In a kitchen set, the worktop acts as a tabletop. And it is it that accounts for the largest share of possible impacts. Moreover, the matter is not limited to only one mechanical effect, and it is affected by moisture, temperature, in the range from hot to minus zero, chemicals and various compounds of natural origin, such as spilled broths, sauces, etc. of her external qualities, it is unreasonable, and this can turn into a waste of money.
Currently, on the kitchen furniture market, you can find worktops of a variety of types and different price categories. It is very easy for a person who has not delved into this issue to get confused and acquire that “gold”, which, figuratively speaking, only “shines” and no more. For this reason, you should carefully consider all the most common types of countertops with the exception of exotic ones, and the reader himself will draw conclusions based on his needs.
The cost of a countertop is primarily determined by the material from which it is made and only then by design and other factors. Most of them are made from chipboard or MDF. Plywood products are quite common. From above, they can be trimmed with anything. The thickness of the slab is of great importance. In most cases, it ranges from 2 to 6 centimeters. And, of course, the thicker it is, the stronger it is. For worktops made of the aforementioned materials, the optimal thickness is 3-5 cm, especially if a hob is supposed to be installed. True, thin countertops have recently come into fashion, but they are made from other materials and it is not known how long this fashion will last.
In recent years, artificial stone countertops have become more and more popular. Their main advantage is their picturesque appearance and texture, which are often indistinguishable from a real stone. A plywood sheet is usually used as a base, on which an artificial stone, about 12 mm thick, is attached with the help of special glue.
True, as the practice has shown, there is no particular difference between a thickness of 12 mm and a thickness of 3 mm, since the artificial stone is very strong. It is worth noting that thicker countertops weigh more. At the same time, the artificial stone is well polished. Consequently, a thicker countertop can be polished more often.
The stone itself is made from multi-colored granules and polymer glue, which perfectly imitate natural stone. This material is distinguished by a high plasticity, which makes it possible to give it any shape, which is used for kitchens with non-standard layouts, for radius facades, etc. True, if the tabletop is made of cheap material, then it is not so plastic and somewhat more fragile. For this reason, a curved shape is not always given to them. But for straight kitchens, a countertop made of inexpensive material may well be suitable.
The color scheme of the artificial stone can be almost any, and it feels warm and smooth to the touch. The most important advantage of artificial stone is that it does not absorb moisture and makes it possible to connect the countertop so that there are no visible joints.
Basically, all artificial stone countertops can be divided into acrylic and agglomerate countertops. When choosing a countertop, it is useful to find out what the composition used (fillers, resins) is. The variety of these components can be quite large and it is useful to find out if there are any harmful ones among them.
Acrylic surfaces are somewhat inferior to agglomerate since they are not able to withstand high temperatures and are quite easily scratched. For this reason, abrasive products should not be used in their care. Unlike acrylic, the agglomerate is not scary, and it is resistant even to solvents and acids. True, it also has drawbacks: it is cold enough and cannot be restored. In other words, the damaged agglomerate will remain so. Another important difference between acrylic and agglomerate is that acrylic countertops have no seams, no matter how long they are. But the agglomerate countertops with a length of more than three meters have it. The disadvantage of the seam is that over time, various microorganisms will surely accumulate in it.
Agglomerate slabs are more difficult to transport and install, they are more difficult to manufacture and, of course, their cost will be higher than that of an acrylic slab. It is important that acrylic gives much more room for creativity than agglomerate. It can take any shape, but only a rectangular slab and with a very small range of colors can be made from the agglomerate. Some customers order worktops made of agglomerate entirely. But it is too expensive, plus a lot of weight. For this reason, the thickness of the slab is usually reduced. There is a way out of this dual situation in the form of a side, which is simply glued to visually make the countertop thicker.
The main advantage of such countertops is the incomparable shade and texture, which for many owners mean much more than some of the disadvantages inherent in this material. First of all, it is worth looking at the drawing of the countertop. If it is made of natural stone, then it will be unique, since nature does not produce copies. As a rule, granite is used for the kitchen, which has a high density and is the least hygroscopic compared to other rocks.
Natural stone countertop
Its advantages are:
As for marble, it is also used, but it is undesirable to use it for kitchens since it is easily scratched and gets dirty quickly.
When buying, it is very important to find out about the guarantees from the seller and the manufacturer. You should also find out what exactly is included in the warranty and how long it is.
This type is perhaps the most popular. Its advantages:
Unfortunately, their base is vulnerable to moisture. For this reason, when installing a sink, it is necessary to achieve sealing of its edges and the end of the countertop. Especially for these purposes, a sealing cord is included with the sink. It will not be superfluous to use a colorless sealant.
In the kitchen furniture market, you can find countertops made of moisture-resistant chipboard of foreign production, but their price is significantly higher. Of course, the sheets of plastic that cover the countertops cannot be the same size, so they are glued together. Therefore, when buying, you need to see if the seams are visible. If you can see them, it is better to refuse to buy the product, since there should be no seams with a high-quality finish.
Choosing a suitable product, it is advisable to purchase one that in its width would be somewhat wider than the rest of the headset. This is necessary so that when working, clothes do not cling to the handles of the boxes below. You should carefully look at the finish of the end surfaces of all edges. Ideally, the side trim should be polypropylene, steel or acrylic. If it is also trimmed with plastic, then the model should be treated with suspicion.
An important factor is the shade of the surface. Whatever material the surface is covered with, sooner or later stains appear on it, which no product can cope with. Therefore, it is better to refuse to buy plain countertops. The smudges will be least noticeable on a dark surface with a pattern, stripes, streaks, etc. And in order to disguise scratches, which are also an inevitable evil, it is better to give preference to matte surfaces, since glossy scratches are simply striking.
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