As a homeowner, you want your kitchen countertops to be able to take the heat in the kitchen. The heat resistance of materials is one of the major factors for determining their desirability as kitchen countertops, as well as their resistance to scratches and stains, and looks. Below is the heat resistance of different kitchen countertops.
Laminate countertops are a type of plastic product simulated to look like other types of solid countertop material. The material is layers of plastic bonded to Kraft paper or particleboard, and can look like marble, stainless steel, or wood.
However, the plastic used in laminate countertops have low heat resistance. It will easily discolor or crack from exposure to anything over 150 degrees Fahrenheit or 66 degrees Celsius, such as a cup of coffee.
Solid-surface countertops are a composite of different materials, including about one-third polymer resins. While it is more resistant to heat than laminate, it still warps, cracks, or discolors with direct exposure to anything over 160 degrees Celsius, such as hot pans. Solid surface countertops might also crack when exposed to very cold objects, especially immediately after exposure to a hot object.
Quartz countertops are typically manmade materials using a patented process called Bretonstone. The main component is natural quartz materials, which is very durable and heat resistant. However, quartz countertops also include polymer resins and pigments, which typically react unfavorably with exposure to heat and even direct sunlight. In most cases, quartz countertops will not sustain physical damage, but they will discolor with exposure to high heat. Constant exposure to direct sunlight can also discolor the stone permanently, so using the stone outdoors will void most warranties from manufacturers.
Granite is the most resistant to heat among the most popular materials for kitchen countertops. Granite forms naturally from magma under the Earth’s crust under intense heat and pressure over millions of years. You might say that granite was born of heat, and will withstand very high temperatures exceeding that a regular kitchen will produce. In fact, tests show that it can withstand heat in excess of 600 degrees Celsius.
You can safely place a very hot pan or pot on granite countertops without fear of permanent physical damage to the stone. You might observe marks on the stone immediately after, but these will fade once the stone cools. The marks may also be due to burning off the sealer on the granite countertops. The granite itself is intact.
Some people also worry that granite might crack with constant exposure to heat. The issue is not the heat, per se, but a sudden change in temperature or thermal shock. Granite absorbs heat slowly, but keeps it for a long time. Your granite countertops might crack if you expose it to a very hot pan and then placing something frozen on the same area immediately after. To prevent this, we recommend using trivets to prevent the stone from getting hot.
Marble countertops are quite heat resistant, more so than soapstone. In fact, ,most people put marble on par with granite when it comes to handling heat, which is why it is an ideal material for fireplaces. The problem with using marble for kitchen countertops is that it is a relatively soft stone, so it scratches and etches more easily than granite. In that respect, you will want to think twice about putting in marble countertops.
As far as handling heat, however, you will not have to worry about any lasting damage to marble countertops normally. That said, marble does stain quite easily. It is a good idea to use trivets or heat pads, as pots and pans can have grease or other staining agents sticking to the bottoms.
Terrazzo and Recycled Glass
Terrazzo and recycled glass are not very popular materials for kitchen countertops because they are not easily available, expensive, and not particularly resistant to heat. Terrazzo is highly polished concrete slabs incorporated with decorative elements, mostly recycled materials, and quite heavy. Recycled glass slabs, as you might imagine, is a mix of recycled glass and petroleum-based binders to form slabs and tiles.
Both these materials are almost as durable as granite, but they tend to glaze and crack in the presence of high heat and thermal shock. You have to be particularly careful when placing anything hot or cold directly on these countertops. With recycled glass, in particular, the heat resistant will depend on the type and source of the glass used in the mix.
Poured or pre-case concrete countertops are a relatively new entrant in the market, and have a very high resistance to heat. However, they do tend to develop micro-cracks over time as it sets. They are also quite expensive and difficult to install as well as maintain, which explains the decline in interest in acquiring concrete countertops.
Stainless steel, aluminum, and copper countertops are extremely heat resistant, and any discoloration from exposure to hot pans is not usually permanent. You do need to be careful with metal countertops, however, as they tend to absorb heat quickly. You can sustain serious injury if you touch the heated surface.
The big problem with metal countertops is scratching. It is difficult to keep it from developing small scratches from regular use, and they are almost impossible to remove without professional assistance. They are also more expensive than other types of countertops.
Heat resistance is a definite concern when choosing the right material for your kitchen countertops. Fortunately, you have many options for beautiful kitchen countertops that are also heat resistant. The trick is finding a reputable countertop specialist to source and install them for you.
Keystone Granite & Tile is your best bet in the areas of Columbus, Ohio, Delaware cities, Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
We have showrooms in Lancaster and Horsham, Pennsylvania as well as New Castle, Delaware and Columbus, Ohio. We will walk you through each slab and explain how each can benefit you in your kitchen or bathroom remodel. If you prefer engineered stones, we also carry the top brands in the industry such as Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all with manufacturer warranties.
Once you have chosen your slabs, we provide free professional design consultation and quotes so you know exactly where you are before committing. We also have a quick turnaround, so you will get your products on time and on budget.
We are experts at fabricating and installing engineered stone and granite countertops, so you can be confident that you will get the very best in product and service quality. Give us a call or send us an inquiry through our website to set the ball rolling!