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How to choose the kitchen counter?

Selecting the kitchen counter is one of the most important decisions when renovating or furnishing a kitchen for the first time.

There are many materials to choose from, the type of countertop you decide on will depend on budget, aesthetics and maintenance. You have to combine what you love with the amount of money you have to spend. You have to take into consideration the estimated duration of the counter (It’s not the same for a rented apartment or something provisional compared to counter that has to last many years) and consider the care and maintenance of the counter.

Quotes for countertops are usually measured in surface linear metres. The metres are calculated and multiplied by the price per metre. The width doesn’t usually affect the price unless it’s a special measurement. Apart from that we have to take into account the price of assembling and the cuts that are needed (for example to fit the sink).

Among the many types of existing materials is the compact quartz SILESTONE. It’s a very hard material, difficult to scratch, cleans easily, and is water resistant and shock proof. However, we must be wary with high temperatures therefore it’s a good idea to always use protectors when placing something that has come out straight of the oven or fire. There is a variety of colours and designs, the biggest selection among all the countertop materials that can be found. They are beautiful and easy to clean.

Other materials are granite countertops which are extremely hard, almost impossible to scratch, shock resistant and resistant to acids. As granite is a porous material, stains penetrate, especially oil, and may remain permanently. Having said that, a positive point to mention is that granite is totally heat resistant so it can support hot pots and pans with no problem.

Granite comes in many colours but perhaps one of the most popular for kitchens is the pink granite or even pearl grey. There isn’t as much variety as in the silestone but there are always new colours and presentations appearing on the market.

As far as prices are concerned, compact quartz and imported granites are in the same price range whereas national granites tend to usually be cheaper than compact quartz.

Marble has very similar characteristics when comparing it to granite, although it is a liitle more delicate where stains and acids are concerned and it loses its luster easily.It resists scratches but not strong impact.It’s very elegant but harder to maintain.

We hope that with this clarification,your decision will be easier to make.

What is marble?

Marble is a metamorphic rock that is formed by a series of geological processes that lead to mineralogical and structural changes in both igneous and sedimentary rocks. These changes are a result of the pursuit of physical-chemical balance of the rocks when they are subjected to the different environments in which they are formed. The main agents producing these transformations are chemically active fluids, pressure and temperature.

The structure of metamorphic rocks can be classified into two groups those foliated and non-foliated (aphanitic or granular). Marble comes from the metamorphasis of limestone rocks after a recrystallization of its minerals, this usually happens when there is heightened pressure and compactness thus altering the other characteristics regarding the source rock.

*Composition:

In its composition CO3Ca predominates, accompanied by a wide variety of other minerals (mica, magnesium silicates, graphite, iron oxides etc..)

*Structure:

Its structure is compact and its fracture is flat and has the appearance of sacaroidea. The classification of marble according to the size of its crystals is:

-Afanocrystalline

-Very finely crystalline

-Finely crystalline

-Moderately crystalline

-Thickly crystalline

-Very thickly crystalline

*General Characteristics:

-Bulk density between 2.6 and 2.85 g/cm3

-True density of 2.7 to 2.9 g/cm3.

-Hardness 3 on the Moh Scale

-Compression resistance ranging from 400 to 1800 kgf/cm2.

-Resistance to abrasion is 20 to 40 cm3 after a test on the wear track of 1000m.

-Resistance to sandblast 5-10 cm3.

*Features of Homogeneity:

According to UNE 23 marble which presents the following are not allowed to be submitted:

-Areas or parts altered, decomposed or with noticeable changes in tone (except those incurred by the veins)

-Ferrous particles, clay, sulphur or earthy masses

-Cracks, holes, perforrations or fissures.

*Colours:

Marble can be classified according to its colour, in single-colour or multi-colour, the multi-colour in turn are classified as:

-Veined, where listings appear with different colours to that of the background

-Arborescent, when streaks occur in all different directions

-Brocades, analogous to the above but of smaller fragments

-Lumaqueles fossiliferous, when they contain or appear to contain fossils of a different nature.

-Whites are usually rich in CaCO3 sometimes marked by barely visible veins.

Black and grey contain carbon or organic substances.

The red and pink contain oligisto or red hematite.

Yellow, brown or cream contain iron in limonite form.

Green contain magnesium sillicates.

*Surface treatments:

Roughing: Rough finish obtained by mallet and hammer blows.

Averrugado: Sinuous finish obtained using a pointer generally framed edges in delicate style.

Sawing: Finish resulting from cutting with a saw.

Honed: Treatment with an abrasive pumice. The surface is smooth and matt.

Polish: The treatment following honing, smoothing and polishing. Smoothing treatment is a fine grain abrasive and polishing is done by varnish rubbed with woollen cloths using a polishing machine. The result is a smooth, shiny surface.

Aburjardado: This is done by providing a uniform texture of roughness.

Flamed: It consists of applying a sudden heat source to the surface of certain rocks like granite. Feldspars, sensitive to heat, are dehusked and provide a non-uniform rough, spoilt surface.

*Processes of exploitation and extraction of the block:

Since the rocks are in their natural deposits until they adopt their commercial morphology, a series of processes are carried out such as: analyze the exploitation of a quarry in view of its profitability, make the exploitation in accordance with the geological formation of the land, proceed to extraction and fragmentation of the rock, transport from quarry to workshop, roughening and perform finishing operations.

Quarrying depends on the geological formation of the ground and can be done in the open, when the deposits are superficial or at a shallow depth, or an underground operation when the deposits are deeper. How the rocks start off depends on their later use, so sometimes its of interest to take large blocks which are as unaltered as possible,the case of granite and marble, so that in the workshop they can obtain smaller pieces consecutively until reaching commercial forms. In other cases it’s sometimes of interest to obtain disintegrated material so the extraction is done using energetic methods. In the first case wet wooden wedges are used,with the aid of steel wire saws which can cut the rock, air hammers and the use of explosives by means of holes which facilitate fragmentation of the blocks used.

*Applications:

Because of their physical and functional characteristics the following can be applied to both sculpture and architecture:

-Marble Sculptures: usually use marble of one single colour

-Architectural marble: use one colour marble and polychrome

Because of its technical characteristics, it can be used for any constructive application (factory, flooring, pavements and cover)

*Variety:

SPANISH MARBLE:

Basque: Deva Grey, Black Marquina, Bilbao Red, Black Mañaria, Green Norte.

Navarra: Rose Duchess

Valencia: Jasper Cream, Valencia Cream, Marble Emperor, Valencia Rose, Ivory Cream, Novelda Grey, Borriol and Alicante Red.

Murcia: Levante Cream, Grey Ceheguin, Red Ceheguin and Red Coralito.

Andalucia: Anasol, White Macael, Grey Macael, Imperial Marble, Red Carcabuey, Gilena Cream, Black Country and Granada Green.

IMPORTED MARBLE:

Italy: White Carrara, White Pi, White Unito, Green Venato, Alpi Green, Portoro, Rosso Levanto, Bianco de Musso, Machietto, Bardiglio, Breccia Violeta, Gialo di Siena, Aurora di Siena, Rose Petal, Mother of Pearl, Palisandro Bluete, Bardigglieto, Rosso Verona, Rosso Antico, Hembro, Rosa Alpino, Serpeggiante, Perlato Royal, Golden Cipolino, Arabescato. Travertino: roman, dark, classic, antique, chiaro.

Portugal: Rosa Aurora Grey, Rosa Aurora Salmon, Rosa del Monte.

Greece: Tinos Green, Thassos White, Pighes White.

Yugoslavia: Sivec White or Yugoslavo.

Belgium: Belgian Black.

Pakistan: Onix Pakistan.

Brazil: Macauba Blue.

Norway: Princess Pink

Turkey: Seaweed Green

Here you can proceed to all the kitchen products:

Furniture – Storage – Countertops – Electrical Appliances – Project Phases – Know more