New countertop materials are giving granite, marble and concrete a run for their money. Countertops are often the focal point of the room, and their materials need careful consideration. With qualities like better durability, less environmental impact and more variety, new countertop materials have experienced growing popularity.
New countertop materials: Cambria
Cambria is a brand name for quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone. Made from crushed natural quartz, a hard white or clear mineral found in large quantities all across the globe, it is mixed with resin for binding and pigment for coloring. Cambria is considered a high-end choice for kitchen counters, and comes in 120 different designs with a variety of color choices.
Cambria and granite share a similar price point, but there are many differences. Quartz countertops are colored with your choice of pigment, while granite is limited to the colors nature gives it. Quartz comes in prefabricated slabs and will create a seamed surface, but granite can be installed as a single smooth surface. Granite is porous and absorbent, and needs to be sealed, polished and reconditioned periodically. Quartz is harder than granite, with little to no upkeep cost due to its near-impermeable qualities.
New countertop materials: Neolith
Neolith is a sintered porcelain slab countertop, which means that clay, feldspar, silica and mineral oxides are heated and formed into a solid mass. Besides its all-natural ingredients, neolith is colored with natural pigments in 35 different hues and patterns. It is considered eco-friendly, and is manufactured with rigorous environmental specifications.
Neolith is said to have marble’s good looks, quartz’s durability and granite’s large coverage, and is more affordable than all three. The hard surface is heat- and stain-resistant and does not need sealing or polishing. It can be manufactured to form a single coherent surface that will not warp or buckle.
Nanotech Matte Material
Trust the Italians to innovate in the kitchen, not so much in cooking but in design. Among new countertop materials displayed at EuroCucina this year, nanotech matte material impressed visitors. Manufactured by Arpa Industriale, Fenix NTM® is giving a new meaning to “smart surface technology”. Who wouldn’t want a countertop that is soft to the touch, anti-fingerprint, self-healing (think tiny scratches) and highly durable and resistant with a dozen more qualities?
New countertop materials bring functionality and beauty to your kitchen. According to countertop expert Giovanni LaFauci, “There is an excitement in discovering new materials, especially to be one of the first to build with them.” Let the excitement begin!