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.
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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