You have a lot of decisions to make with your kitchen renovation, and one of the most important is choosing the right counters. What is often a gut decision based solely on color and price should be a well-thought-out and researched process to ensure your new countertops will hold up to your use, meet the needs for your family, and, yes, look nice!
Consider Price and Budget
Price may not be the deciding factor in how you choose your countertops, but you should still research and understand pricing before narrowing down your kitchen renovation decisions. Pricing can range from under $35 per square foot for solid surface counters to several hundred dollars per square foot for enameled lava stone. Tile options are also available. Granite tile is usually a fraction of the cost of solid granite, but it has a similar look. Keep in mind edge finishes can contribute to the overall price.
Shop for Durability
If you are remodeling because you spend a lot of time in your kitchen, durability is very important to you, whereas if you are renovating your kitchen solely to improve resale, you can go with a less durable option. Materials such as concrete and glass are hard and can withstand hot pots but may chip or flake if hit by a hard object. Stainless steel is very sturdy but can ding or scratch. Granite is probably the most indestructible material for your countertops, and I recommend it for most jobs, but poor maintenance or abuse can mar the finish. Compressed paper can hold up to general use but hot pots can damage the surface.
Understand Installation Requirements
kitchen-2.jpgInstallation for your countertops can affect the final pricing in your kitchen renovation. For some materials, such as concrete, underlying counters often need reinforcing to support the counter’s weight. Granite is heavy and great care must be exercised during installation. Butcher block is easy to install and its measurements are adjustable onsite.
Weigh Environmental Impact
Countertops are becoming “greener.” If you are planning an ecofriendly renovation of your kitchen, don’t forget about the counters. Bamboo is a renewable resource, though it is often shipped significant distances, which can affect its environmental grade. Butcher block counters can be made from Forest Stewardship Council certified sustainable wood, and glass counters can include recycled materials. Concrete counters can contain local materials, like sand and gravel, and can be poured nearby, which cuts down on transportation.
Choose Your Color
There’s really no drawback when it comes to color options. From the icy blue of some recycled glass to the smooth, soft black of oiled soapstone, color is probably your most important choice during a kitchen renovation. How to choose color? Think long term. The burnt orange countertops of the 70s can look dated in today’s home. Natural colors like black, brown, and sand have good staying power and will keep a kitchen looking modern down the road. Also consider cabinet color, backsplashes, and flooring, especially if not all three options can change. Different countertop materials offer a seemingly endless range of colors to meet your needs. Take home samples and live with the color for a few days.
Plan for Maintenance
kitchen-3.jpgWhat do you want out of your kitchen renovation? Should it make your life easier? If so, you may not want the oiling required to upkeep butcher block or soapstone counters. Does your spouse tend to use a knife directly on the counter? A scratched acrylic, compressed paper, or solid-surface countertop may be hard to clean, as can materials with seams. Concrete and granite require regular sealing. Consider how you use your countertops and choose an option based on the amount of time you want to spend keeping them looking new.