Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertops - Are They the Right Choice for You?
If you walk into a restaurant kitchen, or watch one of those cooking shows on TV, the counter tops you’ll see there are almost always made from stainless steel. They look very good in that setting but do they work in a residential kitchen? For an increasing number of people the answer seems to be yes.
The Stainless Steel Countertop in the Home
In a restaurant kitchen the aesthetic appeal of the space is not in any way a consideration. No one ever frequented a restaurant just because it had a good looking kitchen! However that is far from the case at home. as one of the busiest rooms in the house people want kitchens that look good as well as a space that functions efficiently.
Stainless steel appliances have been popular in homes for years now. They impart a certain modern air into the kitchen and add a sleek shot of style. With a little clever decorating stainless steel counter tops can do the same thing.
The biggest danger from a design standpoint when it comes to stainless steel counter tops is that they will make the kitchen space look and feel cold and boring. To avoid this the elements around them should be warming, both in terms of the colors used around them and the lighting.
Another option available to homeowners that can improve the look of stainless steel counter tops from a design standpoint is etching. Designs can be etched into the counter to give it a unique appearance and a little extra shot of style.
If you are not a fan of modern decor you are not going to be happy with stainless steel counter tops but if contemporary is your thing then they can work very well.
Stainless Steel Countertop Care
Although stainless steel is fairly easy to care for there are some special things it needs to remain looking as good as possible for as long as possible. For everyday dry cleaning a once over with a microfiber cloth will suffice and for wet cleaning a mild detergent is all you really need.
Stainless steel will scratch. You can remove some of the scratches by carefully rubbing the affected area with a nylon scoring pad in the direction of the grain of the metal.
When it comes to fingerprints a specialist stainless steel cleaner will get rid of them quickly but you can also just use a very small amount of a glass cleaner to get the same effect (not too much though or it will smudge and streak).
The Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Countertops
Looks aside there are various pros and cons attached to the use of stainless steel as a counter top material:
Stainless Steel Counter top Pros
- They can be fabricated to any specifications you like, making them a good choice if you have an unusually shaped kitchen space.
- Stainless steel resists heat very well (the biggest reason they are used in restaurant kitchens) Putting down a hot pot on a stainless steel counter top does not have to be the big deal it might be if the surface were made from something else.
- They are seamless.
- Stainless steel is easy to clean and easy to care for.
- If you like a modern, contemporary look for your home stainless steel makes it easy to achieve in the kitchen.
Stainless Steel Counter top Cons
- Stainless steel is not really stainless. It will rust over time just like any other metal. A stainless steel counter top will last for years before that happens but it is still a possibility. You also cannot cut on a stainless steel countertop without damaging it so if you install one in your kitchen you’ll have to remember to use a cutting board at all times.
- The fingerprints that show up on stainless steel can become very annoying very quickly and removing them can often seem like a full time job!
- Stainless steel is one of the more expensive counter top materials available today.
Stainless Steel Countertop Costs
Stainless steel counter tops are usually priced by the square foot as well as by thickness. On average a good quality stainless steel counter will cost anywhere from $60 to $85 so a five foot counter will cost $300 at least. Cheaper than options like granite for sure but certainly not inexpensive.
If you choose to have stainless steel counters fabricated to your specifications the price will obviously increase. By how much will depend upon the contractor or manufacturer you are buying from as essentially the extra charges will be for labor. The price will also increase if you opt for other extras like custom etching.
Choosing Your Stainless Steel Counters
If you have decided that stainless steel is for you then shopping around wisely is important if you are going to get the best value for your money.
Precut stainless steel counter tops are going to be the least expensive option available to you and if you can find counters in the right size to fit your kitchen space then also probably the best one for you. If on the other hand you will need a custom fabricated counter look for a dealer who has a lot of experience in the field as stainless steel is not the easiest material to work with so skill level really matters when it comes to creating a stainless steel countertop.