Walk into any professional or commercial kitchen and an observer is likely to see at least one stainless steel countertop. Stainless steel is a type of metal that is generally resistant to corrosion and rot, so it is suitable for environments where moisture is prevalent. A stainless steel countertop is also advantageous in a kitchen because it is resistant to heat damage, and pots and pans can easily be placed on the surface without damaging it. All of this comes at a cost, however, as stainless steel is not an inexpensive material.
The price of the stainless steel countertop can be higher for a few reasons, one of which is the material itself. Stainless steel must be treated during the manufacturing process to ensure the steel resists rot and corrosion. Further, the stainless steel countertop is usually made to the owner's specifications, which means the cost of fabricating the countertop itself can go up. Of course, this means the owner will get exactly the countertop he or she wants and needs, making stainless steel one of the most adaptable materials for a countertop. The length and design of the countertop will also have an impact on the cost of the unit.
While the stainless steel countertop is exceptionally resistant to heat damage, it can be susceptible to other types of damage. Denting and scratching, for example, are common types of damage done to these countertops. When heavy objects such as large pots and pans fall on the countertop, denting is likely, thereby negatively affecting the aesthetic and, in some cases the functionality, of the countertop. Scratching from abrasive scrubs can also occur, dulling the finish of the stainless steel. It is not advisable to cut directly on the stainless steel countertop either, as knives and other sharp tools can cause scratches and gouges that will be impossible to get out.
One of the biggest advantages of the stainless steel countertop is the ease with which this surface can be cleaned. Soap and water are usually sufficient for cleaning the surface, though again, abrasive scrubs can damage the finish of the countertop. Bacteria and microbes cannot grow easily on stainless steel, and the surface will be resistant to stains and scorches from hot items. Since the countertop is almost always custom made, it is possible to integrate common components such as sinks right into the countertop itself. This eliminates seams where food and other material can get crammed, thereby breeding germs.