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.
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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