By ROSEMARY SADEZ FRIEDMANN — When selecting a countertop for the kitchen, it seems there are countless choices available. Let's see what some of those choices are.
Technological advances have made just about any material possible for use as a countertop. Perhaps that is why the choices seem overwhelming. Glass, concrete, stainless steel, wood, natural stone and manmade stone are some of the choices. Then there are all the colors available!
Glass tops are beautiful, and though they are not as fragile as you might expect, there is the care problem. The glass is tempered and can hold up to just about anything, but the edges and corners can be damaged if you're not careful.
Concrete tops come in any color you wish since the color is applied to the concrete rather than the concrete coming in a color of its own. It needs to be sealed to resist staining, but this countertop is very strong and long-lasting.
How about stainless steel? There's a simplicity and sleekness about it. Though it won't stain, this material can certainly acquire dents over time. Stainless-steel countertops can come in many different designs and finishes. They can be textured with different grains, patterns or surfaces that can hide these flaws. But stainless steel is not smudge-proof. Stainless has a reputation for showing fingerprints.
Wood is rich and beautiful in the kitchen, and many people opt for a wood or butcher-block top. Know, however, that it will discolor if installed around the sink. A natural oil finish is safe for direct knife work, but requires cleaning and oiling on a regular basis. So it is wise to cut on a cutting board and not directly on the wood countertop. Wood will burn and stain, but can be sanded to get the look of its natural beauty back.
Manmade stone is attractive and long-lasting and can withstand much abuse. And such tops come in a variety of colors.
Then there is the all-time favorite -- the natural-stone top. OK, there is marble, and then there is granite. Granite is harder than marble and is easily maintained. No two slabs are alike, and the striations can be beautiful.
(Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of "Mystery of Color." For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at DsgnQuest@aol.com.)