If Corian kitchen countertops aren't for you, many alternatives can provide the look, performance and price point you're looking for. Other manufacturers now produce solid surfaces, and traditional laminate countertops continue to be used. Ceramic tile and natural surfaces such as granite and wood are other Corian alternatives.
DuPont introduced Corian in 1967, and it was prized for its durability and stone-like appearance. As of 2011, other manufacturers offer solid surfaces. Kitchen countertops made of a solid surface resist bacteria growth and stains thanks to non-porous construction. Another advantage is that solid surfaces resist water and impact damage and are easy to clean. Alternative solid surfaces to Corian include Formica; Wilsonart, which is used for residential and commercial projects; and Meganite, which offers a wide range of colors and patterns.
Tile surfaces are a traditional choice for countertops. Glazed ceramic tiles, glazed porcelain and quarry tiles are available. Unglazed tiles must be sealed to protect tiles from damage when they are used in food preparation. Tile countertops provide a heat-resistant and attractive worktop, but they can be pricey and the grout between the tiles is subject to staining. Tile surfaces also make kitchen functions like rolling dough difficult because of their bumpy surface.
Formica is one example of a laminate countertop style. Laminate usually is reasonably priced compared to solid surfaces and is available in many textures and colors. Some laminated surfaces are made to look like natural stone or wood. Laminate has become more heat-resistant over the years, but hot cooking utensils and pots should not be placed directly on the surface to avoid warping. The surface resists stains and is easy to clean.
Granite and wood countertops are examples of natural surfaces. Granite is a natural stone that resists heat, stains and scratches. It's durable and good-looking and comes in a wide array of colors and patterns, making it suitable for kitchen decor like contemporary, country and classic. Hard woods like beech, oak and walnut also can make countertops. Wood countertops often look better with age, but because wood is porous it can stain, scratch and harbor bacterial growth if not cared for properly.
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