Did You Know?

Solid surface countertops are available in many forms: natural stone, engineered stone, concrete and stainless steel.

by David E. Benner

The decision to remodel your kitchen or bath is usually motivated by two factors: the space doesn’t function well and, or, it needs updated surfaces. Many people are very happy with the function of their space and only want to update the look.

In the case where a complete change is not in order, I recommend changing the countertops and fixtures. With the wide range of products available, a kitchen or bath can be transformed by installing new countertops, sinks and faucets. After flooring, countertops are the most used surface in the room. Visually they are front and center in the space and have the potential to transform a room.

The three classifications of countertops are tile, laminate and solid surface. Each class has a wide variety of styles and colors. Although tile has traditionally been consid! ered an upgrade on countertops, I do not recommend tile on countertops. Even with the advancements in grout technology, the joints make cleaning the countertop a chore. Reserve the tile applications for an eye popping backsplash or in a large format on the floor with fewer grout joints. Laminate ( often referred by the brand Formica) is a time tested economical solution for your countertop. The colors and textures available are seemingly endless. Designs can be simple solid colors, stone textures and even metal laminates. The biggest drawbacks are the visible seam at the countertop edge, the inability to under mount your sink and potential durability issues.

Most of the countertops we install are solid surface. The investment is higher than the other two categories, but the long term value outweighs the initial cost. Solid surface countertops are available in many forms: natural stone, engineered stone, concrete and stainless steel. Concrete and Stainless tops are not as common as the stone choices. These two products are very beautiful when installed but the required maintenance requires a very committed consumer. The natural stone and engineered stones provide a mind boggling array of color and texture choices. Both surfaces are easy to maintain and provide long term durability. Sinks can be under mounted making countertop clean up easier. The investment in natural or engineered stone will pay for itself by enhancing your day to day use and adding lasting re-sale value.