Kitchen Countertops You Can Install Yourself
If you are planning a kitchen remodel, don’t let countertops frighten you. Some countertops are actually intended to be installed by DIYers. That’s why so many are sold at home centers. If you have even average DIY skills, you should be able to tackle and finish installing the countertops described here:
Plastic laminate: The No. 1 material used for kitchen countertops is plastic laminate. You may hear some professionals refer to the countertop as Formica, but this is actually a brand name. Plastic laminate is very popular because it’s inexpensive, easy to maintain (just wipe it down and go!), available in many colors, textures, and patterns, and easy to install
But plastic laminate shows scratches and chips (doesn’t stand up well to sharp knives). And it is tricky to repair if you nick or scratch the surface (all repairs should be handled by professional countertop technicians).
Ceramic tile: Another extremely popular material for kitchen countertops is ceramic tile. Ceramic tile is durable, affordable, and comes in a wide range ot colors sizes and textures. Additionally it is moisture and heat-resistant and easy to clean.
On the minus side, grout lines are prone to staining, especially if you don’t wipe them down often, food, dirt, and debris can become encrusted on grout surface.
Butcher-block: Butcher-block countertops are made of thin strips of hardwood that are glued together. Hard maple is the best wood for a butcher-block counter. Its tight, fine grain makes it very durable. Red and white oak as well as beech are also suitable countertop woods.
The most common use of a wood or butcher-block surface is as a cutting-board insert or as the surface of a center island. The warm richness of the wood can be paired with other countertop materials to enhance a kitchen’s visual appeal. Keep in mind that wood must be oiled regularly with vegetable oil or a non-toxic finishing oil, such as pure tung oil.
Wood was once thought to encourage bacteria growth more than other materials. Actually, recent studies have shown that synthetic countertop materials are more bacteria-friendly. Just keep the food and crumbs wiped up and periodically wipe the surface with a non-toxic finishing oil such as pure tung oil and you’ll be fine.