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perfect kitchen countertop

posted by Kitchen & Bathroom Designer

The first steps in selecting the perfect countertop for your design is identifying the overall style you wish to achieve and browsing pictures of counter tops in our popular online design showrooms to discover the endless number of looks you can achieve with today’s top products. These key kitchen décor elements are available in a wide range of materials and price points, each bringing with it a distinctive look able to blend harmoniously with a variety of design styles. Our ‘do it yourself’ experts suggest moving away from outdated tiled kitchen backsplashes and counters and instead look towards today’s hottest design trends. Counter top ideas for 2014 tend to fall into 3 major categories – organic stone, innovative engineered products, or unique alternative options.  Read ahead to discover how each of these groups can individually enhance a variety of popular kitchen décor styles.

perfect kitchen countertop


Kitchen Island Ideas Using Stone

posted by Kitchen & Bathroom Designer
Determine the kitchen island’s use and amount of traffic it will bear before selecting a stone countertop. The stone should be laid on top of a solid, even base to prevent it from cracking. The base must support approximately 18 lbs. per square foot of stone. If the island is a flat surface without a stove top cooker or a sink, the choices of stone widen. Otherwise, select a stone that is impervious to heat and water.


  • Marble is one choice for an island surface stone. Bakers prefer it for its cold inner temperature. The colors of marble vary, and most slabs contain veining that adds to the complexity of the marbling. Marble is at the higher end in cost of stone. To ensure the exact marble patterning you desire, select your preferred slab from a slab yard. After sealing a marble countertop, wipe the surface clean after every use to prevent staining.


  • The most versatile countertop in terms of color selection, granite colors range from dramatic reds to brilliant blues to deep blacks. A granite slab is laid in a few pieces, depending on the island template, with seamless butting between the slabs. A slab is costly and must be professionally installed. Purchase the slab at a slab yard where you can select the exact piece of granite as two slabs are never alike. Granite is also available in modular pieces that are smaller than slabs and less expensive or as granite tiles. Tiles are the least expensive forms of granite and can be easily installed as a “do-it-yourself” project.


  • Quartz crystals are luminous and come in almost every color. When pulverized and mixed with resins for hardness and binding, quartz becomes a vibrant stone countertop. Most quartz compounds have antibacterial agents added. Quartz is only available in slabs and is as expensive as granite. It is heavier than granite and must be installed professionally.


  • Concrete countertops are either poured on site or molded in a factory and brought to the location. It is a complex process but, as the popularity of concrete countertops increases, more purveyors are becoming proficient in designing and installing the stone. Concrete has the advantage of being poured into any shape or design, and colors can be added to the mixture prior to pouring. Concrete is heavy and must be custom-made and installed. A concrete countertop must be sealed frequently.


  • Similar to marble but with a high concentration of talc in its composition, soapstone’s weathered patina is more akin to slate than granite. Colors are limited to gray, white, charcoal and dark green. It will scratch but is resistant to stains and heat damage. It is an ideal stone if a sink or cooktop are nearby. Soapstone is nonporous and does not need to be sealed. An application of mineral oil heightens the finish of soapstone and ensures an even darkening of the stone.


  • Slate has a low absorption rate, which makes it one of the most durable stones mined. It resists stains and bacteria and is fireproof. The matte finish and uneven surface make it an unusually attractive stone for use as a countertop. Slate can be purchased in a slab or as tiles that are butted when installed. Slate does not need to be sealed, and the color can be heightened by applying mineral oil.

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