09 September 2008

Kitchen countertops come in from stainless steel to soapstone, laminates to ceramics as many materials, finishes, and colors. Which one is fit for my kitchen? First, there are three factors you should weigh: cleaning, maintenance, and durability.

Scratches, burns and stains can be sanded out of solid surface counters. While ceramic tile needs regrouting every few years, Soapstone can withstand both hot and cold without cracking. Every countertop material has its aesthetic and practical benefits. Weigh them carefully against your space and budget.

Kirkstone
This sea green rock has a reputation for strength and durability and was used on many of London's fine, historic buildings. Kirkstone tiles are widely used for flooring and tilling in showers or bathrooms as well as for kitchen counters and backsplashes. You can also use kirkstone in garden. It often used as pool surrounds or as pavers because it is durable and withstands all kinds of weather.

Kirkstone, found in the hills of the English Lake District, was originally cut from the hillside by hand, loaded onto wooden sleds and dragged down the slopes to pack horses who carried it along wild mountain tracks to the coast for shipping to Britain's major ports. Today, only a handful of quarries survive, but advances in industrial technology have created diamond-tipped machine tools that enable manufacturers to cut and shape the stone in new ways and increased its potential uses dramatically.

The key to Kirkstone's toughness is its unique geology, successive, dense layers of volcanic dust and ash that give the stone its beautiful natural markings. Almost as hard as granite, Kirkstone makes an excellent kitchen work surface.
Iit must be treated with care. Acidic spills, like citrus, red wine or cola, should be wiped up immediately to avoid surface dulling, and a wooden chopping block should be used to save the surface of the stone. Otherwise, cleaning with a damp cloth is all that the stone requires from day to day.

The Kirkstone countertop cost approximately $90 a square foot installed, in the same ballpark as granite and marble.

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