Granite: Very durable because it is stone. Since it’s porous will need to be sealed periodically. Granite is in the high price bracket. Concrete: Very durable although it is possible to crack. It can be molded into shapes and stained different colors. It too, should be sealed and is in the med range price bracket.
Solid Surface: Man made material with color throughout, scratches easily but can be buffed or polished out by professional. Mid range price and has a wide range of colors.
Incorporating sinks or stovetops into the surface of the island is one way to spread the workflow throughout the kitchen. Installation can be tricky, so pay attention to details like ventilation and plumbing. This will require running downward (most common in islands) or overhead venting (which can be expensive), and allocating extra space to in-cabinet pipes.
Do you really need a one? Not really. But you’ll inevitably get that wall dirty while cooking or washing dishes, and an easy-to-clean surface can make messes easier to wipe up, especially if your stove doesn’t have a one built in. And almost any type of material can work–from bamboo to corkboard–as long as it’s properly sealed.
Whether you go for more contemporary or more country, remember that both as still in the kitchen. So consider staining the wood to protect it from eventual cooking wear and tear.
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