A number of folks have been inquiring on what material works best for the kitchen slab. This decision has lately become more complicated due to the different variety available in the market and whether the newer materials available suit our desi style of cooking & handling.
To answer this question lets look at each of the materials available and the pros & Cons of each
1. Good Old Granite:
By far the most popular choice, and not without reason. Granite is more or less scratch & stain proof. The only draw back with Granite is the limitation on the colours & shades available. If you are ok with the Henry Ford philosophy of “You can choose any colour as long as its black” then this is the best material for you. One would argue that granite does come in other colours, however my personal view is that the other colours in granite do not give as good a finish & look compared to black granite or the other materials (below). Approx price range 100 – 700 per square foot (some imported one do cost the sky)
2. Corian (Acrylic Solid Surface)
The most hotly debated material. By the way – did you know that while Corian is generally used as a family name for all types of acrylic solid surfaces for countertops it is actually a brand name owned by Du Pont (Much like how we assume the name “Surf ” to mean any kind of washing powder). Acrylic countertops in Bangalore are available from Dupont (Corian), Merino (Hanex) & LG (Himacs). The great thing about Acrylic solid surface is that it can be shaped as per one’s requirement, hence giving a lot of flexibility to the designer. Also the finishes & edges are clean & slick. The only thing that goes against Acrylic surfaces is that they are prone to scratches & stains….these can however be removed by “rebuffing” the surface. Contrary to usual belief, Acrylic Surfaces are extremely resistant to heat (do not melt). To prove this to myself I actually brought a small piece of the material home and experimented with all kinds of things. The poor piece of Acrylic (this one is Hanex) you see in the picture below has hosted
|Acrylic Counter top Material/ Corian – Under Test|
1. A hot pressure cooker right out of the flame
2. A kadhai fuming with hot oil and
3. Knife cuts from daily vegetable chopping
Well, except for the scratches, it did hold up to tell its story.
The other good thing about Acrylic is that it comes in a range of colours including Shocking white (my favourite). On the price front Acrylic will set you off by over Rupees 800 per square foot, so u need to have a strong heart and a loving husband to go with it.
|Italian Marble Counter top|
Apart from the Rajasthani White (Makarana) Marble you have Italian marble widely available in Bangalore. It comes in a variety of very rich colours. The challenge in using Marble is that (1) You need to buy the whole sheet – so if you don’t do your maths right then you may end up wasting quite a bit (2) Marble is brittle – you need a very good workman to cut & lay the sheet and (3) Not all types of Marble are stain & scratch resistance, hence you need to choose carefully. However if “Managed” well Marble can give a very distinct look. For the record…I myself have used Marble in my kitchen (see the pic) and contrary to the popular belief that Marble is not suited for Kitchen Counter tops I kind of am satisfied with it. What you need to know however is that it does require a bit of maintenance and kindly use – not as much as a ” Fill it, shut it, forget it” (remember the old Hero Honda ad) type like granite. Price Point – Rupees 350 psft and above.
4. Quartz – Artificial Stone:
|Quartz Kitchen Counter Top|
This is a fairly new addition to the family of materials for counter tops. I was frankly a little skeptical before using this when one of my customers insisted but its been around one year (see the pic) and so far the customer is not complaining. I really would not mind using this again. Quartz stands good in all aspects such as scratch & stain resistance, easy workmanship, slick finishes & availability in a range of colours. Price Point – Rs 500 psft and above
There are other options available like Laminate on wood etc however I do not feel that these stand up the exacting standards for Indian cooking and these are definitely NOT Indian MAID Proof 🙂
That’s it for now I guess, that one was quite a marathon …have not typed sooo much in a long time and to those of you who have had the patience of reading till this very line…a big thank you & hope this helps you in your own Marathon of home making. As always would welcome any bouquets & brickbats