All About: Stainless Steel Countertops

Countertop Spotlight

Are you thinking about renovating your kitchen? Doing research on countertop materials? If so, then our Countertop Spotlight series will help you. Today we look at stainless steel countertops.

Material: Stainless Steel

Finish types: Satin (smooth), antique matte, or specialty.

Origin: Stainless steel is made of a metal alloy with a chromium content around 10 percent.

Environmental Impact: Very good. Stainless steel is 100% recyclable, and most stainless steel products are made from an estimated 60% recycled stainless steel: 25% old scrap (from industrial equipment), 25% new scrap (from material returned after production and manufacturing), and 40% raw materials (ferrochromium and ferronickle).

Pros: Industrial strength, durable, shiny, nonporous and easy to clean and disinfect, can be cut to any size and installed seamless, impervious to heat, rust, corrosion, and stains.

Cons: Dents and scratches easily; fingerprint smudges show up easily.

How To Clean: Wipe down with a dry microfiber cloth, or else a damp cloth with a dish soap. A mild abrasive may be used for a more thorough clean. Buff dry with a cloth to bring the steel back to a shine.

Installation: Professional installation recommended. All stainless steel countertops will have a wood substrate (or wood backer) which helps fasten the countertop to your cabinet sections, and also provides a sound buffer. (Stainless steel can be quite loud when struck.)

Price range: $85-$150/sq. ft., installed

Kitchn Reader Reviews:

When I bought my 1950s ranch style home, the kitchen already had stainless steel countertops. At first I wasn't sure I'd like them, but I do...very much. They're easy to keep clean, and they add a nice mellow glow to the muted greens, grays and browns in the room...none of the cold lab look I was afraid of. - danap648@gmail.com
The metal does not have to be super thick, but there does need to be a base of some sort underneath the metal... Stainless steel is a great counter surface and working with a local metalworker is IMO the best way to get what you want for a good price.If you don't like the look of stainless, but like the idea of it as a surface, look into powder coated steel. This is what we have in our kitchen. It's almost impossible to hurt, as long as you don't cut directly on it. Hot pans, water, spills - no problems. - kakugori
I live in Oakland and ended up buying my steel counter from Specialty stainless online. I can't say enough about their excellent customer service. The counter with integral sink and custom finish was about $1000 cheaper including shipping than quotes my contractor got locally. The company is in Buffalo, NY and they send you lots of drawings to make sure its right before manufacturing it--it's hand finished in a pretty cool way too. Steel is also 100% recyclable and you support an American company and US industry. - 356style

Related Kitchn Posts:

Before & After: Installing DIY Stainless Steel Countertops
What Is the Best Way to Clean Stainless Steel?

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(Images: Images by Sanne Tulp and Anke Helmich from StyleCookie, via Bloesom)