If you've spent any time watching cooking shows on television, then you know that almost all of these professional kitchens feature metal countertops. Nothing stands up to heat, water, and stains better than metal. Yes, it can scratch, and its appearance can be cold if not surrounded by warm tones, but when you don't have time to worry about being careful, there is no alternative to its worry-free maintenance.
Stainless steel is the most common type of metal found in the kitchen. Zinc, another popular option, has the look of pewter. You can also apply a chemical finish that will age zinc, creating a variegated color pattern. With copper, expect to pay big bucks, but for some homeowners, the big bang of this stunning finish is worth it. With a sealant, copper will retain its buttery brown hues, but expect some irregularity with color. Left untreated, it, too, will patina to its timeless verdigris finish.
The higher the grade, the better your metal countertop will perform. Make sure to invest in a thick gauge that won't dent. With care, your countertops can easily last 20 years or more.
If you're worried about scratching, take a look at your stainless-steel sink. Your countertops will develop the same brushed look over time, but like your sink, they can be buffed out and polished. Metal can also be sealed to prevent scratching.
Metal countertops are not cheap, but they can be affordable if used as accents in the kitchen. Prices start at about $60 per square foot. If you're willing to work with a metal sheeting shop, you might be able to lower the cost by having them create your countertops.
Another option is to shop restaurant supply stores. Some homeowners have disassembled metal tables and used the top as countertops and islands.