The white concrete countertop in the kitchen is one of the main elements to which the most stringent requirements are imposed: white concrete countertop must, on one hand, look good, and on the other, be moisture resistant, resistant to scratches and heat. A professional interior designer advice in this article will help us understand many materials on the market and understand their pros and cons. For more information go here and here.
The most common type of countertops today is laminated ones, though white concrete countertops have become a successful competitor to them. Laminated countertops are made of chipboard or MDF, covered with a layer of plastic, and attract with low price and quite good quality.
The first thing you need to pay attention to when choosing a laminated countertop is its foundation. Fiberboard (MDF) is a completely safe material, but the resin particle board (DSP) contains resins, and some experts claim that it can produce harmful fumes.
As for the choice of coating, it is worth giving preference to matte, but not glossy: the latter will be more noticeable with small scratches. The surface is more expedient to choose with a picture: in due course small spots can appear on a countertop surface, and on a monophonic covering they will be quite evident. And one more con to laminated table top is that it cannot be made seamless.
If you lack one coating to cover the entire kitchen set, then at the joints they will have to be joined by special (usually metal) moldings. Sealing the seams and ends of the countertop, especially when installing a sink, it is worth paying special attention to the following: whatever the base of the laminate countertops, it is afraid of moisture.
Another kind of popular material for countertops is artificial stone. The table tops made from it cost 5-6 times more expensive than the laminated ones, but they are considered to be strong and absolutely moisture resistant.
Not everyone knows that countertops are not completely made of artificial stone, but on the basis of the same chipboard, MDF or plywood: they are simply applied with a layer of mineral chips and resins. The thickness of coating varies from 3 to 12 mm, and price depends on it - the thicker it is, the higher the price. But cover of artificial stone can be grinded, giving it the original appearance, so the thicker the coating, the longer you can keep the countertop tidy.
Depending on the type of coating, countertops made of artificial stone are divided into two types: acrylic and agglomerate (using natural quartz). Each type has its own advantages and limitations, such as you cannot put hot pans on acrylic countertops, and you can’t clean them with abrasive detergents or hard sponges; at the same time they are well suited for restoration. Agglomerate is not afraid of heat and is not scratched so easy, but if surface is damaged, it will have to be replaced, because it cannot be repaired.
Another difference between these two materials is that acrylic countertop can be made of any color and shape, making it seamless, but agglomerate countertops are suitable only for rectangular shapes, and if you want to make it longer than three meters, there will be a seam at the junction.
A natural stone
The next type of popular countertops is made of natural stone. Such countertops weigh a lot and are not cheap, but they look great. The price depends on the material: the origin of the stone, its color, and the way of processing. The more beautiful the pattern and color, the more expensive the countertop is.
Natural stone tolerates high temperatures perfectly, but, unlike the artificial one, it has microscopic pores, because of which stains can remain on the surface of the table top. In general, the most durable and resistant to mechanical damage is white concrete countertop, and marble or limestone is softer, more porous, and require more careful attitude. If you chose marble or travertine, choose darker shades, because such countertops require less maintenance.
Many buyers like wooden countertops for the beauty of natural materials and warmth. Such a countertop will make any kitchen cozier, besides it is environmentally friendly and harmless. And it looks good in combination with concrete.
Unfortunately, wooden countertops have many drawbacks. So, because of water they cannot lose their attractive appearance, and also are shattered or cracked. Therefore, to protect surface, it must be periodically treated with oil. You cannot put hot spots on the surface immediately - there will be a stain. However, if you choose a table top from an array, and not veneered, then in time it can be polished and varnished again.
Lately white concrete countertop has become more popular than countertops of other materials. (For more additional information also here). Most often they are found in modern interiors: designers use them in brutal men's apartments to emphasize the character of the room. The big plus of a white concrete countertop is that it can be made in any shape.
A countertop concrete is not necessarily gray and boring. You can change the color of material by adding pigments to it, or stir in filler: small stones, shells, glass (in this case white concrete countertop highlighted will look especially interesting). The working surface can be polished, ground or painted. You can give a white concrete countertop matt appearance or polish to a mirror finish.
Concrete is the material that have strong characteristics. But at the same time it is very porous, that result in necessity of specific impregnation in order to prevent stains appearing. Too cold or extremely hot temperatures may cause some deformation of a white concrete countertop. If there is any crack or chip on the surface of a white concrete countertop, such problem is quite easy to be eliminated.
Ceramic countertops is a novelty in the market. Their surface is made of a thin ceramic plate, which includes quarry clay of granite rocks and ceramic pigments. Due to this, the material can be called environmentally friendly and safe.
Ceramic countertops are resistant to chemical attack, their surface is absolutely hygienic, and there are no stains on it, since there are no pores in the material, unlike there in white concrete countertops. Ceramics are heat resistant, because it does not contain organic materials and resins. And, which is important for the kitchen, on such a surface it is allowed to use a knife, as it is resistant to scratches, it can only be damaged by diamond.
Virtually the only minus of the ceramic countertops are the narrow range of forms: they can only be rectangular. But on the surface you can put a print or a picture that will emphasize the interior.
And one more feature of ceramic countertops is the possibility to use the built-in induction cooker. The contours of the burners are applied directly to ceramic coating, and only control panel is installed on the surface. This is a very good solution for small kitchens where it is not possible to make a spacious work surface. When the induction cooker is used, only the dishes are heated, not the surface of the countertop, so it is absolutely safe.