If someone were to mention metal counter tops to you your mind would probably immediately think of stainless steel countertops, the kind you see in commercial kitchens as well as very contemporary residential kitchens. There are other options though and one of the oldest – and most beautiful – are copper counter tops.

Copper Countertops in the Home

It is far from unusual to see copper in the kitchen. Copper is a great choice for a backsplash or a range hood and a copper kettle has been a kitchen favorite for centuries. But copper countertops?

Copper counter tops have a lot of unique qualities, some good, some not so good but that is true of almost any counter top material you can choose for your home. Here are a few of the pros and cons you should consider if copper countertops sound like something you might be interested in:

Copper Countertop Pros

Copper Countertops are Uniquely Beautiful – When they are first installed copper countertops are a bright shiny copper shade that is pretty much uniform. Over time though they evolve. Fingerprints will turn the bright copper a shade of reddish brown, sometimes with a little blue, but then they will fade after a few days. Over time as the copper ages a beautiful patina appears as the copper darkens to a warmer brown. Some people even choose to buy an aged copper countertop so that they can achieve this look faster but for many the process of watching their countertops change over the years is fascinating in itself.
Copper Countertops are a Healthy Choice for a Healthier Home – One of the big reasons that copper counter tops have attracted new interest is because recent studies by the EPA in the US and scientists in the UK have shown that copper has some remarkable antibacterial properties. In fact these studies demonstrated that without any other substance being added that copper killed 99.8% of bacteria on them within 2 hours. For those concerned about having a healthy home copper countertops are an excellent choice.
Copper Countertops Resist Heat – As kettles and saucepans are commonly made of copper it stands to reason that when it comes to kitchen heat copper counter tops can take as much as you throw at them. When it comes to common kitchen stains the unique characteristics of copper mean that they may appear as a bright blue green spot for a while but then fade away again to become part of the patina.
Hammered Copper adds Texture as Well as Style – If you opt for hammered copper counter tops you will be getting a surface with a lot of textural detail that can add a great deal of sophistication. Hammered copper also has an advantage in that the little dents that will inevitably occur simply will not matter as they will just blend right in.

Copper Counter Top Cons

Copper Dents – Copper does have a tendency to dent quite easily. Small dents can be hammered out but larger ones may be harder to deal with. For some though dents are all a part of the charm of an aging copper counter top. Choosing hammered copper can help alleviate this disadvantage though.
Copper Counter tops are Harder to Install – Copper counter tops do have to be installed very carefully to avoid big dents and dings. If you are looking for a counter option that you can install yourself copper is almost certainly not the right choice, as you will really need the help of a good tradesman.
Copper is not Uniform – If you are looking for a counter top material that is uniform in color and that will look the same year after year then copper is not the right choice for you either. There are some ways you can polish away a patina to a certain extent and return it to its original color but the fact that the colors will change whatever you do is a part of the nature of copper.

The Cost of Copper Countertops

The cost of copper counter tops will vary greatly depending on the gauge you choose but it can’t really be called inexpensive. Against that it is very durable and will certainly outlast you if properly taken care of which means the return on your investment is potentially a very good one. In addition copper counter tops, like other higher end counter top materials such as granite and marble will increase the perceived value of your home and add to its appeal should you ever decide to sell it.

The one thing that should not be skimped on though when choosing copper counter tops is installation. Choose someone with a great deal of experience in handling copper as it is all to easy to damage it very badly if you do not know what you are doing.

Wondering just what copper countertops look like? Check out our inspiration gallery below: