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How to Choose Kitchen Countertops: Advantages, Disadvantages and Inspiration

How to Choose Kitchen Countertops: Advantages, Disadvantages and Inspiration
How to Choose Kitchen Countertops: Advantages, Disadvantages and Inspiration, © Martina Gemmola. ImageCasa de Gatos / WOWOWA Architects
© Martina Gemmola. ImageCasa de Gatos / WOWOWA Architects

One of the most practical and functional spaces of any residential project is the kitchen. Its artificial surfaces – be it countertops, kitchen benches, or coverings – contain most of the space's equipment. Thus, it’s essential to build kitchens with the most resistant and hygienic materials. Aside from these requirements, it's also important to pay attention to aesthetics and profitability, while adapting the space to the dynamics of each family. 

© Nikole Ramsay. ImageBluebird Townhouses / Altereco Design © Oliver Smith. ImageCreative Kitchen Designs and Their Details: The Best Photos of the Week © Josefotoinmo. ImageGAS House / OOIIO Arquitectura © Dmitry Tsyrencshikov. ImageStudio11 Minsk Office / Studio11 + 38

© Sandra Pereznieto. Imagealbino ortega house / Rozana Montiel | Estudio de Arquitectura
© Sandra Pereznieto. Imagealbino ortega house / Rozana Montiel | Estudio de Arquitectura

In the following article, we have gathered some of the most common kitchen materials used today and noted the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Granite

Granite is a natural stone with a unique print and colors. Since it is relatively heat resistant, it is the most preferred option for kitchens and bathrooms.

© Christopher Frederick-Jones. ImageResidencia B&B / Hogg&Lamb
© Christopher Frederick-Jones. ImageResidencia B&B / Hogg&Lamb

Advantages
Long-lasting. Easy to clean and maintain. Excellent cost-benefit ratio. Impact-resistant.

Disadvantages
Not always resistant to acidic food or products.

© Fernando Gomulya. ImageFlick House / Delution
© Fernando Gomulya. ImageFlick House / Delution

Marble

Marble may be one of the most sophisticated material options due to its imposing and elegant appearance. Since it's made of natural limestone, each streak of its composition is unique.

© Robert Watson Photography. ImageCurvy Eco Home / Craig Race Architecture
© Robert Watson Photography. ImageCurvy Eco Home / Craig Race Architecture

Advantages
High aesthetic value and heat resistant. It is a homogeneous material and easy to clean.

Disadvantages
Extremely expensive. It must be sealed with antibacterial staining and antibacterial resin due to its high porosity. Low impact resistance. 

© Scott Frances. ImageShore House / LSS
© Scott Frances. ImageShore House / LSS

Artificial Stones

Artificial stones are generally made from shredded natural minerals like marble or quartz, which are mixed with a specific resin. When designing with artificial stones, it is necessary to work with serious providers or companies to ensure their quality.

© Jack Jérôme. ImageCasa Rivard / L’Abri
© Jack Jérôme. ImageCasa Rivard / L’Abri

Advantages
Artificial stones are a standardized and homogeneous material, given their industrialized production. Surfaces made of this material are not porous, and do not stain, so they can be easily maintained and cleaned. They have a wide range of colors and finishes.

Disadvantages
Costly in comparison to more conventional options. Low resistance to heat and absorption.

© Mike Baker. ImageThe Courtyard House / Auhaus Architecture
© Mike Baker. ImageThe Courtyard House / Auhaus Architecture
© Alain Brugier. ImageDijon Kitchen / Diego Revollo Arquitetura
© Alain Brugier. ImageDijon Kitchen / Diego Revollo Arquitetura

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile countertops are trending and are here to stay. They are relatively resistant, plus their durability and impermeability stand out as their main advantages.

Triple Barn House / Mork-Ulnes Architects. Image © Bruce Damonte
Triple Barn House / Mork-Ulnes Architects. Image © Bruce Damonte

Porcelain is, without a doubt, one of the materials that offer the most finish options, since it is made from the same coating that is specialized for floors and walls and thus makes projects with unique combinations possible. It is also the only option that can be manipulated to resemble other materials like marble, wood, or concrete, among others.

Via Dornbracht. ImageKitchen Fittings - Elio
Via Dornbracht. ImageKitchen Fittings - Elio

Advantages
Aside from its large number of finishing options, it barely absorbs any water and is very resistant to physical and chemical abrasion. Porcelain is also easy to clean.

Disadvantages
When designing with porcelain, it is necessary to work with specialized companies to guarantee impact resistance. Porcelain must also be implemented with a reinforced structure.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an option that ensures one of the the highest rates of asepsis due to its impermeability. It is one of the best materials to use in industrial kitchens because of its resistance to heat and bacteria, and it would likely be used more often in residential kitchens as well if it were not for its high production cost.

© Francis Pelletier . ImageLa Luge / YH2 Architecture
© Francis Pelletier . ImageLa Luge / YH2 Architecture

Advantages
Very hygienic, practical, and long-lasting.

Disadvantages
Highly expensive and scratches extremely easily.

© Michael Evans. ImageEvans House / A4ESTUDIO
© Michael Evans. ImageEvans House / A4ESTUDIO
© Bill Timmerman. ImageBlackbird House / Will Bruder Architects
© Bill Timmerman. ImageBlackbird House / Will Bruder Architects

Concrete

Wood and concrete are similarly effective for finishes of rustic kitchens, as well as for more contemporary features. This is a highly resistant and economic material. There are many techniques for coloring the concrete, which widens the variety of possible finishes to be applied.

© Christian Maldonado. ImageFVB House / Claudia Haguiara Arquitetura
© Christian Maldonado. ImageFVB House / Claudia Haguiara Arquitetura

Advantages
Its appearance is versatile and its production is economic, requiring only cement, sand, and water.

Disadvantages
It requires the use of specific products to prevent infiltration. It is highly porous and has little resistance to stains. Concrete is not a hygienic material and it is recommended to use stone or glass tables when handling food around it.

© Ricardo Oliveira Alves. ImageSea Front Villa / ARQ TAILOR'S Architecture & Interiors
© Ricardo Oliveira Alves. ImageSea Front Villa / ARQ TAILOR'S Architecture & Interiors

Wood

One of the most versatile materials for composing various ambiances, from rustic to contemporary. It provides warmth and is very practical to install. Oak, walnut, and beech are the most commonly used in construction.

© Florian Holzherr. ImageThe Black House / Buero Wagner
© Florian Holzherr. ImageThe Black House / Buero Wagner

Advantages
Very practical installation.

Disadvantages
Low resistance to heat and low impact resistance to sharp objects. Requires strict protection and maintenance for effective contact with water.

© Bram Tack. ImageHOUSE SJ / STAARC ingenieurs en architecten
© Bram Tack. ImageHOUSE SJ / STAARC ingenieurs en architecten
© Akihide Mishima. ImageKitchens that Double As Dining Rooms: Architectural Design Inspiration
© Akihide Mishima. ImageKitchens that Double As Dining Rooms: Architectural Design Inspiration

Glass

When made out from tempered glass, the material can be quite safe. It can also be treated with anti-stains and antibacterial solutions. The available options include transparent, translucent, textured, and colored glass.

© Kenta Hasegawa. ImageGarage Hall House / Tsukagoshi Miyashita Sekkei + Keitarchi
© Kenta Hasegawa. ImageGarage Hall House / Tsukagoshi Miyashita Sekkei + Keitarchi

Advantages
Stain-resistant. Easy to clean and maintain. Combines with practically all kinds of finishes.

Disadvantages
Expensive to make and install.

© The Raws. ImageGenius Loci House / Gabriela Carrillo Valdez + tescala
© The Raws. ImageGenius Loci House / Gabriela Carrillo Valdez + tescala

Steatite

Steatite is a natural stone – also known as soapstone – that is commonly used in clinics and laboratories since it is very resistant to acid products.

© Praveen Mohandas. ImageMaison Kochi / Meister Varma Architects
© Praveen Mohandas. ImageMaison Kochi / Meister Varma Architects

Advantages
One of the most long-lasting options.

Disadvantages
Has lower heat resistance than other natural stones such as granite. Requires constant maintenance, including lubrication and polishing.

© Michael Lassman. ImageLiving Screen House / CplusC Architectural Workshop
© Michael Lassman. ImageLiving Screen House / CplusC Architectural Workshop

© Grant Sparkes-Carroll. ImageClerestory House / Pearson Architecture
© Grant Sparkes-Carroll. ImageClerestory House / Pearson Architecture

References

  • 'Bancada de cozinha: 65 inspirações para sua casa'. https://casaeconstrucao.org/projetos/bancada-de-cozinha. Accessed July 15, 2019.
  • https://projetos.habitissimo.com.br/projeto/10-tipos-de-bancadas-que-definirao-a-personalidade-de-sua-cozinha. Accessed July 15, 2019.
  • https://www.homify.com.br/livros_de_ideias/4087883/8-revestimentos-de-bancadas-de-cozinha-vantagens-e-desvantagens-de-cada-tipo. Accessed July 15, 2019.

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About this author
Cite: Migliani, Audrey. "How to Choose Kitchen Countertops: Advantages, Disadvantages and Inspiration" [Como escolher bancadas de cozinhas: vantagens, desvantagem e inspirações] 06 Sep 2019. ArchDaily. (Trans. Franco, José Tomás) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/923325/how-to-choose-kitchen-countertops-advantages-disadvantages-and-inspiration/> ISSN 0719-8884
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