Choosing Countertops: Stainless Steel
Stainless steel can take abuse from just about any kitchen utensil or hot pot, and scratches and marks imbue it with a warm, lived-in patina. Like stainless steel appliances, stainless steel countertops are popular because they work well in both traditional and contemporary kitchens, says designer Tim Scott of XTC Design Incorporated in Toronto.
Design Tip: Granite combined with steel gives your kitchen a fashionable look. Use the steel near cooking or wet areas, says designer Judy Adams Hunt of Eurotech Cabinetry in Sarasota, Fla. You can also put a manmade patina on steel that gives it a darker color. "Buying a piece of stainless steel is like buying a sculpture, a work of art," says Jennifer Gilmer, of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Ltd. in Chevy Chase, Md.
Maintenance: Use a cleaner with a high alcohol content that dries quickly and does not leave a film. Buff scratches with a scouring pad, following the grain of the metal.
Cost: $85-$150/sq. ft., installed