Kitchen Countertops / September 20, 2018 / Darrence Miller.
The basics: Plastic laminate countertops consist of a wafer-thin finish adhered to a plywood or particleboard substrate. That thin finish is a high-pressure laminate (HPL); it’s made of three layers of material bonded together by high heat and pressure: a clear melamine top for protection, a decorative layer and a backing made of phenolic resin-coated kraft paper. Well-known laminate manufacturers include Formica, Wilsonart and Nevamar.
The basics: Marble is a natural stone composed of calcium carbonate; it’s in the same stone family as limestone and travertine. Color variations occur in marble due to mineral impurities in the stone. Slabs, rather than tiles, are typically used for countertops, where the dramatic veining can be displayed.
Paperstone, one of several recycled paper countertop materials, is FSC certified and made of 100 percent postconsumer recycled paper, petroleum-free resin and pigment. It has a handsome monolithic appearance, and its feel is often compared to a warm, soft stone, like soapstone. The material is only heat resistant to 350 degrees, so you should exercise care with your hottest pans.
Composed of smaller pieces of wood, butcher block can make great use of reclaimed or repurposed material. Sustainable butcher block can come from diverse sources, such as reclaimed shipping pallets or deconstructed buildings. Your knives will love this surface and, after it shows some age, you can just sand the wood a bit and refinish with a food-grade natural oil.
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