While ceramic tile seems old-fashioned as a countertop material, it has many pluses. It is durable, inexpensive and easy to clean. Ceramic tile counters are usually installed one section at a time and most people can easily work with the materials. Ceramic finishes are excellent because they take hot pans, are easy to clean and are available in a number of different textures. The only downsides are that the grout in between the tiles can be difficult to clean, tiles can chip and crack, and the surface can end up uneven. In addition to ceramic tile, tiles also come in aluminum and copper for some great new looks, whether in brushed or smooth textures. Also, tiles can be set in various sizes and patterns, as squares, subway block and angled as diamonds. Back splashes can have unique designs and capping tiles.
Similar to the quartz-based engineered stone countertops are the seamless, manufactured acrylic-based ones that are called "Solid Surface" counters. While they also offer a wide assortment of colors, patterns and finishes, they don`t have the natural look of stone. They do resist stains, moisture, sunlight and heat, and inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. However, they are vulnerable to hot pans and stains which can damage the surface. Solid Surface countertops are custom-made and their acrylic material can be formed to include an integrated sink with seamless installation. Brands of Solid Surface countertops include Avonite, Corian, and Swanstone.
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