Stainless steel countertops are kitchen countertops made of stainless steel. Also known as corrosion resistant steel, stainless steel is a metal alloy that contains around 10% chromium which gives it its stainless look.
Because stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and oxidation, this material is popularly used for kitchen countertops. Stainless steel countertops are durable, do not corrode, accumulate stain, or rust easily. These features are crucial in good kitchen countertops because these surfaces are usually exposed to raw food materials that can harbor harmful bacteria. Stainless steel countertops also reflect light, making darker kitchens look brighter.
Stainless steel countertops are sold in sheets that are measure by square foot. They usually cost around $50 to $75 per square foot. The sheets can be welded together to form a single-piece countertop. When installed in kitchens, stainless steel countertops appear smooth, shiny, and seamless unlike the more conventional countertops like graphite and concrete. However, there is a downside to using stainless steel countertops. By nature, stainless steel is prone to fingerprint marks because the natural oils on the fingers are easily imprinted on the smooth surface of the metal. In addition, stainless steel countertops can make a lot of noise especially when things are placed on top or moved across the surface.
Stainless steel countertops exhibit the phenomenon called passivation which allows the surface to regain its smooth finish even after it has been scratched. However, if they are continually exposed to cuts and scratches brought about by normal kitchen activities, they can lose this property and retain the scratches or cuts they have incurred. But thanks to technological advances, textured stainless steel countertops that can hide scratches and cuts are now available.
Stainless steel is a good countertop material because it is relatively inexpensive, easy to install, easy to clean, and resistant to extreme temperatures and rust. With the proper care and maintenance, it can take awhile for stainless steel countertops to rust, accumulate scratches, bend, or deform.
How to maintain stainless steel countertops
Here are a few simple tips on how to care for your stainless steel countertop:
1. Use a simple soap and warm water solution to clean your stainless steel countertop. This solution is abrasive enough to remove any harmful bacteria that can still be lingering on the surface without damaging it. You can also use bleach on your countertops, but use it sparingly. Remember to use a soft sponge when cleaning to avoid scratches.
2. Avoid chopping and cutting directly on your stainless steel countertop. Sharp knives can slice through and cut the surface, leaving your countertop with unsightly scratches. Also, avoid banging or hitting your stainless steel countertop because the hard force can deform or dent the surface. The dents can be difficult to correct and can even require professional help to fix.