It can be challenging - even confusing - to find the right material for your countertops which are the hardest-working surfaces in your kitchen. Also, there are considerations you should address before choosing a countertop based on looks alone. A countertop should be durable, scratch-resistant, heat-resistant, water-resistant, stain-resistant, easy to clean, as well as attractive. This brief guide reviews five material categories selected for their perfect combination of practicality and beauty. There are many material options - natural, manufactured or engineered - to go on counters which can be installed as a solid surface or applied to a backing like a veneer. Your material of choice can impact the kind of sink you want, whether it is integrated, drop-in or under-mount, An integrated sink will only work with stainless steel or solid-surface materials, like Corian. A drop-in sink is the most versatile and can be used with any type of countertop material, and an under-mount sink also works with any material except for wood.
Countertops made of engineered stone are composed of 93% quartz particles. Engineered stone offers a wider range of colors than granite and has a nonporous surface that resists scratches. Engineered stone is not as popular as granite and is often confused for granite but the regular consistency of the patterning gives it away as being man-made. In fact, engineered stone has all the benefits of granite but is easier to maintain, without the annual sealing required by natural stone. It is more expensive than granite or stone. Engineered stone brands include Silestone, DuPont Zodiaq, LG Viatera and Cambria Quartz.
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