Chipboard — an economical option
Chipboard. Wood sawdust and shavings are glued together with formaldehyde resins. Depending on the composition with which chipboard is lined, there are 3 types: melamine, veneered, laminated.
Due to the resins included in the composition, it can release formaldehyde that is harmful to health
Durability — holds fasteners well
Possible swelling, deformation due to moisture ingress
Low temperature resistance
Short service life
Our advice. Protect the surface from moisture, wipe the joints dry, use a cutting board, hot coasters — then it will serve you faithfully for a long time.
Wood is an environmentally friendly natural material that adds a folk motif and a modern design approach to the interior.
There are two types of wooden countertops: solid and slab:
A piece of wood that has been processed: dried, sanded, varnished, etc. Looks stylish, modern, relevant. But it is not standard in size. This is more of a design accent than a practical element of a kitchen set. Usually slabs are taken for the manufacture of dining tables, where the load and performance requirements are not so high.
Coating glued from individual blocks of wood of the same species. It is impossible to find a whole piece of wood of the required length and width in nature, so gluing technology is used. The heterogeneity of the bars in color and pattern is visible visually.
Even wood processed and made according to all technologies remains a material that requires care in handling. It is strongly not recommended to put hot objects on them. When cutting products, you must use a cutting board. In a room with a wooden worktop, relative humidity and average temperature must be monitored.
Wooden countertops are more often installed in kitchens where they cook infrequently. They create a special interior background and design approach than practicality.
- environmental friendliness, aesthetics, unique natural texture, pleasant to the touch.
- low performance, high price.
Manufacturers of countertops for the kitchen offer different types of materials with their pros and cons. With a huge selection of coatings, you can always find one that fits a particular kitchen set in appearance, wear resistance and cost.
Plastic — lightweight and affordable
The basis is a chipboard (sometimes MDF), which is covered with a thin layer of durable HPL plastic. They are fastened together under high pressure — this method is called postforming.
If moisture gets inside, peeling and swelling of the plastic occurs.
UV resistant, non-abrasive detergents
Harmful formaldehyde fumes possible
Simple, quite reliable in operation
Short service life
Wide color range
Our advice. The most unprotected place of such a countertop is the joints, so try to think in advance of the location of the sink away from the seams, to avoid excessive contact with water. When installing, it is better to use protective sealants — this will prevent moisture from entering.
Take a look at the comparison table of performance characteristics of the 6 main types of countertops. The results may surprise you: it turned out that the most expensive option is far from the best, and the cheapest one is one of the most practical.
If you are viewing the table on a smartphone, rotate it to a horizontal position — this way the entire table will fit into the screen area.
- From agglomerate
- Made of acrylic stone
- From natural stone
- plastic table top
- stainless steel
|Dirt resistance||Great||satisfactorily||satisfactory *Marble — poor||Great||satisfactorily||Satisfactory *May leave fingerprints, water stains|
|Resistant to cracking and chipping||Great||Great||satisfactorily||Great||satisfactorily||Great|
|Resistant to contact with hot dishes||satisfactorily||poorly||Great||poorly||satisfactorily||Great|
|Resistance to food acids||Great||Great||satisfactory *Marble — poor||satisfactorily||poorly||Great|
|Moisture impermeable||Great||Great||satisfactorily||Satisfactory *But in the seams and joints — bad||poorly||Great|
Acrylic composite — “warm” stone imitation
The composition of the composite includes: resins, mineral components, pigment additives. Under the influence of high temperatures (from 150 C) it becomes plastic, it can be given any shape — for this quality it is highly valued by interior designers. You can read more about this material in the article What is an artificial stone.
Reasonable price, especially when compared with natural materials
Long service life
Low temperature resistance
Moisture resistance, resistance to most food dyes, to household chemicals
Difficulty of installation
Acrylic countertops are 100% repairable
The flexibility of the material allows you to create furniture with rounded smooth shapes
No seams on the surface
Variety of shades, textures
Warm to the touch (accepts ambient temperature)
It is difficult to answer the question of which countertop is better for the kitchen: acrylic or quartz, because each of these materials has its own advantages. Here are some tips to help extend the life of your acrylic surface even further:
- choose matte polishing — possible scratches will not be so noticeable;
- it is better to take light shades and textures with small or medium inclusions — they are the most practical for the kitchen;
- use coasters and cutting boards.
The ideal countertop — what is it?
No matter how obvious it may be, but first of all you need to proceed from your financial capabilities. It is clear that if the budget is unlimited, then there are no problems, but when it is necessary to strictly calculate the costs, then lay a rather large amount on the countertop. Everywhere there are situations when people choose a kitchen from an array, with expensive fittings, but there is no more money for the lid, and you have to buy the cheapest option. From this, of course, the whole design suffers.
It is worth considering the dimensions and style of the room: pompous natural stone is unlikely to be appropriate in a six-meter kitchen, just like laminated chipboard will not fit into a luxurious mansion in a classic style.
- resistant to chips and impacts;
- does not absorb dirt and does not stain;
- tolerates high temperatures;
- not afraid of moisture;
- does not react to acids and other aggressive substances;
- easy to clean;
- being restored;
- beautiful and harmoniously complements the interior;
Unfortunately, there is no material that would 100% meet these conditions.
Quartz agglomerate — respectability and reliability
The main component is crushed quartz chips (90 — 96%), the remaining 4–10% are binder resins and pigments. Due to its almost natural composition, it imitates natural stone as much as possible. You can read more about this material here: How artificial stone countertops are made.
Long service life
Limited choice of colors
Quartz countertops are moisture resistant, resistant to household chemicals, acids
High temperature resistance
Our advice. Agglomerate is a very strong, but completely non-plastic material. Therefore, if you have chosen a countertop of a non-standard shape for yourself, then it is better to make it from acrylic. From quartz, simple forms with clear angles are obtained — the minimalism of a modern style.
How to choose a material for countertops: the advantages of plastic coating
Plastic is an economical option for a budget kitchen. Chipboard with lamination is characterized by important advantages:
- Affordable cost: a beautiful and reliable countertop made of chipboard with plastic is 6–10 times cheaper than the most affordable stone model. The cost depends on the features of the shape and dimensions of the product.
- Finishing options are almost unlimited: imitation of stone and wood, bright colors, printed surfaces.
- Stylistic versatility.
- Reliable and high-quality plastic is a durable, safe and hygienic material.
- The tabletop is easy to clean with special products — plastic withstands the effects of aggressive substances.
- You can safely put hot dishes, the surface is difficult to break, scratch, any dirt is removed without difficulty.
Granite — strength and solidity
A rock of volcanic origin, formed during the slow cooling of magma. The granular structure has different shades: gray, pink, greenish, black.
High temperature resistance
Limited choice of colors (it is important to take plates from one piece, otherwise they may vary markedly in color)
Not impact resistant
Background radiation possible
Our advice. When installing a granite countertop, you need to take into account that this is a heavy material and additional reinforcement will be needed for the lower tier of cabinets.
Criterias of choice
In the process of culinary creativity, table tops undergo various processes associated with cooking: splashes of fat, oil spills, cuts, chips, stains from spilled wine or juice; exposure to extreme temperature changes (hot pots and pans, or frozen food), exposure to moisture (during cleaning), shock (something fell from the top drawer); can be deformed, lose its original attractive appearance, working functionality — all this leads to its unsuitability.
Based on the processes described above, the criterion for suitable qualities of the working surface will be: its durability, practicality, moisture resistance, ease of maintenance, beautiful appearance, safety for health, resistance to temperatures.
The width of the working area is usually standard — about 60 cm, the length depends on the design of the headset itself, the thickness is from 2.7 cm.
It comes in various shapes: rectangular, round, p‑shaped, l‑shaped, square. The length and shape may not be standard, made to order.
Since only the miser pays twice, we will choose a kitchen worktop with the best value for money. To do this, consider the most popular options from which they are made.
Marble — natural beauty and grace
Sedimentary rock has a crystalline structure (composed of calcium carbonate, magnesium). It has a beautiful pattern in the form of veins and stains. More often it is light in color, but depending on the impurities in the composition, it changes shades from yellow to black.
Harmless to health
Long service life
Not resistant to moisture, oils, aggressive substances and acids
Doesn’t fade in the sun
Soft, easy to damage
Joints are visible
Low heat resistance
Our advice. A marble surface needs to be looked after no less than a wooden one:
- avoid traces of dyes, grease stains, active chemical compounds;
- constantly treat the surface with a protective compound;
- use coasters and cutting boards;
- take care of the countertop from chips — it will not be possible to repair such damage.
The kitchen worktop takes all the brunt and is the most stressed element in the entire kitchen. That is why the material should be as resistant as possible to all types of impact, but at the same time have an attractive appearance, because often the countertop flows smoothly into the dining area. To choose the right countertop material and size, it is better to draw up a kitchen design project in advance, and our tips should help you deal with all the variety of materials.
The article was written for the site.