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Kitchen Surfaces that Work for You

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 9 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Kitchen Counter Tops Laminate Granite

The type of counter top you select will have an enormous impact on the look and feel of your kitchen. The many choices available offer varying cost, weight, durability, upkeep and aesthetics. It is important to consider customising each work area of your kitchen with the most appropriate surface. Here is a rundown on some of the most popular options and where and when you may need them.


Laminate is the least expensive option. The benefits of laminate are that is comes in a wide range of colours, patterns and textures and it resists stains and impact. The downfalls are that you cannot cut directly on the surface and the seams are visible.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and repair and come in a wide range of colours and designs. The glazed surface makes them stain resistant and easy to clean. One problem though, is that grout between tiles can stain or mildew. Also, sharp impact can crack tiles.

Rock Maple

Rock maple is also known as butcher block. It has a user-friendly surface and is easy on knife edges. It takes on character as it is used and can be renewed by sanding and oiling. It is however, vulnerable to water, cuts and burns. It requires thorough cleaning when exposed to raw meat or fish. To keep it in condition it needs regular treatment with mineral oil or beeswax.

Solid Surfacing

The advantage of solid surfaces is that they come in a wide range of colours. Their seams are almost invisible and blend in with integral sinks and edging. The surfaces can be damaged by hot pans. This type of surface does require professional installation.

Engineered Stone

Engineered stone has a granite look but is more uniform. It never needs sealing and resists stains, heat and scratches. Engineered stone requires professional installation and repair. The stone is heavy and it also has poor impact resistance compared with real granite, and visible seams.


Granite comes in some very attractive natural colours and patterns. It is the toughest of all counter top material and is the least porous material. It is virtually scratch resistant and is stain resistant if sealed. It is expensive and very heavy and will require professional installation.


Marble can give your kitchen a traditional, old world look. It has a cool, non-stick surface but is porous and prone to stains. It requires professional installation and needs regular sealing.


Limestone is impact, heat and stain resistant. The choice of colours is limited and it required periodic sealing. It is softer than granite and marble.


Concrete can be stained in various colours. Once it is sealed it is resistant to burns, stains and scratches. It requires professional installation and need sealing periodically.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel will give your kitchen a commercial look. It resists heat; it is sanitary and easy to clean. It requires professional installation; shows scratches and fingerprints.

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