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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Countertops



I just realize the most frequently used countertop material in Singapore is Laminates. It's cheap, easy to fit and provides several other common sense benefits like heat resistance, durability and easy to clean. It also comes in a whole range of designs and colours to match your kitchen design. My kitchen countertops are 20 years old and you wouldn't know that just by looking at it.


Traditional country style kitchens use ceramic tiles (above) or wood (below). Tiles create a really fun and pretty look as you can play with colours and designs. Especially nice if you have a Hacienda-style home. However, it is not as durable, uneven so you need to set crockery down carefully and grout will build-up so you need to give it a good scrubbing once a year.


Wood countertops give kitchens a warm rustic feel. If you protect it with a glaze than you worry about harsh chemicals mixing with your food, without the glaze the wood will get chipped, burned from hot pots etc. Best to use reclaimed wood that is already imperfect.


Granite, a common high-end choice that looks as gorgeous as it is functional. Granites (pic above) as opposed to Marble (pic below) are extremely durable, heat resistant, easy to clean. Natural stones tend to be cooler to the touch and stay that way even in hot weather. It is a dream to work desserts on as you can craft chocolate and candy, cool pastries and dry out springerle and fondant cutouts on it.


Quartz or Onyx countertops (picture below) are quite rare and my absolute favourite choice. It has all the benefits of granite and comes in beautiful shades and colours. Naturally, it is more expensive as well, much more expensive.


If you have a catering kitchen or want an industrial look in your home, surgical grade stainless steel is an obvious choice, utilitarian, tough and easy to maintain. It is used in all commercial kitchens.


For a sleek, contemporary look there is a newer product on the market that I see in all the new condos. Something called resin I think. It is like plastic, artificial, non-reactive and comes in any colour you want in a high-gloss finish. I say it is the new laminate.


I can't help but touch on glass countertops as it's always found in modern designer homes. These new glass countertops have quite a few advantages like heat-resistance, no chemicals used so it's food-safe. Nice alternative to bear in mind when re-doing your kitchen.


Pyrolave is a specialty countertop made from volvic lava stone extracted in Auvergne, France. The material can be coloured in any shade you desire and comes in pre-ordered slabs much like granite. It is heat-resistant and non-reactive. Good for outdoor kitchens as it's colours are UV resistant and the material itself is weather-proof.



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