Countertop is a plate (monolithic or composite) which are mounted on the framework and perform the functions of the table. Its thickness may be from 22 to 70 mm. Standard thickness is 40-60 mm. The thickness depends on the chosen material. The width of this element is selected by the depth of kitchen furniture. Though there is also a standard width – 60 cm Broader countertops from a stone for kitchen commonly must be ordered.
According to the configuration countertops from a stone can be such types:
It is made of such materials:
- natural stone;
- artificial stone;
- natural wood;
Cheap materials include plastic and laminate. Stone countertop can be made of natural granite. Natural stone is a bit more expensive but it has some serious advantages which stipulate the use of this material for countertops. All the more widely using for this purpose artificial stone.
Kitchen cabinets with granite countertops
Granite is one of the most solid and durable natural stones. On the granite plate is impossible to leave scratches. The surface of this material is not sensitive to moisture and temperature. It has a very beautiful structure which is presented in interesting colors. Because the kitchen countertop from a stone is always cold, it is convenient to use for cooking. In addition, granite is resistant to acids.
Countertops made of natural stone for the kitchen have one serious drawback – it is absolutely irreparable in the case of mechanical damage. In other words, if you have the strength to break the granite countertop you will have to replace it with a new one. Granite is the material quite heavy, fragile and, brittle. In addition, the granite stone has a natural radioactivity. Plates from a granite cannot be connected to make the seam between them invisible.
White kitchen cabinets with granite countertops will look best of all. Choosing a dark contrasting shade of granite plates you make it a focus of all of the kitchen interior.
Marble countertops for the kitchen cabinets
Marble is also a natural stone which was formed by silt deposits in the sedimentary rocks. The chemical composition of the marble is calcium carbonate. This mineral has a cold surface when touched. Color it obtain by the inclusion of metallic salts, various mineral clays, and silicon.
Stone countertops for the kitchen made of marble have not only beautiful appearance thanks to the variety of color palettes and textures but also have antiseptic properties. This makes the marble particularly attractive for use in the kitchen. He has wonderful characteristics such as exclusively heat-resistant material. The price of this material depends on the color. Cheap varieties are white and yellowish, more expensive are pink and gray shades and the most expensive are black and maroon-streaked.
Disadvantages of the marble associated with its fragility, susceptibility to corrosion. Marble surfaces are easy to soil (due to porosity) and hard to clean. Plates from this material cannot be connected to each other to make the seam between them invisible. Thus, may be stated that the broken countertop cannot repair own hands.
Kitchen countertops made of natural stone except for granite and marble also made of basalt and travertine. Basalt is largely similar to granite, and travertine – on the marble. The main disadvantage which has a kitchen with stone countertops is a price. Countertop for the kitchen made of natural stone – it is quite expensive.
Countertops made of artificial stone
Kitchen tables with stone countertops which are made of composite materials (artificial stones) are first and foremost, acrylic stone agglomerate. This material allows obtaining products in multiple colors with a matte or glossy surface.
Artificial stone producing by the same technology from acrylic stone and agglomerate – composites that consist of a mineral or stone powder (filler) and a binder polymer or monomer composition. So-called acrylic stone is a mineral filler in an acrylic resin. Its appearance on the market relates to the 60-th years of the last century. Agglomerate stone is a new generation of composite materials that contain on its structure natural stone chips. In contrast to acrylic stone agglomerate as a binder is used not an acrylic resin, but polyester compound.
Advantages of products from acrylic stone
- It allows producing plates without seams of any shape and size.
- This stone is stronger than granite, marble, basalt, and travertine.
- Plate made of acrylic is resistant to mechanical damage, shock, impervious to moisture, bacteria, and dyes.
- Acrylic countertops well washed with soap and water.
Disadvantages of products from acrylic stone
- The acrylic surface does not melt, but an imprint from the very hot pots or pans may remain.
- On the acrylic surfaces remain scratches.
- Instructions prohibit use abrasives and hard sponge for washing.
Advantages of products from the agglomerate
- The surfaces of the quartz agglomerate are resistant to high temperature.
- Quartz agglomerate is not afraid of washing with harsh abrasives or scouring pads.
- The surface of the quartz stone is most similar to the natural.
Disadvantages of products from the agglomerate
- During the production of agglomerate countertops, there are restrictions on the length – 3 m. Is worth mentioning that the joints are sealed and become invisible.
- In the case of damage, such plates should be replaced, because the restoration or repair are impossible.
- The surface of the agglomerate colder by feel than the acrylic.
- The complexity of the transportation, because quartz plates can only be transported in an upright position.
The use of natural and artificial stone in the manufacture of countertops for the kitchen is completely justified by their characteristics. In each separate case it is necessary to take into account all the advantages and disadvantages, and only then make a choice.