Kitchen worktops are both a work area and a decorative element of the interior. Therefore, when choosing, it is necessary to evaluate not only the technical characteristics of the product, but also its appearance. Depending on individual preferences, you can choose a stove for every taste and budget.
What should be the work surface
When choosing a kitchen set with a countertop, they always pay attention to the material from which it is made, its appearance and ability to fit into the overall style of the room. Another factor influencing the choice is the price.
The main characteristics that a high-quality countertop for a kitchen table should have:
- Strength and reliability of the material, surface resistance to abrasion.
- Resistant to high temperatures.
- The moisture-resistant work surface does not deteriorate, swell or crumble if it is regularly exposed to water.
- Hygiene. A high-quality countertop does not absorb dirt and odors. It does not breed mold and microorganisms.
- The material from which the work surface is made should not be afraid of mechanical and chemical influences.
- Another advantage of a quality countertop is that it is easy to care for.
Table tops come in a wide range of colors.
First of all, it is worth deciding whether the product will be light or dark. The light working surface of the tables is suitable for an interior decorated in any style. Today, the most popular color for kitchen countertops is white. Glossy white is combined with high-tech, minimalism, loft and Scandinavian styles, matte — with classic and Mediterranean.
If the white color is not suitable, and you need a light plate, you can make it beige or choose another close shade: ivory, champagne, baked milk, vanilla, powdery. Such a work area will be the perfect backdrop for a bright backsplash or headset facades.
Separately, it is worth paying attention to the gray, reminiscent of the color of concrete. Thanks to the popularity of Scandinavian style, loft and high-tech, light and dark gray shades have become leaders in fashion trends in interior design. Such a surface will suit the kitchen in white or different shades of natural wood.
A kitchen with a dark worktop attracts with its practicality. The most versatile in terms of style choice is anthracite black. You can choose from glossy, satin or matte black. Galaxy color is popular — black with a spark.
Kitchens with brown countertops are no less common. It can be all shades of chocolate or coffee of varying intensity. They go well with natural wood and light facades. The choice is good for country, classic, Mediterranean styles and many others.
For the work surface, you can choose a bright, accent color. The most popular: red, burgundy, orange, pink, yellow, blue, green, turquoise, purple.
The color and pattern of countertops often depend on the material chosen, for example, they can be made of natural stone or artificial stone identical to it: granite, marble, onyx, almadine, opal, quartz, malachite, travertine. For the manufacture of plates, various types of natural wood are often used. In this case, the color of the product will depend on its breed.
Countertop materials: pros and cons
There are different types of countertops for the kitchen. The working area can be divided into fragments, when each pedestal has its own top coat. It’s quite ergonomic. The tabletop can be solid. In this case, the working area is a monolithic slab.
Depending on what the countertops are made of, they are natural or artificial. These are wooden or wood-like materials, natural or artificial stone, ceramics, glass, plastic or metal. Each material has a number of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at what countertops are.
For the manufacture of a working area of plastic, the basis is a chipboard or MDF board. The HPL (High Pressure Laminates) plastic coating is made in a hot process. It is distinguished by high strength, wear resistance and other qualities necessary for a good countertop. Thanks to digital printing, plastic imitates any surface and materials. It can be glossy, matte and “shagreen”, have any color, pattern.
Plastic has a relative heat resistance. The plastic surface withstands contact with objects heated up to 230°C, but for a short period of time.
The disadvantages include the following:
- Glossy countertops for the kitchen can cause some inconvenience. It will have to be polished all the time to get rid of fingerprints.
- Features of the base material. If the joints and cuts are poorly insulated, the base can swell and crumble, deforming the plastic. The same goes for damage.
The working surface in the kitchen can be made of ceramic tiles of different sizes. Most often, the same tile is selected for the table and apron. It can be a tile of any size, but most often they use fragments of 10x10 cm or a mosaic. Mosaic surfaces in the kitchen look the best. She, in addition to countertops, covers walls, window sills and an apron.
Ceramics has all the characteristics necessary for working areas. The main drawback is the seams. The smaller the fragments, the more recesses.
The ceramic coating in the kitchen will have to be mounted on special mixtures with antifungal additives, and the seams should be sealed with silicone sealant. On a mosaic countertop in the kitchen, it will have to be changed regularly. It is best to use a special rectified tile without chamfers for the top coating, which is laid in a seamless way.
The best option for countertops and backsplash is tempered glass. It is strong, does not scratch, withstands high temperatures up to 200 ° C and more, including from hot dishes. When breaking the surface, sharp fragments are not formed. It does not require special care.
A feature of the material is that it cannot be drilled and beveled, therefore holes are made and decorative processing is carried out before hardening.
Glass for countertops can be colored, decorated, transparent or matte. It will perfectly fit into any style and design project.
Natural wood, chipboard and MDF
Natural wood as a countertop material has a number of advantages. It is an environmentally friendly, durable material, easy to process and amenable to restoration. It is best to use hardwood: oak, beech, ash, birch, wenge. At the same time, natural wood does not tolerate contact with hot dishes and burns out in the sun. Over time, scratches and stains may appear.
An analogue of natural wood are wood-like materials: chipboard and MDF. For the manufacture of countertops for a kitchen set, the plates are laminated with PVC film, plastic or covered with natural veneer.
Synthetic decorative layer can have any of 150 color options. From chipboard and MDF, you can make a durable, functional and beautiful work surface.
High-quality MDF does not dry out, is not afraid of moisture and mechanical damage, and does not deform. Chipboard has worse technical characteristics. In addition, poor-quality material can release formaldehyde vapors for a long time. Therefore, you need to check with the seller before buying the emission class of the material, which indicates the content of formaldehyde in it.
Natural and artificial stone
Stone countertops for the kitchen have a number of undeniable advantages:
- Durability. Subject to the rules of operation of the selected mineral, a product made from it can last 17 years or longer.
- The beauty. Each plate has a unique shade and pattern.
- Most breeds are resistant to temperature extremes.
- Stone, except marble, does not absorb odors and moisture.
- It is an environmentally friendly, hypoallergenic material.
- The stone has no electrical static, so dust does not accumulate on it.
- Products made of natural stone are characterized by high wear resistance, and if necessary, the surface of the countertop can be updated.
The disadvantages include:
- Large weight and thickness of stone slabs.
- Installation and cutting holes for built-in household appliances will have to be entrusted to specialists.
- Some breeds, such as marble, are more sensitive to harsh chemicals.
- The porous structure, because of which the stone needs special care. It must be regularly treated with sealants containing wax to protect against the penetration of contaminants deep into the pores.
Artificial stone is cheaper and more practical than natural. At the same time, it is characterized by the advantages of a natural mineral — strength and decorativeness. Popular types of artificial material:
- acrylic stone. Mineral filler in acrylic resin. The tabletop from it does not withstand high temperatures.
- Quartz agglomerate. Quartz chips in polymer resin. The material cannot be restored.
A dark kitchen with a light marble top and a white kitchen with a dark countertop made of granite or its artificial counterpart look especially impressive.
A stainless steel countertop is a great solution for the kitchen. The material has all the advantages of a high-quality working coating. The thickness of the metal sheets is 0.8 mm. They are attached to chipboard with liquid nails. Then the edges are bent, the corners are welded, the bends are insulated from below with plastic. Stainless steel top has a mirror or matte surface, can be decorated with a pattern.
The stainless steel top is suitable for any size room and tables of different widths. But not for the corner headset. When forming a corner, sheets of metal will have to be welded, and the seam looks unaesthetic. Dents may appear on the surface if used carelessly. For care, do not use abrasive cleaners, often you have to polish the surface, getting rid of fingerprints.
There are several options for the strategy of choosing the color of the countertop kitchen furniture:
- Under the whole set. In this case, the work surface is selected tone on tone. Such a monochrome composition will be a good background for a bright apron.
- Under the color of individual facades.
- Under an apron. In this case, one material is chosen for their manufacture.
- Under the floor It can be wood, stone, laminated chipboard or tile.
- Under the window sill. Reception is used if the window sill is part of the working area.
- Under the plinth. If the countertop is bright in color, you can paint the baseboard or plinth under it for harmony. But the bright color of work surfaces for the kitchen can be a self-sufficient decoration and cannot be repeated anywhere else in the interior. This countertop will go well with gray, white or black furniture.
- In contrast. A dark set looks great with a light countertop and vice versa. A white kitchen with dark oak, walnut or wenge wooden worktops will look quite contrasting.
Rating of kitchen countertops by price
The most expensive countertop material is natural marble. Other minerals are cheaper.
Products made of precious woods are quite expensive (ebony, mahogany and campas, teak, rosewood, etc.). Cheaper countertops made of wood of less valuable species (oak, beech, etc.).
Stainless steel is an expensive material. Next in price is tempered glass.
Artificial stone is an affordable material, only products made from chipboard and MDF are cheaper.