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Top that now!

So you’ve decided to do a spot of remodelling and you’re feeling lost when it comes to choosing your new kitchen top. This simplified guide will get your started on your quest.

So there you are, gearing up to the mighty task of choosing a brand new kitchen or re-modelling an old one. An experience that promises to be fun, allowing you to create your own personal kind of space, complete with the latest in gadgetry, cutting-edge colour choices and plenty of pretty accessories to choose from.

When it comes to a new kitchen, it is all fun and games until you hit that one snag: the kitchen top. Why do I say snag? After all, gone are the days when you had to be content with a plain and straightforward granite or wooden top. The array of choices on the market nowadays means that we can give our imagination free rein to come up with the most effective and custom-made solutions to suit our personal foibles.

And therein lies the rub. The more choices available, the more mind-boggling the task becomes. The more confused and stressed out we are likely to get. And the more probable that we will end up making the wrong choice. After all, who can tell the difference between marble, granite and resin? Well, your kitchen specialist will – and he will also, no doubt, explain it well and thoroughly. But let’s face it, when we are standing in a showroom surrounded by exciting, new alternatives, the nitty gritty details tend to go over our heads as we concentrate on style and budget.

There is a collection of pros and cons of the more popular varieties of kitchen tops currently available on the market. Check your specific needs, weigh budget options and you have your work cut out for you.

Stainless steel used to be thought of as too clinical and cold, acceptable only in an industrial type of kitchen

Granite

The old Maltese favourite, granite does have a lot going for it. Sturdy, long-lasting and relatively resistant to daily wear and tear, it also comes in a good range of colours. The cons? Despite its reputation, it isn’t quite stain resistant – well, not if you are the house-proud and fussy sort of person that will have kittens upon spying a slightly discoloured red patch on your kitchen top. You can give it a regular anti-stain treatment to sort this issue, but most of us will either find this too expensive or else will simply forget all about it until that telltale patch actually appears. Just how much of a problem this is depends entirely on you. I’m of the school of thought that stains are part of a pretty patchwork of living, but I’m well-aware that not everyone shares my pragmatic view, so you might wish to rethink this option carefully.

Corian

The name Corian is a bit like referring to a vacuum cleaner as a Hoover. Corian is the actual brand name: the accurate, generic term for this would be solid surfacing. It is a mix of acrylic and polyester and its main selling point is the fact that it is completely non porous. Well, as completely as scientifically possible. Basically, this means that once you get it installed, you can pretty much forget all about it. No treatments are required and the colour options are even vaster than for granite. On the cleaning front, a quick wipe with a damp cloth will do the trick. What’s the catch, I feel you ask. W ell, there isn’t one really. It can be susceptible to heat, but most people don’t put hot pans straight from the stove onto their kitchen top, anyway.

Quartz

Made of a sturdy combination of resin and quartz chips that are tinted with colour, this is the one you opt for if you can’t make up your mind between the first two options. It is equally easy to maintain and clean, and the availability of colours is not an issue. The con here is pretty clear: be prepared to fork out the dough. Then again, this kitchen top is likely to last you a lifetime and will keep its brand new look for years.

Marble

Before the recession hit, this was the one to aspire to. Despite an array of qualities that make it incredibly unsuitable for dailywear and tear, no material looks as stylish and classy as pure marble. On the positive side, it withstands both heat and cold quite well. On the negative side, you have pretty much everything else: it stains, chips and loses its gloss only too easily, even with constant maintenance.

Tiling

This has actually become quite the trend. For starters, it is certainly cheaper than all other options. For seconds, the design and colour options are pretty endless. So is the choice of materials, from ceramics and porcelain to the ‘stone’ variety. Tiles are usually good for a reasonable amount of heat – and even should disaster strike, you can easily replace just the one tile (make sure to buy an extra box). The one con is the fact that an uneven surface is more difficult to clean and, given the surroundings, less hygienic. To a certain extent, this issue can be resolved by sealing – ask your supplier for all options.

Stainless Steel

It used to be thought of as too clinical and cold, acceptable only in an industrial type of kitchen. The trend for minimalist, modern kitchens changed all that, aided by the fact that stainless steel is practically impossible to damage and is both heat and bacteria-resistant. Of course, if you happen to drop a massive pot on it, it is likely to suffer a pretty good dent. But when subjected to regular use, it is one of the easiest solutions for your kitchen top.

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