If the kitchen is the most important room in the house (according to the hostess of this house), then the table is an object around which everything that happens in the kitchen revolves. It turns out that the kitchen table is the most important furniture (again, according to the hostess). Of course, a man may not agree with his half, but on what will he make himself sandwiches? Its main subject - television - can temporarily give up the palm.
What distinguishes a kitchen table from all other types of tables? That's right, they cook food on it. A process that is not very hygienic (when viewed from the side) should be safe for our health (that is, guarantee the minimum possibility of contamination of products, which will turn out good in the future). Therefore, the table should be made of such a material that for many years will be so well cleaned of all types of contaminants that it can be confidently said about “sterile clean”.
The material from which the countertop for the kitchen table is made must be non-toxic, hypoallergenic, durable and, of course, beautiful. Not many natural and artificial materials meet these conditions, so it’s worth getting to know each in more detail.
The budget material for the production of kitchen furniture - laminate - is made from extruded chipboards coated with sheet or film polymer. A thin film that mimics the texture of a natural tree is made from safe, non-toxic plastics. 3D photo printing and textured surface create the effect of touching a natural wood or stone. A variety of designs for all existing in nature materials allows any buyer to find material for kitchen furniture and countertops.
The natural enemies of a laminated surface are sharp objects and hot dishes. To avoid contact with heat or hard steel of table knives, it is enough to use cutting boards and coasters. In case of damage to the surface, the integrity of the cover will be compromised, water and bacteria will penetrate into the pressed array. If repair and disinfection measures are not taken, the bacteria will destroy the material under the film. Manufacturers of laminated countertops guarantee that the table will last at least 5 years from the start of operation with good care. To maintain cleanliness, the surface can be wiped with a soft sponge or cloth moistened with soapy water.
The cost of a laminate countertop depends on the thickness of the chipboard and the quality of the coating and ranges from 600 to 2500 rubles per 1 sq.m. surface of a standard sheet.
Natural wood laminate
A more expensive type of laminate consists of a particleboard base coated with natural wood veneer. The use of natural veneer from a valuable species of wood creates the effect of a natural array. The “walnut”, “ebony” or “bog oak” surface can be coated with veneer from the wood of these species. But painted veneer looks no less impressive. The thicker the veneer layer, the more natural the surface looks.
Laminate veneer is made in two ways. The first, less expensive way is peeling. An endless spiral of a thin layer of wood is removed from the log, which is processed: it is straightened, processed with chemical compounds for disinfection, cut into sheets and dried. A very sharp cutter removes the layer without damaging a millimeter of the surface. The texture pattern of the laminate is not quite similar to the natural one, but it is very beautiful if there were twists in the trunk wood.
Sliced veneer, in fact, is a thin board made of wood. Its production is quite expensive, but the countertops look as if assembled from a solid array. The surface decorated with inlaid veneer of different colors and wood species looks especially original.
The adhesives used for gluing veneers and the base material of the countertop are made of non-toxic polymers or, in special cases, of natural components (bone carpentry glue, fish glue). The polished surface is covered with transparent varnishes or natural polishes. Such a surface is more difficult to damage than a polymer film, but to repair it will also require more effort. Still, beauty requires ...
Prices for a laminate coated with natural veneer depend on many factors (thickness and type of veneer, wood species, type of polishing, type of glue) and can range from 2,500 to 10,000 rubles per 1 sq.m. surface.
Butcher's Deck (Butcher block)
Natural wood comes to mind first when you ask yourself (or someone), "What is furniture made of?" The answer is natural, but with a catch. The standard furniture is not applicable to the kitchen table. The conditions “beautiful”, “hypoallergenic”, “non-toxic” are met, but about “durable” you need to think twice. “A tree is a tree for strife,” a competent carpenter-furniture maker will say, and he will be right not to argue with him.
Butcher block countertops are made of dense and beautiful wood. The transverse cuts of the bars glued under pressure and carefully sanded form a single monolith - a block similar to a chessboard. The thicker the block, the more spectacular the countertop looks. The tabletop was named after the huge decks on which the butchers cut meat with the help of axes with wide blades. A viscous tree did not harm the steel blade, but it was impossible to cut the deck. They say that the butcher used the deck all his life and passed it to the heir along with the ax.
Of course, the meat should not be chopped with an ax on the countertop (this can damage a smooth surface), but it would have survived this operation and would not crumble.
A countertop assembled from transverse saw cuts is two to three times more expensive than a less durable, but equally effective assembly of long horizontal bars. Originality can be added by processing the edge of the countertop with a curved edge or a metal edging with a bronze or brass corner. A table stylized as the Middle Ages or "as in a fairy tale" can turn the kitchen into the most unusual place in the house.
Caring for a wooden worktop will require some effort. A tree can become a fruitful environment for bacteria if it is not treated with bactericidal compounds. Therefore, regular cleaning with detergents marked with “from all bacteria” is recommended. If the surface is not just polished, but also covered with polishes, then they must necessarily consist of natural components (beeswax, for example).
Prices for countertops made of natural wood can start from $ 250 and go up to $ 700-800 for exclusive and vintage pieces (per 1 sq. Meter of surface).
Artificial stone countertops
Building technologies have endowed designers with materials of invaluable beauty - artificial concrete and stones from a mixture of heavy-duty polymer resins and natural crystalline rocks (quartz, granite, marble).
Natural stone is difficult to process. To make a full-fledged slab of granite, you need to find a block - a monolith without a single crack. Then saw this block into slabs in size on machines with large diameter diamond saws. The process is not only laborious, but also extremely expensive. A natural granite slab will cost an astronomical amount even in euros. The production of artificial stone, in particular porcelain stoneware, costs five to ten times cheaper, and the resulting material is almost as good as natural granite, either in strength or in beauty. In the second, it even surpasses it, as a variety of synthetic paints are at the service of designers. Dyes mixed with granite chips and quartz sand create not only a uniformly colored “stone”, but also, if desired, intricate abstract patterns similar to marble “moire”. In the created monolith there are no cracks or stresses, and the plasticity of the polyester bonds allows you to effectively resist hard blows (although it is still not recommended to hit the countertop).
The production technology of "granite" involves mixing the components, quick pouring into molds, vibration in a vacuum (where air is completely removed from the mixture) and heat treatment - hardening at a temperature of + 1200-1300 and quick cooling.
Artificial granite is cut and ground on machines with diamond cutting saws and heavy-duty abrasive. The surface can be polished to a mirror finish or matte. If necessary, you can save a "wild" rough roughness, over which nothing can slip a millimeter. Solid crystals of natural granite will blunt the steel of the knife, so the recommendation to purchase high-quality cutting boards is present directly in the instruction manual.
Surface care is the easiest: you can wash it with a rough cloth and clean the surface of the countertop with a wire brush (if necessary according to the situation). Household chemicals cannot damage artificial granite.
Prices for countertops made of artificial granite start at $ 30 - 40 per 1 sq. foot of the surface and will depend on the complexity of the on-site installation work.
A mixture of quartz and polyester resin, combined under high pressure and temperature, is not inferior in strength to a natural material. Actually, artificial quartz is 93-96% natural, and the binder component occupies the remaining volume. Artificial quartz is made from small crystals of natural quartz and pure washed quartz sand.
For a change, depending on the artistic design, in the base mixture, part of the quartz is replaced by crushed granite and marble. Particularly exotic look on the surface of a quartz countertop blotches of glass, similar to water droplets buried in the surface of a stone. Metal shavings, when polished turning into golden sparks, create a somewhat glamorous effect.
The mixture obtained as a result of a rather complex process is poured into molds, vibrated in a vacuum to remove air from the space between the crystals and subjected to heat treatment. Rapid heating to + 1100-1300 with instant cooling cools the material. After heat treatment, the resulting sheet of “stone” - slab (“slab” in English “plate”) goes to the processing: sawing and polishing. To process artificial quartz, a diamond-coated tool is used on circular saws and polishing discs. The result is a slab with a given size and surface, the smoothness of which depends on the ideas of the designer.
A quartz countertop is cut from a standard slab for each table individually. A portable tool is used, the cutting parts of which have diamond spraying of the same class as the tool of the slab manufacturers. Edging, grinding and gluing surfaces with polyester adhesives must be performed at the highest quality level. Bonded surfaces of bends, corners and edges should not be inferior in strength to the monolith itself. As a result of laborious operations, the kitchen will be decorated with a table, the surface of which can be damaged only by a very strong blow of the hammer. Cutting a table with a knife is useless - quartz is harder than hardened steel. And looking at the surface of a stone will never bother you.
The cost of manufacturing artificial stone is quite high, and fitting the countertops in place will require additional funding. As a result, the starting price is $ 50-60 per square meter. a foot of the surface will grow one and a half to two times.
There are not many manufacturers of artificial quartz in the world who can boast of universal recognition in the world of furniture design. For example, Silestone from Spain, whose countertops are recognized as a model of quality.
A brief review will not show even the hundredth of the design options for countertops for kitchen tables, bar counters and other surfaces requiring protection. But I hope that the article will help to form a definite idea of this diversity.