Explore photos of various new countertop styles to inspire your next renovation
Counter tops come in many variations, materials, and can also serve many functions. They are usually made of wood which has been glued and or pressed together to form the structure of the counter-top; it is then re-surfaced with different kinds of materials ranging from laminates, stones, tiles, and cement faux-faux finishes; producing creative material concepts to suit every kitchen and bathroom style and function. One can even order natural stone quarried from natural slabs of granite and fieldstone; pre-drilled to accommodate your faucet and fixtures; totally customized to fit around your sink, plumbing, and counter top needs.
Counter tops need to be securely fastened to the cabinet, cupboard or structure supporting the counter top. They must be made level by way of hidden wooden shims and sloped towards a sink drain, if at all possible. Please keep in mind curved edges make for safer counter tops, sharp corners always hurt when accidentally banging in to them.
Water penetration is the biggest culprit in damaging any counter top and its underlying structure. A good quality long term silicone caulking should be used wherever needed; under the sink where it meets the counter top, during installation; around every counter protrusion; and where it meets a backsplash, or wall. Colored silicone can be purchased to match existing surroundings.
Laminated counter tops made with pressed wood are the easiest to fabricate, even customized to your exacting needs; including, the fact that they are the most affordable, usually costing no more than a few hundred dollars, depending on the size of your counter top.
Installation of counter tops can be a bit tricky, the pre-measurements are very important to insure a tight and correct fit. This may be beyond the scope of most do-it-yourselfers, as an incorrect fit usually means the complete replacement of the counter top unit.
Wherever water sits, mould and mildew flourish; including, pathogens from the assortment of food leftovers, if the counter top also functions as a place to wash and prepare your food in the kitchen. Keep in mind textured counter surfaces and grout areas, if tiles were used to surface the counter top, allow for hidden food particles to reproduce unseen, contaminating other fresh foods in the process.
All manner of cleansers, cleaners, detergents and disinfectants are sold to keep you counter tops sparkling clean and free of germs. Make sure these products are compatible with your counter top and will not stain it, if it is made of natural stone for example.
Most importantly, read the labels of all these products and determine if these are the chemicals you want around your food or children. Most eco conscious people use a low grade hydrogen peroxide or a small portable steamer, to clean and disinfect around these areas.
Your counter top manufacturer should be able to provide you with the care and maintenance of you counter top; again, depending on the materials used.