Coun­ter­tops 101

Ev­ery­thing you need to know about trend­ing, cot­tage-friendly coun­ter­top ma­te­ri­als, at your fin­ger­tips.

Cottages & Bungalows - - Extra -

When it comes to ren­o­vat­ing a kitchen or bath­room, there’s a lot to think through.

The sur­faces where you get ready for the day or pre­pare meals need to be func­tional workspaces. They create an en­vi­ron­ment and set a tone, so find­ing the perfect style and de­sign is a pri­or­ity. Here we give you all the de­tails on to­day’s trend­ing coun­ter­top ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing pric­ing, dura­bil­ity and main­te­nance tips. Take a quick in­ven­tory in your mind, think about your needs, and read on to find the perfect coun­ter­top ma­te­rial for your home. 1. Mar­ble AV­ER­AGE COST: $50–$100 per sq. ft. The nat­u­ral vein­ing and shine of this stone means no two are alike. With a va­ri­ety of col­ors and fin­ishes, mar­ble brings an inim­itable depth and el­e­gance. Hand­pick your de­sign for the price that suits your budget. With the ex­cep­tion of high-end mar­ble, such as Ital­ian Cala­catta, most mar­ble is mod­er­ately priced. The strong stone with­stands daily wear and tear, and re­sists high tem­per­a­tures. How­ever, if it gets scratched or chipped, re­pairs are costly. Mar­ble is sus­cep­ti­ble to acid etch­ing and stain­ing too, so be ready to em­brace im­per­fec­tions. Use a rep­utable stone fab­ri­ca­tor to in­stall your mar­ble coun­ter­tops to help pre­vent fu­ture dam­age. CARE AND MAIN­TE­NANCE:

• Blot spills with a pa­per towel, ap­ply wa­ter and mild soap to flush the liq­uid away, and rinse and dry.

• For tough stains, a bak­ing soda poul­tice may be sub­sti­tuted for soap. • Re­seal ev­ery 1–3 years.

BEST FOR: Bring­ing in­di­vid­u­al­ized style and time­less ap­peal into

the home.

2. Gran­ite

AV­ER­AGE COST: $50–$170 per sq. ft. Gran­ite of­fers the most ex­otic color and de­sign op­tions on the mar­ket. It is con­sid­ered to be scratch- and heat-re­sis­tant, wa­ter-sealed and easy to clean. Leav­ing hot pans on the sur­face or cut­ting di­rectly on gran­ite is not rec­om­mended. But it is un­likely to crack or chip. Th­ese

ben­e­fits do come at a price, how­ever, as gran­ite is one of the most ex­pen­sive coun­ter­top ma­te­ri­als to­day. But once pur­chased, the ma­te­rial re­quires min­i­mal up­keep and re­pairs. CARE AND MAIN­TE­NANCE:

• Use wa­ter to wipe up spills. For pe­ri­odic clean­ing, use a gen­tle stone cleaner.

• For tough stains, a bak­ing soda poul­tice may be sub­sti­tuted for soap. • Re­seal ev­ery 3–5 years.

BEST FOR: In­vest­ing in life­long beauty. Bonus: Its dura­bil­ity makes it a fan­tas­tic choice for an avid baker.

3. Quartz

AV­ER­AGE COST: $40–$100 per sq. ft. Quartz, of­ten re­ferred to as en­gi­neered stone, is a man­made ma­te­rial that of­fers uni­for­mity in its de­sign. It is avail­able in many col­ors and can mimic the look of a nat­u­ral stone coun­ter­top. Durable and non­porous, quartz is stain­proof, crack-re­sis­tant and heat-re­sis­tant. In fact, quartz does not need to be re­sealed, waxed or pol­ished. If you’re skep­ti­cal about the price, re­mem­ber that quartz re­quires lit­tle main­te­nance and few re­pairs. Tip: Al­though quartz and quartzite sound sim­i­lar, quartzite is por­ous and must be re­sealed an­nu­ally. CARE AND MAIN­TE­NANCE:

• Clean with wa­ter, mild soap and a soft cloth or sponge.

• Use a glass or sur­face cleaner to get rid of the tougher stains.

BEST FOR: An easy-care so­lu­tion and unique de­sign.

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