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Are you trying to think of ways to update your kitchen without too much expense? Changing out your kitchen counters is one way to brighten and give your drab kitchen a fresh look. Since countertops are, the second next thing noticed in a kitchen other than the cabinets, if you have an outdated color or material, your kitchen could have a tired appearance. Just remember that in most homes, countertops are used every day and therefore, they need to be made from strong and durable material. The first step is to educate yourself on the type of materials from which you can choose:
  • Quartz � This material has a nice smooth finish and is very durable. Quartz also needs little maintenance to keep it looking great, resists scratches and heat, has few visible seams when laid, and provides beautiful, consistent color. The downfall to quartz is that it is expensive but worth every dime.

  • Natural Stone � This too has a wonderful, smooth finish, is very durable, resists water and heat, is the perfect option for prep work, and comes in a number of rich textures. On the downside, stone is also an expensive choice and if scratched they can be difficult to remove.

  • Solid Surfaces � Smooth and durable, this type of material provides a seamless appearance, water and heat resistance, and if scratched, they can be sanded out. The only drawbacks are that solid surfaces can be costly and in most cases, you will have limited options of color.

  • Ceramic Tile � This is a very popular choice in that it is heat resistant, durable, and if you are handy, can be self-installed. Ceramic tile is also available in a number of colors and you can change things up to create your own unique pattern or design if you like. The negative side to ceramic tile is that the countertop is not perfectly even, you have to be careful to get grout lines clean, and it can crack if you drop something on it or place something down too hard.

  • Plastic Laminate � This type of countertop is what you see in the majority of homes. For starters, the material is inexpensive, durable, easy to install and clean, and comes in a huge selection of colors, patterns, and designs. The bad things are that plastic laminate will not tolerate any direct heat, if the surface is too thin, it can fade leaving an unbalanced look, and when laid, the seams are visible.
If you want a gorgeous kitchen and are on a budget, you can actually combine surfaces. For example, you might have a quartz, stone, or solid surface installed around your range to accommodate prep work and hot pots and pans. Then, for the sink area, you could choose between a plastic laminate or solid surface for aesthetics. This gives you the best of both worlds without paying the full price. Be creative and consider the material not just for appearance but also for functionality.
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