Since the new economy has altered the construction industry, some of the construction norms of the past are getting re-evaluated. What standards constitute the best or the most elegant are getting recast now, with considerations of the green economy, natural product availability, and of course cost. Here’s a look at some of the most used countertops options out there.
Laminates are still one of the most popular options out there. The two big guns in laminates have been able to stay competitive in the market with their lower end products for strong day to day use, and their newest designs with many to choose from. They have long been a favorite of contractors because of the ease of use and because a good woodworker can easily laminate a countertop in a quick period of time. Laminates lend themselves to both shop made and field made counters. With the newest designs out there, it is worth it to take a look at laminates before you consider other options because of their ability to mimic other materials and also go with a completely new design.
Tile offers a whole different set of options in countertops. With ceramic tile people will find painted designs that can accent an elaborate back-splash or a wall behind the cook top. Porcelain and glass mosaics are used quite frequently in the kitchen to avoid big cut pieces and to get around bends. Another way designers are using tile is in stone. The rough surface of slate offers a different texture for those that want to excite their designs a bit. Those wanting smooth stone can get both granite and marble tile that looks elegant and can be laid with the same procedure as other tiles, but has additional considerations.
Slabs are what dominated the high end market for a long time. It’s because they look great and are very durable. At the home shows, there are always some beautiful slabs made of granite, marble, and onyx. There are even some that are made of petrified wood. To get a great looking slab top, you need a great stone cutter and polisher. You’ll have to have your countertop made in a shop, transported and installed. This is different from both tile and laminates, in that your regular contractor will hire out on this job as opposed to doing it themselves.
Resin countertops have been around since the early eighties and they are also a pre-made product. They enjoy a good lot of the market due to a consistent marketing effort and a good product. One of the nice things about some resin tops is that they can be fixed with just a little added resin, in some cases. If they get worn, they can be sanded down to give them a brand new finish. The most successful brands of resin countertops enjoy a high end market.
Since conservation and the green economy, there has been a movement to reuse almost every material under the sun. This has led to recycled glass tops, counters from recycled plastic bottles, and of course countertops from old building materials. As with most things, some of the earliest models of some of these products left a little to be desired, however, the creative abilities of those in these industries is improving and some of the products that are coming out looking great. Even more, they are defining a whole new look and market of their own. Reclaimed wood has never suffered from a lack of creativity. It looks great no matter what you do. As a market, it is really picking up. The prices are kind vary greatly due to the species and availability of the wood.
Wood is making a big resurgence in popularity due to the versatility and choices that it has to offer. For ornate restaurants and hotels, wood has always been the staple, and the limitations on elegance are only limited to the abilities of the woodworker making the countertops. Many people are willing to put more money into craftsmanship instead of materials in order to get a one of a kind look.
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