Choosing new countertops is an important kitchen remodeling decision because they need to function properly while adding design personality. You can avoid becoming overwhelmed with choices and details by employing these 5 countertop shopping tips:
1. Determine Your Countertop Budget
Countertop materials are priced by the square foot, and range from approximately $10 (a starting price for laminate) to $150 (for stainless steel) per square foot. First, measure to learn the square footage of your coverage area, and then determine how much of your remodeling budget you’re willing to use on countertop materials. Keep in mind that fabrication and installation are additional countertop expenses when figuring the budget.
2. Decide on Counter Materials
Countertop choices are endless and exciting. Knowing your budget is the top priority so you don’t fall in love with a material you can’t realistically have (or can you? See tip # 3). You also need to think about your daily habits so you understand how they should function and how much maintenance you want. To shop smart, begin researching the best materials for you, starting with 5 alternatives to granite countertops.
3. Mix Countertop Materials
There is no rule that all your counters have to be the same. You can splurge with a pricier material in a prominent area – like an island top – and use a more budget-conscious surface on the perimeters (as shown in the St. Louis kitchen, above). A good trick is buying remnant pieces of the more expensive stones and using them in smaller areas, like a remnant slab of granite in the counter space between the oven and a wall so you can quickly set down hot items. Embrace the beauty of variety and let your imagination run wild while respecting your budget.
4. See Samples in Your Kitchen
Just like choosing paint colors, you need to see the counter choices your pondering in the context of your kitchen, and analyze it in your unique lighting during all times of day. And the larger the sample is the easier it is to visualize. You certainly should shop on-line to gather information and narrow down your choices, but always bring home a physical sample to ensure total satisfaction before buying.
5. Consider Fabrication
Choosing countertop material is the first half of the equation. The second half is the fabrication of the material. This includes measurements of the kitchen layout to make precise cutouts for items like sinks and cooktops. The material informs the thickness, finish and edge style (above) of the counter. For example, a laminate top looks better with a Full Bull Nose or Half Bull Nose edge because it makes the dark line disappear to the underside. Knowing these fabrication facts helps you choose the best countertop.
There is so much to consider when buying countertops, so let these shopping tips help guide you. Or you can take the best shortcut and work with the certified kitchen designers at St. Louis remodeling firm Mosby Building Arts. Mosby designers will shop with you and share their knowledge to help you craft your ultimate kitchen. To get started, call the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact them here.