Next to cabinets, there is no greater kitchen icon than the countertop. As one of the most visible features of your kitchen, your countertop is likely the place for most of your food prep, an assembly line for dirty dishes, and auxiliary kitchen storage. As a homeowner, you undoubtedly want a kitchen or bathroom counter that "does-it-all." And some counters come close, if you're willing to pay for it, while even the cheapest counters can offer tremendous versatility in some areas of countertop design.
How Versatile Counters Fit into Your Lifestyle
What exactly constitutes a versatile countertop is dependent on your daily routine and what versatility means to you. Are you looking for a counter that looks stunning and elegant? Easy to clean and sanitize? Easy to install and budget-friendly? Able to endure lots of use and abuse? Here are the most popular materials and the versatile qualities each material has to offer your kitchen or bathroom.
Natural and Engineered Stone Counters: Currently, the most coveted choice, natural and engineered stone counters offer upscale looks and unsurpassed durability. Just don't buy into the idea that you need to choose granite to match what the Jones' are doing. Everything from quartz to concrete and numerous stone composite manufacturers offer every bit of value as the more popular granite.
Solid Surface Counters: These counters are king when it comes to decorating versatility. Corian alone offers 130 different colors with a number of various textures for more dynamic surfaces. Virtually indestructible, you should still take care when using a solid-surface counter. Repairs generally aren't plausible with this material.
Laminate Counters: Similar to solid surface counters in decorating versatility, laminate counters are roughly one-third as expensive. Of course, you won't have the same durability, as laminate counters are susceptible to staining and scratches. On the other hand, if you're feeling indecisive, laminate counters are relatively easy to repair or replace.
Stainless Steel/Glass Counters: Diamonds in the rough, these counters are the easiest to maintain. There's a reason restaurants have stainless steel counters in their kitchen: They're easy to clean and sanitize, as bacteria and other organisms don't last long on these services. Stains aren't a problem, either. Nothing sticks. At least look at the newly fashionable design options. They may fit into your kitchen or bathroom decorating scheme better than you think.
Give your kitchen a facelift! Use this link toInstall Countertops
Countertop Installation and Costs
Most counters take between one and two weeks to install. Laminate leads the way at just over a week, while large, complicated stone counters average just more than two weeks for installation. Often, these heavier materials are fabricated at a manufacturer's site and then shipped and installed in your home. According to data from ServiceMagic, the following represent average costs for each material across the country. Naturally, the cost of your project may vary considerably. We've seen some homeowners install a counter for as little as $600 and as much as $12,000. But these averages can be useful when comparing the relative cost of different materials.
Natural or Engineered Stone: $4,347
Solid-Surface or Concrete: $4,126
Laminate Counters: $1,466
Additional Versatility: Accessories and Design
For a truly versatile countertop, your primary design could use the help of a smart design and accessories:
Backsplash: Have you ever gotten something valuable stuck behind the counter? It can be a hopeless struggle to fish your valuables back to safety. A backsplash is a vertical piece (usually only several inches high) of wood or counter material that seals the crevice between the wall and the counter top. They're designed to keep water from leaking between the wall and the counter, and they're also great at stopping ordinary things like pens, CDs, and coins from getting down there, too.
Built-in and under-mount sinks: Built-in sinks and stove units are the most common options for counters. In general, they add very little cost to the installation. These options usually have built-in rims that fit above the counter, sealing and hiding any gaps in the counter cutout. Under-mounted sinks are a different story. These sinks sit below the counter, exposing the cutout. With under-mounted sinks, the cutout needs to be perfect, and the edges need to be finished. And this adds to the cost of your installation.