Metal Countertops

Metal Kitchen Counters Are Nonporous and Offer Distinctive Styling

Do not call it a comeback metal countertops have been here for years. From the beginning to the mid of the 20th century metal was actually a popular countertop material. But with the introduction of laminates, acrylics, and stone countertops, metal fell out of favor. Now, homeowners who want something a little different in their kitchens are again looking to metal countertops and proving that a classic never goes out of style.

Metal Countertop Considerations

Because metal countertops are more commonly found in restaurants than in residences, they are somewhat of an unknown commodity among potential buyers. If you are unfamiliar with what metal has to offer, the following primer should bring you up to speed.

How They are Made

Metal counters are made from thin metal sheets mounted on a backing material (typically wood). So while the countertop may have a total thickness of around 1½ inches (similar to other materials), most of this comes from the backer. Corners are welded or soldered and then ground smooth to create a seamless surface.

Types

Stainless steel is the most popular type of metal countertop, but it is certainly not the only option. Zinc and pewter both have a silvery color that is similar to stainless steel, while copper, brass, and bronze have a warmer, reddish/gold color. With the exception of stainless steel, metal countertops will darken with age and use. This can be prevented by applying a wax or sealer (although metal is patina is often regarded as charming).

Performance

All metal counters are nonporous (meaning they are waterproof and would not stain) and highly resistant to heat (zinc less so than other metals). Copper and its alloys (bronze and brass), furthermore, have antibacterial properties. Metal is, however, susceptible to scratches and dents. The most bulletproof metal is stainless steel, but even it can show wear and tear. Zinc and pewte the softest metals are the least durable.

Gauge

The gauge of a metal refers to its thickness, with a lower number indicating a thicker sheet (for example, 14 gauge stainless steel is thicker than 18 gauge). A thicker metal countertop will better resist dents.

Finish

If you want a metal countertop with a mirror polish finish, understand that it is going to show fingerprints, watermarks, and blemishes. A textured finish (such as brushed, matte, or hammered), on the other hand, does a much better job of concealing marks and scratches. It is possible to buy copper countertops with a manufacturer-applied patina, which is created with heat and chemicals and provides a decorative effect.

Edging

The harder the metal, the fewer edge profiles can be created. Stainless steel, for example, which is the hardest metal countertop material, can only be shaped into basic edge shapes. Soft metals like pewter and zinc, however, can be manipulated into more intricate patterns. Speak with a fabricator to learn which edge profiles are offered on specific metal types.

Integrated Sinks

All metal countertops can have a sink of the same material welded to it for an integral countertop/sink surface.

Metal Countertop Costs

  • Metal counters start at $60 to $90 per square foot installed but can cost as much as $100 to $200 per square foot installed. Factors that affect pricing include the type and gauge of the metal, the countertop edge profile and finish, and local labor and material costs.
  • You can save money on metal countertops by purchasing the materials from a local sheet metal shop and installing them yourself. Check out The Home Project to read about one couple is experience with DIY stainless steel counters.

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