping kraft paper sheets and a decorative paper sheet, all impregnated with melamine resin.
Durability / resistance: The laminate is non-porous, which prevents the accumulation of dirt and bacteria. it is resistant to water and impact, but fragile to heat, acid stains and scratches. It is therefore important to use cutting boards and trivets.
Maintenance: Besides its daily cleaning, it does not require any particular maintenance. Just wash the counter with a damp cotton cloth and mild soap, or scrub the sticky residue with a nylon brush.
- Concrete – $
Appearance: Concrete charms with its refinement and timelessness. The wide range offered makes it possible to choose the color, the aggregate or even to combine it with other materials. Since it is custom made, the concrete counter offers a lot of versatility.
Composition: Concrete countertops are handcrafted surfaces that offer complete customization. In the aggregate composing the concrete, a binder is generally added. Other materials can also enter into its manufacture and vary according to the desired result (sand, gravel, stone, crushed glass, etc.).
Durability / resistance: Of course, the resistance of concrete countertops is based on a few factors, including its thickness. It is a material with unlimited life and heat resistant. However, as it is porous and fragile, it does not resist oils and essences and is easily scratched. Over time, the humidity and drying cycle of countertop maintenance can cause cracks.
Maintenance: Concrete countertops require good maintenance, but are easily repairable. Very porous and can be stained (wine, coffee, oil, etc.), it is essential to apply a sealer to them on the one to three years, such as polyurethane or epoxy. To ensure regular maintenance over the surface of the sealer, wax can also be applied.