STEP 15 – CHOOSING COUNTERTOPS, BACKSPLASHES, AND FLOORING FOR YOUR KITCHEN
Countertops, Backsplashes, and Flooring make up a large part of your kitchen space. The materials you select are important for the durability, care required, cost, and contribution to your chosen style. There are so many different possibilities. Check the following pros and cons to help you with your decisions.
COUNTERTOPS AND BACKSPLASHES:
Copper – An “old world” look. Very durable, heat tolerant. Does scratch.
Ceramic Tile – Available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and patterns. Tolerant to heat. Stain resistant Can be cracked if a heavy item is dropped on it. Cannot be used as a cutting board as knives are dulled by it. The grout lines need constant care.
Concrete – Indestructible. Colors can be added before it is poured into a form. Ideal for outside kitchens.
Glass Tile – Available in a large array of colors and sizes. Not affected by heat. Can be scratched by abrasives.
Granite – Elegant. Extremely durable. Stain, scratch, and heat resistant. Available in lots of patterns and colors.
Hardwoods/Butcher Block – Ideal surface in which to mince, slice, chop. Kind to knives. The Butcher Block should be 1-1/2, 1-3/4, or 2 inches thick. Needs care, usually a mineral oil rub. Will scorch if a hot pan is placed on it and does stain easily. Water cannot be left long on the surface. Surface repairs can be made by sanding with fine steel wool.
Laminated plastic – Available in scores of colors and patterns. Some are made to look like slate or butcher block. The surface is not heat resistant. Chips and scratches are almost impossible to repair. A matte finish does not show scratches as easily as the glossy finishes.
Marble – High-end look. Expensive. Does stain. Good to use in small spaces, as in an insert at a baking center which is ideal for rolling out pie crusts.
Mirrors – Not recommended for the counter surface, but can be used as a back splash. Makes the kitchen look bigger. Clean the same as glass doors.
Soapstone – Dark gray in color. Often seen in historic homes. Does resist stains. Needs to be treated with mineral oil. May crack and darken over time.
Solid Surface – (Ex. Corian) Available in many colors. Seamless. Stain resistant. Can be sanded. Easy to clean. Vulnerable to hot pans. Similar in look to granite and marble, but less expensive.
Stainless Steel – Commercial looking. Easy to keep clean and free of germs. Heat and stain resistant. Knives will scratch the surface. Can be noisy. A satin or brushed finish will hold a better appearance longer.
Vinyl – A smooth and resilient surface. Very sensitive to heat. Can be molded into a no seam, coved backsplash which can be easily kept clean. Available in many patterns and colors. Not to be used for a cutting surface.
Floors in the kitchen should blend with the floors in the rest of the house. Again, you want continuity—an uninterrupted flow throughout the house, especially if one room opens onto another without a door. Use color as the connecting factor — even though you change materials.
If you have “beige” carpet in the dining room, choose a “beige” tone for your hard-surface flooring in the kitchen to create that feeling of connection and spaciousness. Exception to the rule, however, if you have a “very large room”, you can change the surface materials and color to define the uses of the two different spaces – but, again, both materials should be compatible with the entire room.
The following are some choices for kitchen flooring:
Cement – A new concept for household flooring. With a high-polish and addition of a color, this can make a beautiful floor that will last a century or more, long after you pass your house on to your great-grand children.
Ceramic tile – Comes in hundreds of colors, textures, and sizes and can be installed in a variety of patterns. It is very durable and easy to clean.
Cork – Easy on the feet and legs. Adversely effected by strong sunlight and swings in amount of humidity. Should be coated with polyurethane for protection. Has a warm feeling. Best used in it’s natural color.
Hardwood – Popular now. Has a warm feeling. Comes in planks or strips with a wide range of finishes available. It can be scratched by sliding chairs, pet’s nails, and stones stuck to the bottom of shoes. Therefore, it requires refurbishing from time to time.
Laminate – A good high-traffic choice if you like the look of wood without the high maintenance. The installation is easier than a real-wood application.
Stone – (Brick, Marble, Slate, etc.) Extremely durable. Brick and slate have a rustic look and are somewhat porous. Marble is grandeur and impervious to stains and scratches. Not comfortable for a person’s legs or feet after long periods of standing. Most stone should have a coating applied for protection.
Vinyl – Can be purchased in sheets or smaller squares. Inexpensive. A wide variety of colors, textures, and patterns are available. Not as durable. Can be damaged easily. Requires constant care to prolong the beauty and finish.
Specialty-flooring shops and home-improvement stores have a wide choice of flooring materials. Your careful attention to the attributes of the materials and your budget can help you to meet the requirements for your kitchen style. Go to Worksheet 15 if you are ready to start gathering samples of materials for your kitchen.
Choose Worksheet 15—Gather samples for my Kitchen.
Check out Lifestyle Systems complete line of drawer and shelf organizers for the home and office at www.lifestylessystems.com. If you want to be an active participant to change/plan your kitchen download the corresponding worksheet for the workshop by clicking on the worksheet below:
Worksheet 1 – Cooks Profile
Worksheet 2 – Draw Your Kitchen
Worksheet 3 – My Work Triangle
Worksheet 4 – Location Of My Work Centers
Worksheet 5 – Measure My Counterspace
Worksheet 6 – Measure Heights of Work Surfaces
Worksheet 7 – Part 1 – Kitchen Storage Test
Worksheet 7 – Part 2 – Measure Your Kitchen Storage
Worksheet 8 – Part 1 – Kitchen Equipment Checklist
Worksheet 8 – Part 2 – Kitchen Equipment Checklist
Worksheet 8 – Part 3 – Tableware Storage Checklist
Worksheet 8 – Part 4 – Tableware Checklist Continued
Worksheet 8 – Part 5 – Supplies and Food Items Checklist
Worksheet 9 – Measure Points You Can Easily Reach In Your Kitchen
Worksheet 10 – How To Place Items In A Work Center
Worksheet 11 – Part 1 – Suggestions For Maximizing Storage Space In My Kitchen
Worksheet 11 – Part 2 – Suggestions For Maximizing Storage Space
Worksheet 11 – Part 3 – Suggestions For Maximizing Storage Space In My Kitchen
Worksheet 11 – Part 4 – Suggestions For Maximizing Storage Space In My Kitchen
Worksheet 12 – A Shopping List For Kitchen Equipment And Tableware
Worksheet 13 – Survey The Lighting And Electrical Outlets In My Kitchen
Worksheet 14 – Decorating Your Kitchen
Worksheet 15 – Gather Samples For My Kitchen
Worksheet 16 – Part 1 – Sources And Appointments
Worksheet 16 – Page 2 – Budget and Priority Schedule For My Kitchen
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