Specialty shops can custom-fabricate metal countertops to most any shape. You can choose an integrated sink for a seamless surface that is easy to wipe. Or you can choose to add decorative ribs or dots. A dish drainer area can be sloped so water drains into the sink.
The most common choices for metal countertops are stainless steel and copper, though other metals are available. They come in a range of thicknesses; the thicker the metal, the quieter and more resistant to denting it will be.
A countertop made from stainless steel matches the look of many high-end appliances, such as ranges and refrigerators, and so may be a good decorator choice. Unlike other metals, stainless won’t oxidize and develop a patina, and it doesn’t need to be coated with a finish. It is difficult to scratch and resists denting. Stainless steel comes in different grades with finishes that range from glossy to a dull, brushed look, so consult with your supplier to choose the type that matches your decor and is easy to clean.
When it comes in contact with water and air, copper oxidizes, resulting in a darker brown or greenish color. You may choose to polish it weekly to keep its color pristine or treat it more casually and enjoy a somewhat mottled appearance or patina. Copper has anti-bacterial properties, and some studies have shown that it kills E. coli bacteria in a matter of hours (E. coli can live for a month or more on most countertops). However, copper is easily dented and scratched.
This old-fashioned material is sometimes seen in farmhouses and seafood restaurants. It is not universally available, but you can find it in certain regions. Zinc is fairly soft though not quite as easily scratched as copper. You can choose to polish it weekly or allow it to mellow into a mottled blue-gray color.
An American tradition, pewter is an alloy of tin and copper or other metals. Older pewter contained lead, but newer types are lead-free for safety reasons. Like copper and zinc, pewter will change color if not regularly polished. Depending on the type of alloy, it may become deep gray or even nearly black. Its ability to resist scratches and dents will also vary according to the alloy.
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