Thursday, June 16, 2011

Different Kitchen Countertop Options - Granite, Marble and More

Kitchen countertops is actually the workstation of the kitchen. It is horizontal in shape and shape and number depends upon the kitchen shape and size. Kitchen countertops are so installed that they slightly overhang the kitchen cabinets below.

Depending upon where you live and the environment of the place you can use different kitchen countertops. But whatsoever material you pick, make sure that it is sturdy, able to resist oil stains, acid or water marks. At the same time it should be easy to clean i.e. single wipe should be sufficient to bring the kitchen countertop back into shape. So do not look only for the stylish material but sturdy and long lasting kitchen countertops.

Granite Countertop

At present granite is the most popular choice of kitchen countertops. It is durable and adds to the style of the kitchen. Available in wide assortment of colors and with beautiful inner illuminations that sparkles when light falls on them. Granite countertop is increasingly fetching buyers as this is very easy to clean and maintain.

  1. Looks: It is a beautiful stone that comes in almost 3000 different colors and to your surprise no two stone looks the same. 
  2. Maintenance: Very smooth surface and supper easy to clean.
  3. Durability: It last for life time as granite is the second hardest material after diamond. 
  4. Heat resistance: Yes
  5. Scratch resistance: Yes
  6. Porosity: Granite is pretty non-porous so it is a water proof, stain proof natural stone. Also owing to this it resist the growth of bacteria and fungus, which makes it an ultimate choice for kitchen countertops.

  1. Cost: Due to major advantages granite is bit expensive natural stone but you can use  granite tiles as these are quiet affordable.
  2. Maintenance: easy on maintenance.
  3. Replacement: As said earlier no two granite slab or tiles will look similar as these are formed by natural process. So if you want to replace a part of granite with new one then you will get bit different granite in pattern. 
  4. Installation: You need professionals to install granite kitchen countertops.
  5. Brittleness: It needs proper handling. Although granite is quiet a hard stone but if handled wrongly then it can break.
Marble Kitchen Countertops

Metamorphic rock that contains calcite or dolomite. Marble is available in different color but the one that is perfectly white is the most expensive. If polished well then it is very shiny in appearance, but this natural stone is highly porous thus absorbs water and dust easily.

  1. Looks: Excellent appearance.
  2. Durability: Proper care increases the life of the marble making it very durable.
  3. Brittleness: Like all the other natural stone it is quiet a strong stone that does not break or crack easily.

  1. Cost: marble kitchen countertops are expensive than other countertop material. You will have to pay more for the flawless marble kitchen countertop.
  2. Porous: Marble is a porous stone so if not sealed properly it take stains easily.
  3. Maintenance: it needs resealing after a year for proper maintenance.
  4. Scratches: This natural stone is not that scratch resistance so you cannot cut vegetables directly on it.

Engineered Stone Countertops

95% quartz and 5% polymer resins make the engineered stone, which is available in more colors than granite. It looks like granite stone but not as popular as granite and marble stone.

  1. Variety: Engineered stone is amazing range of color and designs. Even you will find it similar to granite in look.
  2. Durability: Durability of engineered stone kitchen countertop is less than other natural stones but yet it lasts for decades.
  3. Scratch: Engineered stone is a scratch resistant stone but sharp knife can harm it.
  4. Heat Resistance: It can withstand lots of heat so good for kitchen.
  5. Porosity: Engineered stone is a non porous stone so does not take moisture and stains.

  1. Cost: Engineered kitchen countertops are expensive and some are even costlier than granite.
  2. Installation: You need professionals to install engineered countertop.
  3. Appearance: not natural in look.

Ceramic Tiles


Here ceramic tiles and grout are used to make the kitchen countertops. Ceramic tiles are made from clay  and given a matte finish. These are extremely easy to clean and maintain. Also ceramic tiles can fit into any type of interiors. Only disadvantage is that grout in between the tiles become difficult to clean.

  1. Cost: Ceramic tiles are inexpensive and very affordable.
  2. Durability: Ceramic tiles are very durable and can bear heavy load.
  3. Heat resistant: Yes
  4. Variety: Ceramic tiles are available in all sorts of color, designs and patterns.

  1. Brittle: These are brittle in nature, hence any hard impact may chip the tile.
  2. Grout: Grout joint in between the tiles does not look good and difficult to clean. It also gives an uneven look to the whole surface.
  3. Customization: you can also buy the customized ceramic tiles but then these will be expensive than the others.

Wooden Kitchen Countertops

Wood as you know is the natural material that is very warm in look. Maple, oak and other hardwood good wood to be used as kitchen countertops. The wood kitchen countertops must be sealed properly so that they do not get damaged by water or oil stain as wood is too prone to stains and scratches.

  1. Look: Very warm in look.
  2. Versatility: Wood can be used for almost all kinds of interiors. This can give both the traditional as well as modern look, you just need to tweak a little according to the design.
  3. Installation: Wood is easy to install but still needs professionals.
  4. Cleaning: Smooth wooden kitchen countertops are easy to clean.

  1. Maintenance: Maintaining wood is the biggest problem as water, oil stains and other such things in the kitchen can spoil the wood easily. Wood kitchen countertops need regular cleaning, polishing, buffing and sanding.
  2. Heat: Heat can damage the wood and also is case of fire it spreads very fast with wood.
  3. Water: If not seasoned well then water and moisture can harm the wooden countertops. Wood shrinks and expands without and with water.
Durability: Wooden kitchen countertops last for 5-8 years unlike other natural stone countertops that last for decades.

Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertops

Stainless steel countertops give modern look to the kitchen and these are corrosion resistant. It is made from the metal alloy that contains about 10% chromium, which gives the stainless steel a look. These are manufactured as per the requirement so you can easily get seamless stainless steel kitchen countertops that are extremely heat and corrosion resistant.

  1. Durability: Very durable.
  2. Heat Resistance: Yes
  3. Porosity: Steel countertop are non porous and so stains and water cannot harm it. These are also easy to clean.
  4. Installation: Easy to install.
  5. Appearance: It gives modern and sleek look. As steel reflects light so gives the illusion of a big kitchen.
  6. Variety: You will get amazing variety, design,

  1. Scratch-resistance: Scratch and dent can appear on the steel kitchen countertops.
  2. Noisy: Bit noisy to work upon
  3. Maintenance: As oil and other stains are clearly visible on the shelf so needs regular cleaning.
  4. Cost: Expensive.

Slate Stone Kitchen Countertops

Slate is another natural stone that looks awesome on kitchen countertops and kitchen backsplash. Every slate stone is different from each other. So every kitchen will be unique and different. Quality of slate stone varies with the place from where it has been mined.

  1. Appearance: Very modern and unique in look.
  2. Cost: Less expensive than marble and granite.
  3. Heat Resistant: Yes
  4. Acid Resistant: Yes
  5. Water Resistant: Yes
  6. Durability: Lives for decades and more than that.

  1. Brittle: Slate stone is brittle in nature. So if not sealed properly it can break in the form of chips.

Soapstone Kitchen Countertop

Soapstone is dark grey in color and made naturally from talc, dolomite, magnesite, and chlorite. More the talc more will be the softness and soap like texture in the soapstone kitchen countertop. This kitchen countertop material is used for more modern look.

  1. Look: Natural dark color with smooth surface. Too good
  2. Durability: Soapstone is a very durable stone with less chances of cracks.
  3. Stain Resistance: Does not react with acids or alkalis as it is a stain resistance material.
  4. Heat Resistance: Soapstone is also a heat resistant material and also it distributes heat to the other surface without burn or cracks.

  1. Maintenance: It is a natural material that needs regular maintenance. If not maintained regularly then it can get cracks and darken over a period of time.
  2. Replacement: Difficult to replace as each slab has different pattern.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kitchen Vastu Tips – Kitchen Vastu Shastra

According to vastu, kitchen is one of the most important areas in the home as this is the place from where all the energies prevails. This is the place where food is cooked for everyone.  Earlier cooking was done in open area and that place was not used for washing or any other kitchen chore. Earlier the space was more so things were made easily but now with the compactness of space, it sometimes become very difficult to follow every kitchen vastu directions. But if possible try to follow the kitchen vastu shastra as this brings more positive energy and helps in eliminating the negative vibes from the home.

Odd placement of things in the kitchen can bring bad luck or adverse the positive situations. Hence it is absolutely mandatory to follow the kitchen vastu tips for general and specific benefits.

Kitchen Vastu Tips – Kitchen Vastu Shastra

Best Direction for Kitchen According to Vastu Shastra
South-east of the house is the most important direction of the home and it governs the fire element. As kitchen is the primary place responsible for health so kitchen should be in the south-east direction of the home if possible.

Try to build kitchen in South-east direction as per Vastu. If not possible then try to make it in North-west part but avoid any other direction or place.

Now why the south east or North-west direction is considered as the best direction? Earlier days cooking was done outside the home and all work requires fire. Blowing wind could easily cause any mis-happening. In hot summer days wind blows from S-W to the N-E direction. So SE and NW direction is the best to avoid any fire accident.

Do not build kitchen in North-east direction as per vastu as Sun light enters from East and North side of the home and these directions are considered important for meditation and thus reserved for meditation and living room.

Kitchen Vastu Tips for Doors and Windows

Kitchen door should never be in front of the bathroom door.

Door of the kitchen should be in North, East or North-east direction of the home.

Door of the kitchen should open in clockwise directions as most of the persons are right handed thus it is easy to open it.

If you have large window in the kitchen then it should face the east direction as the Sunlight will enter without any blocking. Rays of the Sun actually helps in killing the
germs. Also the first rays of the Sun are beneficial for the health of the person working in the kitchen.

For cross ventilation, an additional small window can be made in the South direction of the kitchen.

Kitchen Vastu Tips for Gas Stove, Microwave and Exhaust Fan
Location of cooking gas stove in the kitchen according to vastu shastra should be South-east. The person while cooking should face the east direction as she will get the fresh morning Sunrays that are very beneficial for health.

Gas stove should not be visible from outside.

Place microwave in the South-east corner of the kitchen. Microwave oven is similar to cooking gas, which is placed in the SE corner and so does the microwave.

Exhaust fan should be fitted to the east wall. Logically all cooking is done in SE direction so the direction for the fumes to go out easily is the east. Also this is the direction for installing chimney.

Location of Kitchen Sink
Water sink in the kitchen should be in North-east direction and away from the cooking gas as water and fire do not gel with each other.

There should not be any leaking water tap in the kitchen as it causes the wastage of water and thus energy.

Use North-east direction in the kitchen for water storage and taps as the stored water will get enough of morning Sunlight that helps in killing germs.

Dining Table in the Kitchen
According to kitchen vastu tips avoid placing dinning table in the center of the kitchen. You can place dining table in the North-west direction. NW direction is the less active area in the kitchen so best suitable for the dining and eating purposes.

Kitchen Vastu Tips for Electronic Appliances
Place kitchen electronic equipments in South-west direction.

Kitchen Vastu Tips for Gas Cylinder
Best direction for placing the gas cylinder is the Southeast corner of the kitchen and utilize the same direction for installing geyser.

According to kitchen vastu tips, no bedroom or bathroom should adjoin the kitchen.

Color of Kitchen according to Vastu Shastra


Green is considered as the best color for kitchen as it improves the appetite of the family members.