Metal countertops may not be the first thing you think of when considering an update to your kitchen but theyíre certainly unique and offer a very distinctive look to any kitchen.
Stainless steel is the most common metal countertop used though zinc, copper and even pewter are available. Each type of metal has its own unique qualities and imparts a distinct style to the kitchen.
What you should know before choosing metal countertops
The first thing you should know about metallic countertops is that they are not solid slabs of metal equal to the thickness of your countertop. Rather, theyíre relatively thin sheets of metal that are formed and fastened over a wood or similar backing material. The metal wraps around the edges to give the countertop a finished look. In most cases the corners are welded and then the welds are ground smooth so there is no appearance of a seam.
Metal is non-porous with good hygienic qualities and itís virtually heat-proof. However it also has some other qualities that you should be aware of. It's Ďmalleableí which means it can be dented, despite its backing material, and once the dentís there, it canít be removed. You may think that your countertop wonít see any rough duty or double as a workbench but donít discount inadvertently dropping a full wine bottle onto the surface. Metals differ in their hardness and resistance to dents. Zinc and copper are softer than stainless steel.
Another thing to keep in mind is that certain metals will develop their own unique characteristics which could be good or bad, depending on your likes and dislikes. Metal surfaces can be scratched though this might add character over time if thatís your cup of tea. Some metals like stainless steel hide scratches better, depending on their surface finish. A brushed finish actually has lots of micro-scratches already on the surface so itís better at hiding normal wear and tear. Compare that to a smooth or mirror-like finish that shows scratches and fingerprints much more readily.
Copper and zinc countertops will develop surface oxidation that will change their color. Again, this age-induced patina may be something youíll like. If itís not, you can apply a wax coating to keep the metalís original color.
Types of Metal Countertops
Metal countertops are generally available in 4 different materials. Thatís not to say you canít get some fabricator to fashion them out of a different metal if youíre willing to pay the price. Just remember that if you do go the unconventional route, make sure you know what to expect from that type of metal.