It is common for customers to find themselves in difficulty when choosing materials to furnish their home, often due to the confusion generated by retailers who do not provide clear information on the technical characteristics of the various coverings. To resolve this problem, we have written an article that sheds light on the nature and peculiarities of the most common materials used in the home. We will start with those that are widely known and widespread, such as those for worktops and kitchen doors, and then examine the most requested fabrics to cover the rest of the house.
- The Laminate
Laminate is the most common choice for kitchen worktops, and there are good reasons for this preference. The reasons include a wide range of colors and finishes available, ease of installation and a competitive price.
The basic structure of the laminate is made up of several overlapping layers: a chipboard core covered by two plastic layers. One of these layers is decorative, often designed to simulate the look of wood or other textures, while the other layer is a protective layer called an "overlay," made of melamine resin. Although laminate offers good resistance to stains, impacts, scratches and water, it tends to suffer when exposed to high temperatures.
In addition to traditional laminate, there are three other specific types of materials to consider:
Fenix: This innovative material is created using nanotechnology and consists of several layers of cellulose impregnated with thermosetting and acrylic resins. An interesting feature is its ability to self-repair: thanks to the application of heat, microscratches and fingerprints tend to disappear. From an aesthetic point of view, the Fenix has a matte appearance and a silky surface to the touch.
PET: This plastic material is eco-friendly as it is made using recycled plastics and is itself recyclable. It is very versatile as it can be made glossy, matte, with a wooden or material appearance, offering many aesthetic options.
HPL (High-Pressure Laminate): HPL is made through a process that subjects the various layers of chipboard to high pressures and temperatures. This material is extremely resistant to high temperatures, scratches, abrasions and chemicals.
These options offer a variety of features and benefits, allowing customers to choose the material that best suits their kitchen décor needs and preferences.
(HPL Fenix laminate in London Gray finish)
- Natural stones and marbles
Natural stones maintain their popularity in furnishings, especially kitchen worktops. In this category, marble and granite are the most common materials used to furnish the kitchen. Natural stones, thanks to their uniqueness, have different characteristics and costs depending on the type. In particular, marble is considered the most valuable and elegant material among those available for worktops. However, it has a significant disadvantage due to its extreme porosity, which makes it sensitive to a wide range of substances.
It is important to note that the choice between marble and granite will depend on individual needs and preferences. While marble offers unparalleled elegance, it requires more careful maintenance to preserve its beauty, as it is vulnerable to stains and water. On the other hand, granite is known for its durability and strength, but may not offer the same aesthetic refinement as marble.
Therefore, when choosing materials for kitchen worktops, it is essential to carefully consider the specific characteristics and requirements, in order to achieve a result that is both aesthetically appealing and functional for your kitchen space.
Quartz is universally recognized as the highest quality material for kitchen worktops due to its exceptional resistance to abrasion, chemicals and heat. Quartz slabs are made of a mixture of resin, pigments and quartz in different proportions, depending on the manufacturers. Two of the best-known brands in this industry are Okite and Silestone, both made of over 94% quartz. This high quartz content makes the slabs extraordinarily strong and durable, with an average lifespan that is approximately five times longer than that of marble. Additionally, quartz is less porous, making it virtually immune to liquid absorption and stain formation.
The combination of exceptional durability and ease of maintenance makes quartz a popular choice for kitchen worktops, while offering a wide range of aesthetic options thanks to the variety of colors and finishes available. Choosing quartz for your kitchen worktop means obtaining a material that combines beauty, functionality and resistance, thus guaranteeing excellent long-term performance.
- Stoneware and technical ceramics
Gres, also known as Kerlite, is a material composed of thin ceramic sheets joined with special resins that eliminate the need for joints. This material is extremely resistant, hygienic and waterproof, making it ideal for kitchen applications. It can resist scratches and heat, making it a reliable choice for countertops.
However, it is important to note that Gres can be complex to install, especially when dealing with surfaces with many curves and corners. It is essential to avoid impacts on the most sensitive points, such as edges and corners, to preserve its integrity over time. Despite potential installation challenges, its durable and hygienic qualities make it an attractive choice for many modern kitchens.
(Top in matt black gres gres finish 12 mm thick by the luxury company Binova)