When doing a remodel or building a kitchen, choosing the right countertops comes with a lot of decisions. How much do you need? What material will you use? How does the counter fit with the rest of the design of the room? You need to keep all of these things in mind when shopping for countertops. Fortunately, we’ve got a checklist for you so none of the important details are overlooked.
Make a Project Outline
Before undertaking an extensive renovation or even just replacing the countertops, it is important to have a plan. Having a project outline allows you to work out the project details before you get to the store or wield a saw. Your project outline should be comprehensive, covering every detail you can think of.
Consider using a kitchen template, which allows a buyer to account for appliances, cabinets, and sinks. This will give you a better idea of the surface area needed. It will also help you determine what materials you can choose from, since you’ll know what kind of support you have for the countertop. Do you have sturdy cabinets and enough of them to bear the weight of marble? How is your countertop going to work with your sink and do you intend to use the same material for a backsplash?
The plan you make before shopping for countertops should reflect whether or not you elect for professional installation. You will also need to be aware of the kind of cleanup and preparation that will be needed before the installation can begin. As challenges and mishaps arise (as they almost always do) be prepared to work within your plan—know what things can be adjusted and what cannot.
Count the Cost
Having a budget in place before shopping for countertops is critical. It helps a buyer stay within reason and minimizes overwhelm during the project. When setting your budget, assess your finances carefully in conjunction with the kind of features you are looking for. Research will help you determine which materials give you the qualities you desire in your countertops while remaining within your price range.
Speaking of research, the most savvy countertop shoppers will obtain quotes from a number of contractors and suppliers before settling on one. A professional quote will include the price of the countertop material and the cost of labor for installation. Go with the quote that is most reasonable and which contractor you trust the most.
It is very easy to go over budget on any project, so be mindful throughout the process to avoid doing so. That being said, sometimes snags arise and you have to make adjustments that affect your budget. Be wise as you work within reasonable parameters. It is typical for about 10% of a kitchen renovation’s budget to go toward countertops. Pricing is also governed by how much material you need.
Perhaps the most important choice you’ll make when shopping for countertops is which material those countertops will be made of. Take your time and do your research when making this decision. Visit slab yards and a variety of countertop suppliers as you decide how you want your countertops to look, feel, and endure.
You have a lot of flexibility when it comes to countertop materials. You can mix and match stone choices throughout the house or even throughout the same room. At Lloyd’s Remodeling and Cabinetry, we offer four general types of countertop materials:
Ask for Samples
There is no rule that says you must rely wholly upon your imagination when shopping for countertops. When doing your research with a contractor or supplier, ask for samples of countertop materials to take with you. This will allow you to see how the material works in your space, with your cabinets and paints and crockery. The lighting in your kitchen will be different from the supplier’s facility, and to really get a feel for how the material will work, you’ll need to see it for yourself.
A Little Edgy
Not all countertop edges are created equal, and you will need to decide which you prefer. These are the most common edge choices:
- Beveled edges cut off angularly, at about 45 degrees.
- Bullnose edges emphasize a smoothed edge that even surpasses eased edges. They can be half- or fully rounded.
- Eased edges are square with “eased” corners. They have a minimalist appearance.
- Ogee edges are stylized, a concave arch flowing into a convex one.
Know Your Countertop Height
This oft-overlooked detail is still important to your overall design. Most countertops max out at 26 inches. However, if you want something lower or higher, perhaps to include a kitchen island-cum-bar countertop, you’ll need to know that before your countertop installation begins.
I Sink I Get It
The sink is a notable feature in any kitchen, and your countertops need to be able to support it. You’ll need to know what kind of sink you’re looking for when you’re shopping for countertops, since different sinks are supported in different ways.
Drop-in sinks rest on top of the surrounding countertop, creating a lip all the way around. Drop-in sinks are the most versatile and are compatible with all countertops.
Undermount sinks attach to the bottom of a counter so there is no lip between the countertop and the drain. They are nice for easy cleanup, but they require a sturdy counter to mount to, durable stones like marble, quartz, and granite.
Watch the Warranty
No matter how tough your material, a warranty covers a homeowner when the unexpected occurs. A warranty protects your investment, which is usually significant when it comes to countertops, in the course of normal use. In your research when shopping for countertops, look for suppliers that will offer a warranty.