By Meg Escott
Here's my stainless steel countertop review which includes a run down of the properties and pros and cons of stainless steel countertops. We'll also look at whether or not a stainless steel countertop is right for your home.
This review is based on my research, talking to suppliers, and my own experiences with stainless steel countertops.
This page is part of the countertop designs series.
This stainless steel countertop reivew wouldn't be complete without going into the properties of stainless steel in more detail...
Find a local stainless steel fabricator and ask them about kitchen countertops.
Aesthetic choice - Steel offers a unique look and feel that blends perfectly into modern contemporary kitchens. Since steel is neutral in color it can blend into any almost any kitchen color combination and design. Countertops come in a matte, polished smooth finish or even textured looks.
Seams - Stainless steel kitchen countertops are usually custom fabricated so it's a question of getting your measurements right and you'll avoid seams. You have the choice of having an integrated stainless steel kitchen sink.
If your design will require seams there are special rubber strips specifically designed for the purpose of filling these seams. If the seams are not properly sealed, moisture can get under the countertop causing mold and rust.
Stain resistance - Steel is a non-porous material so there is no need to worry about a sealer and it's stain resistant. It is called stain stainless steel after all - yes I know that the 'stainless' is about rust.
Heat resistance - Steel countertops are heat resistant. Feel free to put down all of your pans and pots without having to worry about any damage occurring.
Bear in mind the stainless steel conducts heat more than other kitchen surfaces so your surface might get hot once you put a boiling pot on it but will quickly cool down.
Scratch resistance - Steel countertops are not scratch resistant and it is definitely not recommended to cut right on your countertop. Furthermore normal use will cause scratches, so the scratches need to be embraced as part of the patina. So before getting a steel countertop, it is a good idea for make a trip to somewhere that has a stainless steel countertop - ask in your local restaurant to see what it will look like after a period of use.
Cleanliness - Steel countertops are definitely your top choice for food safety and cleanliness. That's why labs and restaurants choose to install steel countertops – they are perfect to protect against mold and microbes. Stainless steel doesn’t allow any germs or bacteria to grow on its surface. A simple wipe will do it or some occasions you can also add some lemon juice and soap to your cleaning kit.
Cost - The cost of a steel countertop ranges from $65 to $125 per square foot, installed.
We had stainless steel surfaces two houses ago. They had a really chunky look to them which suited the overall architecture (very modern looking). A thick looking stainless steel countertop doesn't cost much more than a thin one because it's just a question of making a bigger shape for the steel to be wrapped around.
It's a very functional surface but it does look tired after a while. Everyday activities like putting plates down cause scratches and it dulls the look so while it was really shiny when we first moved in, it looked dull pretty quickly. Once of my friends suggested using baby oil to make it shine. The baby oil idea works pretty well but it's time consuming and as soon as you use the kitchen there's marks all over the place.
We'll finish off this stainless steel countertop review by going over some observations to help you decide whether or not this countertop is right for your home.
You might already know that you want the contemporary look of stainless steel countertops throughout your kitchen.
Like wood, stainless steel lends itself to mixing and matching with other materials.
Here's some other places you can use it. Consider using it as a backsplash, or for your toe kick, or maybe as a surface to line the inside of your kitchen island where you have a seating area.
You could think about using it in the bathroom. I've been to a few stainless steel swimming pools on the continent and it's a nice change to a paler color.
So that concludes my stainless steel countertop review. I hope you've found it useful. See below for more countertop material reviews.