Stainless Steel Countertops

Visit any professional kitchen or restaurant, and you will probably see a kitchen filled with stainless steel countertops. This virtually indestructible countertop was once only found in restaurants. Today, homeowners can now enjoy the benefits that stainless steel countertops offer in their homes. [image link –]

If you enjoy cooking and want countertops that work as hard as you do, you may want to consider installing stainless steel countertops. Stainless steel countertops are a great addition to the meal preparation areas of your home because they are stain resistant, heat resistant, and durable. In addition to this, stainless steel countertops look incredible in both contemporary kitchens and traditional kitchens.

Stainless Steel Countertop Finish Options

Many people think stainless steel is only available in a glossy finish; however, there are a number of finishes to choose from. Polished stainless steel countertops are shiny and reflect light throughout your kitchen; however, if the countertop is touched, fingerprints will show up. A satin finish provides you with a slight sheen, reflects light into the room, and the number of fingerprints that show up is minimized. Brushed metal stainless steel countertops reflect light into the kitchen, but not as well as polished or satin finished stainless steel countertops. The main benefit that brushed stainless steel countertops offer is they do not show fingerprints and smudges the way satin or shiny countertops do.

The finish on stainless steel countertops is rated on a scale of zero to eight. As the number increases, the shininess of the stainless steel diminishes.

  • Type 0 stainless steel reflects the most light and is highly polished.
  • Type 1 stainless steel is hot rolled has a coating to reduce the stainless steel countertop’s reaction to chemicals.
  • Type 2 stainless steel is polished and tempered to strengthen the countertop.
  • Type 3 stainless steel has a coarse finish.
  • Type 4 stainless steel features a brushed finish and does not show fingerprints. This type of stainless steel is often chosen for countertops.
  • Type 5 stainless steel provides a satin finish.
  • Type 6 stainless steel has a matte finish.
  • Type 7 stainless steel has a mild reflective finish.
  • Type 8 stainless steel reflects the light; however, the reflected light is significantly softened.

Edge Profile Options

The standard edge profile for stainless steel countertops is the square edge. This type of edge creates a crisp line along the front of the countertop. A square edge does have one drawback. If a liquid or food item is spilled near the edge of the countertop, the liquid may run down the edge of the countertop and drip onto your cabinetry or floor.

In addition to a square edge, you can choose an unwrapped edge where the countertop stops at the top of the counter instead of continuing along the fascia of the countertop. With this type of finish, a piece of wood trim that matches the cabinetry is installed along the front edge of your cabinets. Other edge profile options include a bullnose edge and a beveled edge. A bullnose edge has a slightly rounded edge along the front of the edge and provides a fluid look for your countertops. With a beveled edge countertop profile, the edge of the countertop slopes downward at an angle for a crisp look in the kitchen. [image link –×1000.jpg]

Mixing Different Types of Countertop Materials with Stainless Steel

If you want to reap the benefits of stainless steel countertops, but do not want an industrial looking kitchen, you can mix two different types of countertops together throughout your kitchen. Stainless steel countertops blend with many other types of countertops. Many homeowners are concerned about how installing two different types of countertops in a kitchen will look. It is no different than installing a contrasting backsplash or using stainless steel appliances or a stainless steel kitchen sink.

Install stainless steel countertops on your kitchen island and use granite, butcherblock or another type of countertop material on the remaining cabinetry in your kitchen. Combining two different countertop materials provides you with an area of stainless steel countertops for food preparation area while allowing you to reap the benefits that other countertop materials offer. Finally, having stainless steel countertops along with another countertop material looks absolutely stunning.

Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Countertops

Stainless steel offers a number of advantages in the kitchen; however, they also have some disadvantages that should be considered before purchasing and installing stainless steel countertops in your kitchen.

Advantages of Stainless Steel Countertops

  • Durability – Stainless steel countertops are incredibly durable and can withstand almost anything that you throw at them. Stainless steel is heat and rust resistant. The nickel and chromium found in stainless steel countertops mean your countertop will never get scorch marks when hot pots and pans are set on the surface. Furthermore, the composition of metals means prevent rust and other types of damage from occurring.
  • Hygienic – Stainless steel is nonporous, which means germs and bacteria cannot reside in the countertop. Germs, viruses, and bacteria have nowhere to hide. When you disinfect a stainless steel countertop, you can be confident that you have decimated all microorganisms.
  • Stain Resistant – Stainless steel countertops are stain resistant. If you spill a drink, an acidic substance, or oil on your stainless steel countertop, it will not stain. In fact, the food coloring will not stain stainless steel countertops, even if left on the surface for an extended period of time.

When a substance is spilled on your stainless steel counters, simply wipe the spill up with an absorbent paper towel and wash the countertop using a damp cloth. Following these easy instructions will keep your stainless steel countertops looking as good as they did when they were first installed.

  • Beautiful – Stainless steel countertops are beautiful. They look glorious in traditional kitchens as well as contemporary homes. Light reflects off these countertops adding a sense of warmth to the room. Additionally, the reflective properties of stainless steel make your kitchen look much more extensive.
  • Eco Friendly – Stainless steel countertops are environmentally friendly. These countertops can contain up to 60 percent recycled stainless steel. In addition to this, stainless steel countertops are 100 percent recyclable, which means absolutely nothing needs to be put in a landfill.

Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Countertops

  • Scratches – Stainless steel will scratch. Moving pots and pans across the surface or cutting directly on your stainless steel countertops will cause scratches to form. However, many people do not consider this a disadvantage. The scratches and patina that is created on stainless steel countertops give character to your kitchen. As the countertop gets more surface scratches, the scratches will blend together and look quite natural.
  • Dents – Stainless steel countertops are durable; however, dings and dents can occur if a heavy item is dropped onto the countertop. One way to reduce the risk of dents is to install your stainless steel countertop over a solid hardwood surface, ensuring the installation is tight.

Stainless steel comes in an assortment of thicknesses, referred to as the gauge. Choosing a thicker stainless steel countertop will reduce the risk of dents. Manufacturers use a number system to rate the thickness of the stainless steel.  As the number increases, the stainless steel becomes thinner. For example, a 14 gauge piece of stainless steel is thicker than a 20 gauge piece of stainless steel.

  • Noisy – Stainless steel does not absorb sound; instead, it reflects sound back into the room. When dishes, silverware, or pots and pans are placed on stainless steel countertops, it can be noisy. Regular kitchen chores like washing dishes and cooking can also seem louder.
  • Fingerprints – If you choose a mirror polish for your stainless steel countertops, fingerprints will show. In order to keep your countertops looking pristine, you will need to wipe down your countertops continually. Choosing a brushed metal or antique matte finish can help eliminate fingerprints on your countertops.
  • Cold – If the correct lighting and accent pieces are not chosen, stainless steel countertops can appear cold. Using warm toned ambient lighting and bright, colorful accent pieces will add a touch of warmth to your kitchen and prevent your stainless steel countertops from looking cold and sterile.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Countertops

Stainless steel countertops are a breeze to clean. All you need to do to clean your countertops is wipe them down with a damp cloth and a small amount of dish soap. Rinse your countertops using a clean wet cloth to remove soap residue. Use a dry microfiber cloth and buff to a shine.

For sticky substances, a mild abrasive can be used. Sprinkle the entire countertop with baking soda and wet a cloth with white vinegar. Wipe the vinegar following the grain of the stainless steel. Then, rinse the countertop and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Drying the stainless steel countertop helps to prevent water spots from appearing. Always buff dry using circular motions and working with the grain of the countertop to avoid streaking and the formation of water spots on the surface of the countertop.

You can restore the shine to your stainless steel countertops with a bit of olive oil. Slightly dampen a soft cloth with olive oil and buff the surface of the countertop for a lustrous shine.

Deep scratches and dents on your stainless steel countertops can only be removed by a countertop specialist. However, you can remove surface scratches with a 180 grit pad. The pad will create small scratches and blend the scratches into the countertop, causing the countertop to develop a beautiful patina. Buff following the direction of the grain to help blend the scratches.

A stainless steel countertop cleaner like Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish can be used every week or two to keep your countertops looking amazing. When shopping for a countertop cleaner, ensure they are formulated to be used on stainless steel. Follow the instructions on the label and then use a clean lint-free cloth to buff to a shine.

Stainless steel countertops do not need to be sealed since the stainless steel is nonporous. This means the maintenance required to keep your stainless steel countertops looking great is minimal. Simply clean with soap and water daily and buff your countertops occasionally to help restore the shine.

How Much Do Stainless Steel Countertops Cost?

The average price of stainless steel countertops is around $67 per square foot; however, they can run as much as $100 per square foot. In addition to the cost of the materials, you will need metal fasteners and adhesives to attach the stainless steel to the hardwood substrate. You can expect to spend approximately $27 per square foot in supplies, including the recommended hardwood substrate.

Countertop specialists charge around $65 per hour. If multiple seams are needed, or the countertop has an unusual shape, you can expect to spend more on labor as it will take longer to complete the installation process. If you want a stainless steel backsplash, it will add to the cost of your countertops. Finally, if the countertop specialist needs to remove your old countertops, it will add to the overall cost of the project.

Stainless steel countertops are not a solid slab of steel. Instead, they are sheets of stainless steel that are attached to a hardwood backing. After the stainless steel has been attached to the backing, it will be installed on top of your cabinetry using adhesive and metal fasteners like nuts and bolts.

The gauge of the stainless steel in residential homes range from 14 to 16 gauge, which is between 0.0625 and 0.0781 inches thick. In commercial kitchens, a thicker sheet of steel will be installed due to the frequent use of the countertops. The cost of thicker stainless steel countertops is more, which is why thinner stainless is typically chosen for residential applications.

Most stainless steel countertops are custom designed and installed.  However, there are also standard size pieces of stainless steel countertop on the market that can be installed by the homeowner.

Stainless steel countertops are a great choice of countertop for kitchen areas of the home. These countertops can withstand the demands required for cooking. The stainless steel countertops are durable and will last you for many years. They are hygienic and stain resistant. However, scratches can occur. Using a cutting board will help prevent scratches. Furthermore, avoid scraping pots and pans across the countertop to minimize the risk of scratches.

Stainless steel countertops should be installed by a countertop specialist to ensure a tight fit. When stainless steel countertops are installed properly, the risk of denting is minimized. If scratches occur, they can be buffed out with an abrasive pad. However, deep scratches should only be handled by a skilled countertop craftsman.

Stainless steel countertops are mid range priced countertops. Stainless steel countertops look fantastic in contemporary homes as well as traditional homes. These countertops offer a good return on your investment; however, certain home buyers may not want stainless steel countertops in their new home because they can appear industrial.

If you are considering putting your home on the market, you may want to combine stainless steel with another type of countertops like granite or soapstone. The stainless will provide you with a place to set down hot pots and pans and prepare your foods without the risk of staining while the granite or soapstone countertops add warmth and interest to the kitchen.

Stainless steel countertops look great on a variety of cabinetry, including gray cabinets, oak cabinets, and even white cabinets [image link –]. Use chrome plumbing fixtures, stainless steel appliances, and a stainless steel sink to bring all aspects of your kitchen together. Adding a bold accent color and ambient lighting will create a cozy and inviting kitchen.

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