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Replacing Damaged Kitchen Tile
Microwave Oven Buyer's Guide
A New Kitchen with a New Kitchen Island
Installing a New Garbage Disposal
Creating Kitchen Storage Space
A New Floor for Your New Kitchen
Changing Your Kitchen Counters
Dishwasher Repair and Information
Guide to Buying a New Kitchen Range
Replacing Your Ceramic Tile
Maintenance & Repair of Your Refrigerator
A Guide to Kitchen Ranges
Freezer Tips

Changing Your Kitchen Counters

Extensive remodeling and redecorating of the kitchen can be an expensive proposition. However, there is one thing you can do to give your kitchen a bright new look without breaking your budget. Replacing your old counters with new ones will help you bring new life to the room, and it won't cost you a fortune. After all, studies show that after the cabinets, the counters are the thing that people notice and remember most in your kitchen. Therefore, if the counters are ugly or outdated, it will leave a less-than-stellar impression on guests. However, contemporary counters in an attractive style and color will dazzle your visitors and your family as well.

As you're preparing to re-do the counters, keep in mind that your counters are used almost every day. Thus, it's important that they are made from strong materials that will last through a lot of beatings. There are several materials that you might choose for your counter tops:

1) Quartz is a material that is quite durable and has a pleasant, smooth finish to it. It also has the advantage of requiring very little maintenance to keep its great appearance. Plus it does a stellar job of resisting heat and scratches. The one down side to quartz is the expense: It generally costs more than any of the other materials. Still, those who opt for quartz counters rarely regret the investment.

2) Ceramic tile is growing in popularity as a counter top material. Home owners like it because it is heat resistant and durable. it's also quick and easy to install. There are many different colors available for ceramic tile, and it can easily be managed with any kitchen's color. On the other hand, keep in mind that ceramic tile is easily cracked if you drop something heavy on it or slam something hard down on it. Also, when installing it, it's not uncommon to find that the counter winds up not perfectly even.

3) Stone counter tops are extremely attractive, and provide a nice, smooth finish. They are durable and are very good at resisting hot, cold and water. There are many stone styles available in a great variety of textures. The disadvantages of stone are that they are a bit hard to remove when scratched, plus a stone counter top can be somewhat expensive.

4) Plastic laminate counters are what most homes have in their kitchens. The reason is probably cost: Plastic laminate is the least expensive counter available. They also have the advantages of being simple to clean and install, plus there is a huge variety available: all manner of patterns and colors. The disadvantages: Excessive heat can damage the counter top, and when laid, usually the seams will be visible on the counter surface.

5) Solid surface counters, in contrast to plastic laminate, leave a seamless appearance after installed. They are resistant to water and heat, plus if you ever scratch it, you can easily sand out the scratch. The down side is that they can be fairly expensive. Plus there aren't as many color options available as with plastic laminate.

Feel like getting really creative? Some people have effectively combined surface types in their kitchen. For instance, someone could put in a quartz or stone surface around the stove area, but put a plastic laminate around the sink. This gives a touch of the class that the stone or quartz would provide, but helps you keep within your budget by incorporating the plastic laminate. There are many creative ways you can improve the look of your countertops--and if you plan it well, it won't break you, either!

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