Kitchen: 10 materials for your countertop
Kitchens have to stand the test of time, so don't be too hasty with your choice of material for your island or countertop.
You must start by defining well the priorities and difficulties posed by the distribution of your kitchen. This space is often used for the family to live in, so you'll need to choose a stylish and easy material to maintain while keeping in mind that size and cost also come into play. Read these tips before you go ahead with customizing your kitchen.
Creativity in laminate. Laminate remains one of the most popular materials because its cost does not detract from its decorative potential. It is available in an infinite range of colors, patterns, and effects to create many different combinations. However, it is not as resistant as we would like to shocks and heat, so never put on top of a dish just out of the oven without adequate protection.
For star chefs, stainless steel. It has a professional look that blends well with large family kitchens. It is ideal for countertops and islands and blends perfectly with white. Stainless steel is durable, easy to maintain, and resists heat and stains, although it easily warps and scratches.
Stainless steel is hygienic and can withstand the most vigorous cleaning agents, although susceptible to deformation. Always use a cutting board or an underplate. Or better yet, protect it daily with a wooden block.
Tip: you can clean it periodically with a particular product protecting it and restoring its shine.
Corian is a trend-setting and elegant material. It is very soft to the touch and particularly impact-resistant made of synthetic resin. "But the most remarkable thing about this material is that it is the only one that can be produced in long lengths without joints - this worktop is 4.40 m long! Instead, the Corian panels are glued and sanded until the joints are invisible," says Vincent from Feld Architecture, who was in charge of the project in the photograph.
Available in a hundred colors, this product is perfect for designers who have learned to make the most of it. Maple drawers are recessed in this countertop for storing everyday dishes. Inside are sockets for the toaster or any other small appliance.
Caution: Corian marks easily and does not tolerate wine, tea, or coffee stains. The surface can be polished to restore its purity, but a professional should carry out this operation.
Resin also has the advantage of perfectly imitating natural stones such as granite or stoneware and is ideal for playing on the contrast between black and white. Here it is cleverly combined with a slate-colored painted wall, which is very practical for any kitchen.
Concrete is a solid option. This material has already made its mark on the floors and walls of contemporary homes. The latest trend is the cast concrete countertops, raw or colored, and its installation should always be done by a professional who will take care of varnishing it so that nothing leaves a mark on its surface. The finishes can be matte or satin.
Tip: To ensure that the concrete countertop retains its luster and is protected against stains, you should renew the varnish every year. Concrete is a porous and susceptible material.
Wood is the warm material par excellence; wood integrates perfectly into all interiors and brings a distinguished style to all kitchens. "I chose this bamboo countertop for its ecological and sustainable qualities," says decorator Géraldine Bouix. "Bamboo is a resource that replants and proliferates, so it is more environmentally friendly to use its wood rather than that of other trees. However, keep in mind that wood, although cheerful and pleasant to the touch, has a drawback: its daily use requires varnishing and regular treatment because it is a sensitive material."
Sarah Natsumi Moore
It is even more impressive when used in its raw form, as in this kitchen. Solid wood is a living material whose appearance evolves, giving it a beautiful patina and darkening or lightening it depending on its original tone. Unfortunately, over the years, it becomes brittle, and it is necessary to pay attention to the appearance of cracks.
Ceramic technology. Known for its simple shapes, ceramic stoneware is increasingly used in countertops. Today, it is available in huge tiles and manufacturing processes to reproduce virtually any material.
Here, the procedure is somewhat different. A thin ceramic sheet covers a wooden worktop. "I commission this type of furniture from a specialist," explains architect Laurent Munch. "The ceramic is fired in a kiln at more than 1,300° with a mixture of colorants and components. These worktops are somewhat expensive to manufacture, but they are increasingly in demand because they are waterproof and do not scratch."
Quartz and lightness. This material is increasingly seen in kitchens. The wide range of colors has opened the doors to the most modern kitchens. Like glass, quartz can be used for worktops with a thickness of 10 to 12 mm.
The resistance of granite
"I resort very often to flamed and brushed granite from Zimbabwe," explains architect Thibaut Febrer. "I love its matte and smooth look, which I often compare to that of embossed leather, like the one in this photo. And I find it very interesting to combine it with a sink and black hotplates to play with the masses. It resists cuts and heat well, although it must be said that in its matte version, it does not stand up well to fingerprints and traces of grease".