For most Russians, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Here, not only is food prepared for the whole family, many housewives spend most of their free time and rest in this multi-functional room, the closest guests are accepted, conversations are conducted, the whole family gathers at the dinner table. In the design of the kitchen space, every element, every component of it, is important. In this publication, we will consider the difficult question of choosing countertops for a modern kitchen. In the variety of options lies the complexity of the solution of the dilemma - is it possible to find an option that will meet all the requirements of the owners of apartments and houses planning to renovate or remodel the kitchen? Let's try together to find a simple compromise in a difficult choice.
Requirements for kitchen countertops
Specific features of the kitchenLeaves an imprint on the choice of any component of the interior, and the table tops are no exception. Humidity, constant temperature changes, a high level of probability of contamination of surfaces, impacts of different nature - all this affects the choice of materials from which the countertops should be made. But aesthetic qualities can not be dismissed to create a harmonious, visually appealing image of the kitchen interior.
Criteria for choosing a kitchen countertop:
- High temperature immunity:
- Resistance to moisture (low hygroscopicity);
- Resistance to mechanical damage;
- Simplicity in care (the possibility of using chemical cleaners);
- Aesthetic appeal, harmonious combination with other elements of the interior - kitchen facades, surface finish;
- Financial capabilities of the family (some tops have the highest technological qualities, but their cost is also high).
Types of kitchen countertops
In addition to the fact that all the countertops can beDivided by cost (one of the most important types of calibration for most buyers), they can be classified according to their physical qualities and composition of material. We will analyze the last type of separation in more detail. According to the composition of the material, table tops can be classified into:
- Laminated with plastic;
- Countertops of artificial acrylic stone;
- Of artificial stone with quartz filling;
- From solid wood of various breeds;
- From natural stone;
- Stainless steel;
- from glass;
- From ceramic tile or mosaic.
MDF worktops are laminated with plastic, thicknessWhich varies between 0.8 and 1.2 mm. The plastic consists of several layers of paper impregnated with special resins and compressed under high pressure. The top layer is a wear-resistant polymer, it is its appearance that is responsible for the aesthetic qualities of the product. The advantage of such countertops is that they are presented in a variety of color variations, can be matte or glossy, can simulate wood or stone. The thickness of the plastic layer, the quality of the chipboard and external qualities affect the cost of the finished product. And even in this category of table-tops, which is very democratic in price, there is a very significant variation in the cost of domestic and foreign products.
The front edge of the laminated worktop canBe executed in various variations. Radius rounding of the plastic on the end of the product from its working surface is called a blockage. This way of decorating the front edge is very popular. The blockage can also be carried out with a bend - plastic from the end is bent under the bottom of the product. In addition, the end of the countertop can be made using an aluminum profile or 3D edge. Most often this method is used when equipping a furniture set with radius facades.
Countertops made of artificial stone
You can safely say that at the momentCountertops with a similar composition are the most popular. The products consist of plywood, on which a layer of artificial stone with a thickness of about 12 mm is glued. In turn, an artificial stone is a polymer glue with granules of different color and size, imitating natural material. The resulting material is sufficiently plastic and allows the creation of bent shapes, which is often necessary for kitchen furniture with radius facades.
But the bent shape can not always be givenCountertops - the cheaper the material, the less plastic and more fragile. But such products can be used in the design of direct kitchen facades. Artificial stone has a light weight, it is smooth and warm to the touch, in contrast to natural material. One of the main advantages of this kind of countertops is that you can create seamless canvas without joints, cut openings for shells or other elements in them and do not load the lower tier of kitchen cabinets with heavy weight.
The end of the countertop made of artificial stone alsoCan be performed using a variety of shaped shapes. The product can last a long time if its manufacturing did not violate the technological process and the manufacturer did not economize on the components. That is why when choosing a countertop with this kind of composition of the material, experts are advised to give preference to well-known brands that have proven themselves on the market for many years.
Worktops with quartz agglomerate in composition
Products of this type are a mixture ofQuartz, granite and mirror crumb with binding polymeric resins. Plates for such countertops are manufactured at high temperatures under vacuum at special vibration tables. The absence of air in the composition of these table-tops allows one to speak of a high resistance to moisture. Unlike natural stone, products created in a vacuum do not absorb solvents and acids.
Thickness of countertop with quartz agglomerateIs about 30 mm. The product is resistant to cracking and scratching. Thanks to modern technology, the joint of the table top can be made almost invisible.
Table tops made of natural stone
Talk about the beauty of natural material is notIt makes sense - it must be seen. Obviously, no imitation will eclipse the natural pattern. But for naturalness it is necessary to pay a lot. And it's not just the cost of the stone itself. Tabletops made of natural stone are very heavy, their installation will require the creation of a reinforced frame of kitchen cabinets of the lower tier. In addition to the high weight and high cost, some rocks of natural stone also have other disadvantages. For example, marble, looks luxuriously, is able to transform even the most ordinary interior by its presence alone. But as a countertop material it is impractical - it is easily scratched (requires frequent grinding) and is dirty (high hygroscopicity).
As a rule, for the manufacture of kitchen countertopsUsed granite. It is less porous, poorly absorbs moisture, compared to other types of natural stones. But any natural stone requires special attention. The need for special care, as well as high cost, push buyers to alternative options for materials for making countertops. But no one will argue with the fact that longevity (with proper exploitation) natural stone is not equal. The worktop made of natural material can survive not only the kitchen facades and the repair itself, but also its owners.
Table top made of solid wood
Products from natural woodLook, bring a special character to the interior of the kitchen. They are strong and durable, but only with proper care. The surface of the table top made of wood must be periodically treated with special protective compounds with an oil base. Another feature of products made from natural wood is the way to clean surfaces - only a damp sponge, without any chemistry.
Usually, wooden countertops are made fromBeech, oak, teak and wenge - these are fairly dense, strong and incredibly beautiful breeds. Table tops from solid wood look great with facades of any color and are suitable for many stylistic options for decorating kitchen spaces.
Stainless steel as a worktop material
Obviously, the main advantage of the countertopStainless steel is an incredibly long service life. Such surfaces are not afraid of high temperatures and humidity, it is resistant to the formation and reproduction of fungus. Not for nothing in restaurants are used exactly such countertops - they are easy to care for, you can wash using cleaning agents, achieving sterile cleanliness.
The steel table top looks great inModern interior, in the kitchen, decorated in the style of high-tech or loft. But for classical kitchen spaces such a solution does not work - one of the main drawbacks of this type of products. Another feature is the low resistance to scratching (on the steel surface they are clearly visible). As a result, the countertop must be periodically polished, which leads to additional costs.
Glass and ceramic countertops
Glass is rarely used for manufacturingCountertops for home kitchens. High cost and complexity in the process outweigh the obvious aesthetic qualities. Scratches, chips and cracks on glass surfaces are common. That is why in modern design projects of kitchen spaces it is rare to find this type of countertops.
Worktops decorated with ceramicTiles or mosaics, are also not found often. The surface looks original, creative. But in use it turns out to be of little practical. The ceramic itself is able to withstand very high temperatures and withstand moisture, but the trowels can not "boast" with similar properties. As a result, the surface is vulnerable to the formation and multiplication of various bacteria. Even the surface coating with special enamels does not solve the problem to the end.
Determined with the size of table tops
When designing a kitchen space, choosingFurniture set and the distribution of storage systems and household appliances, the table top acts primarily as a functional element, not a design element. That is why it is important at the initial stage to determine the exact dimensions of this interior component of the kitchen space. The shape and dimensions of the table top must be correlated with the layout of the kitchen set, the placement of working areas, the ergonomics of the processes produced, the comfort and convenience of family members.
One of the most important parameters is the heightThe location of the countertop. It is from this size and the correctness of its choice that the convenience of implementing work processes in the kitchen area depends. Selecting the height of the table top placement is necessary based on the growth of the family member, who will carry out most of all work processes. When the height is below 150 cm, the recommended height of the countertop is within 76 cm. If the growth of the hostess (master) of the kitchen is from 150 to 160 cm, then the tabletop is set at 82 cm. With an increase of 160-170 cm, this figure will be 88 cm if The height of adult members of the family is in the range from 170 to 180 cm, then the height of the countertop will be 91-92 cm. In cases where the owners of the kitchen have a sufficiently high growth, from 180 to 190 cm, the countertop is raised to 94-95 cm from the floor. For very tall people, with an increase of 2 m or more, the height of the table top can reach 1 m.
Obviously, the selection of the height of the countertop isIndividual solutions in each case, given that the growth of family members is not the same. But with the width of the tabletop to determine easier - it is in direct proportion to the size of the room itself and the location of the upper tier of kitchen cabinets. For example, if the width of the kitchen countertop is 65 cm or more, the hanging cabinets can be located at a distance of 47-50 cm from its surface. In small-sized kitchens, the width of the countertop must be small. But in a spacious room you should not get carried away with this size - the width of the table top should be such that it would be comfortable to work on.
The thickness of the table top depends on the materialAnd can vary from 2 to 6 cm. The standard thickness of the chipboard product is 28 mm. Moisture-resistant worktop can be represented by a thickness of up to 38 mm.
Features of the installation of countertops
Choosing a countertop for the kitchen, you must alsoTake into account the costs of its installation. The most cost-effective installation of laminate countertops. They are attached to the frame of cabinets with the help of metal corners and screws. In some cases, to hide the gap between the wall and the countertop, you need to install a skirting board.
Installation of a steel countertop will cost more. The maximum possible length of such products is 3.7 m. The edges of the countertops, as a rule, are bent around the edge of the chipboard or completely wrap around the plate. Steel table tops are presented only in rectangular variants. Installation of a table top from a file of a tree will manage in 2 times more expensively installation of steel. Such products are fixed in a so-called "floating" way using brackets with oval slits. Services installers working with natural stone, will cost more than everyone. Installation of a tabletop made of natural stone can reach up to 30% of the price of the product itself.