Kitchen Countertop Remodeling
“Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love, brought together under one roof.” – Nate Berkus, Interior Designer
One of the most important decisions you make during a kitchen remodel is the countertops. They dictate the look and feel of the kitchen. Moreover, the right countertop can make the kitchen look beautiful, luxe, and sophisticated.
The kitchen countertop, otherwise called a counter, is the work surface found in kitchens, bathrooms, etc. In a kitchen, countertops are primarily used for food preparation.
This article takes you through the entire process of countertop remodeling, various countertop options, benefits, downsides, and many more.
Tips for Remodeling Kitchen Countertops
Kitchen countertops are the visual draw of any kitchen; The rest of the kitchen is built around it. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you choose the right counter:
- Start with the material; Instead of falling back on granite, you may want to look at other countertop options from quartz to marble, wood, and even concrete.
- Not just the color but also your choice of also shade matters when you choose a countertop material. Are you going for a subtle shade or a dramatic look? If dramatic, how loud do you want your countertop color to be?
- The fixtures and cabinets should complement the counter.
- Make sure you utilize every available counter space and add more counters if necessary in the form of a kitchen island.
Reach out to a local interior designer if you are unsure about the style and combination.
Countertop: Replace or Refinish
Replacing the countertop is not the only way to update your kitchen. You can also refinish it and give it a new feel while extending the lifetime by 10-15 years. And you can get it done at 60% lesser expense than replacing. With good DIY skills, you can take it up to 70%.
Refinishing wins again when it comes to the time. It takes just 1-3 days when replacing your countertop can take weeks. While you cannot DIY the latter, you can easily refinish the counters by yourself.
Update a Countertop Without Replacing
Your budget, or rather a lack of it, should not stop you from updating your countertop. Here are a few inexpensive ideas to give it a new look.
- Create a marble look to your counters by layering concrete and feather finish products—sand in between the layers.
- Use tiles to design a marble look.
- Make penny counters by sticking pennies to the surface and covering it with epoxy.
- Contact paper is the cheapest way to freshen your counter.
- Textured spray paint can help you design a stone look-alike countertop.
DIY Kitchen Countertop Options
While you have inexpensive options in the case of raw materials, you cannot do anything about the labor. The labor costs are pretty much similar, and that doesn’t mean you have to stick with your existing counter.
Here are a few DIY ideas to refresh your counters without spending a fortune.
- Add cement layers over your laminate countertop sanding in between. Finally, add a sealant to create a concrete overlay.
- Refresh your old counter with heavy-duty contact paper to give it an appearance similar to granite or marble.
- Use paint to create a marble or granite look. Layering different colors of paint is the key to creating the look. Add veining and feathering to create an authentic look.
- Convert old solid wood doors and flooring into wood countertops.
- Use chalkboard paint to give your counter the feel of soapstone.
Cost to Change the Kitchen Countertop
The cost to change your countertop primarily depends on the material and, finally, the labor cost.
The material cost can be anywhere between $15 to $70 per sq ft, and labor can be $10 to $30 per sq ft.
- Granite – $15 – $140/sq. ft
- Soapstone – $20 – $70/sq. ft
- Marble – $15 – $190/sq. ft
- Slate – $20 – $60/sq. ft
- Travertine – $11 – $35/sq. ft
- Quartz – $15 – $70/sq. ft
- Solid surface/Corian – $20 – $75/sq. ft
- Butcher Block – $10-$35/sq. ft
- Stainless Steel – $60 – $100/sq. ft
Cheap Update Ideas for Inexpensive Countertops
Left with a little budget to replace your countertop? Here are a few inexpensive counters
- Ceramic, porcelain, or stone tiles. They are by far the cheapest option.
- Laminate counters. While they would not win any design awards, they can get the job done and freshen up your kitchen.
- Granite and quartz slabs; While they can be expensive, you can easily get yourself some cheap options at a wholesale store. Look for overstocked or design flaws like chips.
- Recycled counters; are inexpensive, green, and environment-friendly.
Kitchen Countertop Options to Consider for a Remodel
Choosing your countertop material is probably the most crucial decision. It shows your sense of style, taste, and the lifestyle you lead. It is an investment that lasts for ages and dictates the decor of your kitchen.
Here are a few different countertop options, both traditional and modern:
- Butcher Block
- Stainless Steel
- Recycled Glass Slab
- Solid Surface
Top Trends for Kitchen Countertop Design in 2021
2021 looks to be a year for experimentation with colors inspired by nature, a dramatic look, and more metal. Here are the most popular ideas and trends of 2021, according to an interior designer for Sebring:
- Quartz, a luxury alternative to granite, is said to be the reigning material for countertops. The natural stone look has been the most popular finish, but in 2021, matte seems to be the finish in trend.
- Though a classic polished finish seems to be always in-trend, you may also want to consider a honed finish with little to no shine like a matte and leathered finish with a soft sheen.
- Add character to your countertop by combining patterns and veins for a more realistic look.
- Oversized matter black sink with gold and brass fixtures are hot in 2021. The farmhouse sink is also back in trend.
- Bold and dramatic looks with black countertop(matte or glossy) and white cabinets.
- Sustainable materials that reduce carbon footprint is gaining traction among the environmentally conscious.
- Go for an industrial design with a quartz countertop to mimic concrete countertops.
Among all the countertops, the stone is the yardstick by which other materials are measured. From vivid colors to stunning vein patterns, natural stone counters are a unique work of art.
They are unaffected by hot pans and can last a lifetime; all it needs is routine care to ward off spills and stains. They are easy to clean; Being a natural stone, they do not take well to acids in general, even acidic foods.
Quartzite, granite, marble, soapstone, and slate are examples. Then, there is the engineered stone like quartz.
Which is Better: Quartz or Granite?
Granite and quartz are both in the upper quadrant when it comes to cost. And as such, they also have aesthetic value, durability, and longevity compared to other materials. But that’s where the similarity stops. Here are a few key differences between both materials.
- Granite is a 100% natural stone, while quartz is engineered with 95% ground stone material combined with 5% polymer resin.
- It comes in two finishes: Honed and Polished.
- Every slab of granite is unique since it is a natural stone. Moreover, the colors and patterns are due to the formation and region it is mined from. Even though its counterpart is man-made, it can mimic slabs of granite or marble.
- Both the materials are both hard and tough, but the former is porous and is susceptible to staining if spills are not cleaned quickly. In the case of the latter, it cannot tolerate hot pans.
- Both are easy to clean and nearly maintenance-free. They need soap and water or a mild all-purpose cleaner. But granite benefits from resealing to extend its life.
When given a choice, quartz is the better option since they are durable.
Benefits of Granite Kitchen Countertops
Granite offers a sleek and sophisticated appearance to your kitchen like no other material. It is also the most sought-after countertop in any kitchen and not in terms of luxury.
It offers quite a few benefits, of which few are described below:
- Granite is slabs of stone cuts from the earth and one of the hardest materials; hence durable and resistant to scratches.
- They are maintenance-free and easy to clean.
- It is available in all price ranges from $40/per sq ft to $200/per sq ft.
- With the appropriate sealant, it is heat, moisture, and stain-resistant.
- Being a natural stone, each piece is different and can easily freshen the look of any kitchen.
Quartz countertops are not natural but engineered with 90%-95% raw material and the remaining, a polymeric binder called plastic resin. Nevertheless, the beauty of it all is breathtaking.
Here are a few points you may want to know about quartz:
- 90% of the natural material is not all quartz but ground-up granite, marble, glass, silica, ceramic, etc.
- Since they are man-made, they are not burdened by the implications of mining, making it more green and sustainable even the resin-based product is derived from non-food vegetable oils.
- It is also used as flooring in malls and retail showrooms.
- The wide availability of the material had brought about a reduction in granite prices.
Quartz Countertops: Pros and Cons
Quartz counters have gained quite a big following due to their unique and beautiful looks. Moreover, since they are engineered, they do not have the same flaws as natural materials. But they do have their strengths and weaknesses:
- Strong and hard as granite, still resistant to chips and cracks.
- Non-porous and maintenance-free.
- Wide range of color, finish, and pattern than natural stones.
- Green with less carbon footprint than its counterpart, granite, in terms of sustainability.
- With lighter colors, the seams are much noticeable.
- Expensive for a man-made product.
- Not resistant to heat.
Stainless Steel Countertops
Looking for a durable counter that is stain-resistant and also tolerable to heat? Stainless Steel which was once seen in professional kitchens, has come out of its nook and into the residential kitchen.
Instead of looking too harsh, it fits perfectly in any kitchen, be it modern, traditional, contemporary, retro, etc.
Stainless Steel Countertops: Pros and Cons
Stainless steel counters are famous for being a workhorse; They can take any amount of harsh treatment and still come out looking indestructible.
However, they have certain drawbacks too;
- Being a combination of chromium and nickel, they neither rust nor burn and are durable. Hence you can place hot pots without the fear of damage.
- Impervious to stains (oils, acids, drinks, etc.)
- Recyclable and sustainable with minimal carbon print
- Installation is easy. With enough experience, you can DIY the installation and save cost.
- Lower-grade steel can dent and scratches quickly depending on the grade.
- They tend to age easily.
- Things can get noisy when the kitchen is busy.
Tile countertop, another man-made option, was quite famous in the ’70s up till the ’90s and is an inexpensive way of giving your counter a new look. They come in a variety of materials such as glass, ceramic—porcelain, granite, etc.
Custom countertops are designed with smaller tiles to resemble a mosaic style, and that’s just one example of what you can do with it.
Downsides of Tile Countertops
As with every material, tile has a few downsides:
- It can chip easily when something heavy falls on the surfaces.
- It is not exactly as durable as stone countertops.
- The grouts are challenging to clean and stains easily even if slabs replace the small tiles.
- Tiled surfaces are uneven due to the small size of the tiles.
Instead of using the tile countertops on the entire counter space, install them in a smaller area like your island to make it a focal point.
Butcher Block or Wood Countertops
Butcher block counters are made from strips of wood bonded to one another and glued to form a slab. They are pretty different from stone countertops in the sense that they add warmth to your kitchen and bringing about a farmhouse vibe. The addition of the wood even takes the sharp and austere edge often associated with a modern kitchen.
The key point in a butcher block counter is determining where it would go, the entire counter space, or just as an accent piece for the kitchen. Most homeowners prefer it for their island to add a classic rustic charm to your kitchen.
Best Wood for Kitchen Countertops
Every wood has an individual pattern, and as such, they render a unique style to your countertop. They can be flat grain, edge grain, or end grain.
There are various woods that work as a countertop; however, the best are:
- Brazilian cherry
Color Best Suited for Kitchen Countertops
No matter what material you choose, specific colors work better in a kitchen and are preferred by homeowners.
- Softly Veined White
- Softly flecked or grainy white
- Pure white
- Dark or black
- Soft gray
- Midtone shades such as beiges or rich creams
Countertops have always been an essential part of any kitchen decor. Through the years, they have adopted various styles as homeowners seek perfection for their cooking space.
Now more than ever, they have multiple different countertops, including marble, granite, solid surface, soapstone, concrete.
However, you may want to remember that along with the countertop, the cabinets, hardware, backsplash all have the power to transform your kitchen.
Pro Remodeling is a local, family-owned business established in Tucson in 1971 and is regarded as one of the most trusted, best run, and customer-friendly contractors that provide the best home remodeling Tucson has experienced. If you are interested in giving your kitchen a new makeover with customized kitchen countertops, contact the experts at Pro Remodeling today.