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How to choose kitchen counter tops

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With so many new options flooding the market, you are spoilt for choice. And then there’s the predicament of looks and styles. We got blogger, Nandita Manwani of www.homedesignbangalore.com to share with us the pros and cons of each of these surfaces

What material to use for the kitchen counter top is possibly one of the most confusing questions while deciding the material palette of your kitchen? Granite, marble, corian, quartz, acrylic – so many options, but what works best for Indian kitchen design? Here’s decoding them one  by one for you.

By far the most popular choice, and not without reason, granite is more or less scratch and stain proof. The only draw back with it is the limitation in terms of colours and shades available. If you are ok with the Henry Ford philosophy of "You can choose any colour as long as it’s black," then this is the best material for you. One would argue that granite does come in other colours, however my personal view is that the other colours in granite do not give as good a finish and look as compared to black granite.

It’s the most hotly debated material. Did you know that while Corian is a commonly used name for all types of acrylic solid surfaces for countertops, it is actually a brand name owned by Du Pont (Much like how we assume the name "Surf " to mean any kind of washing powder). Acrylic countertops in are available from Dupont (Corian), Merino (Hanex) & LG (Himacs), among others. The great thing about this is that it can be shaped as per one's requirement, hence gives a lot of flexibility to the designer. Also the finishes and edges are clean and slick. The only point of concern is that these surfaces are prone to scratches and stains. However, these can be removed by "rebuffing" the surface. Contrary to usual belief, acrylic surfaces are extremely resistant to heat (do not melt). The other good thing about it is that it comes in a range of colours including Shocking white (my favourite). The downside – it is expensive so you need to have a strong heart and a loving husband to go with it.

Apart from the Rajasthani white (Makarana) marble, you have Italian marble, which is available in a variety of very rich colours. The challenge in using marble is that you need to buy the whole slab – so if you don't do calculate correctly, you may end up with a lot of wastage and undue expense. Secondly, it is brittle – you’ll need a very skilled workman to cut and lay the sheet, and thirdly, not all types of marble are stain and scratch resistance, hence you need to choose carefully. However if managed well, it can give a very distinct look. However, it does require a bit of maintenance and gentle use, its not as hardy as granite.

This is a fairly new addition to the family of materials for counter tops. Quartz stands good in all aspects such as scratch and stain resistance, easy workmanship, slick finishes and availability in a range of colours.
You also have laminated and wooden surfaces but unfortunately, these are not suited to Indian kitchen usage. Now, that you are armed with the information you may need, it’s time to bring those knives out.

Read more articles about kitchen designs.
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