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Perfect Countertop Material

- Monday, June 27, 2011

If you are thinking of redoing your kitchen, you know you can spend thousands on new countertops. Kitchens are one of the biggest remodeling expenses, so how can you be sure that your counters will hold up over time?

You can double the price of a kitchen makeover by throwing in new countertops. So with that kind of money on the line it's important to get the right ones for your lifestyle.

A beautiful new kitchen countertop can really stand out. However, with so many different types to choose from, how do you know which is best? Consumer Reports tested 14 different countertop materials to find out.

"We checked out popular surfaces like granite and quartz. New to our tests we have recycled glass, bamboo, and soapstone," said Consumer Reports tester Chris Regan.

To see how well a countertop resists stains, Regan applied 20 common substances, like tomato sauce and grape juice, then let them sit overnight.

"We tested bamboo countertops with a mixture of a beeswax and mineral-oil finish. Both countertops looked great out of the box, but not so much after our tests," said Regan.

Both stained badly, even coffee and tea, which most other surfaces could handle - stained the bamboo.

Consumer Reports also tests to see if counters can take the heat - literally. Testers set a pot of 400-degree oil on the countertop for an hour. There were scorch marks left behind on each of these bamboo counters.

"We also found a problem with some of the recycled-glass countertops," said Regan.

One of the recycled glass countertops cracked within 12 minutes. But recycled-glass countertops from two other manufacturers did not crack. When all the tests were done, quartz countertops and as well as granite came out on top. And while either surface can chip, getting a rounded edge helps minimize this.

If you decide to go with natural stone, like granite or quartz, be aware their look can vary widely, even within the same slab. So pick out the sample you want and reserve it.

Original article on ABC local – Michael Finney


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Cabinet Refinishing by Kenneth C. Lewis
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