Spaces for Life

The ReTouch Home Improvement blog



Spaces for Life: How to choose a countertop

By Lance McCarthy

Despite all the news reports and attention surrounding the presidential elections, it looks like the zombie apocalypse isn’t happening yet (give it time). And without zombies, people will still be wanting to make their homes nicer. Here are a few options to consider when replacing your countertops.

(I don’t know any zombies personally, so I may be making an unfair stereotype that zombies don’t take pride in their dwellings. I’ll have to take that chance.)

Countertop Types
Used to be the most popular option, but has fallen with the rise in popularity of granite
Wilsonart is the king here
Solid Surface
Not as popular in kitchens as it used to be, but very popular in bathrooms.
Onyx, cultured marble and Corian
Granite (Grade A)
The next most affordable option (includes 12-15 popular and consistent color patterns
Granite is granite, just pick a pattern
Butcher block
Growing in popularity, but limited in application. It is a natural product, and might not be a good choice in a wet location
Varies widely in quality, but can prove a versatile option for the right project
Quartz (base grade)
Man made granite-like durable product with less movement than granite, but a cleaner and possibly more modern look.
Silestone, Cambria, Zodiaq, Caesarstone
Everything else
There are literally hundreds of options
Marble, soapstone, and a host of other options are available including recycled glass, or even copper

Questions to ask an installer

  • Where do your slabs come from?  Even within the same family of granites, there is a wide range of quality and finish.  That explains the outrageous guys advertising granite for less than a pound of bananas.
  • What do you use to fabricate them?  Countertops can be fabricated in a garage with a grinder, or in a hi-tech facility with a laser-guided computer system.  This will have a dramatic effect on the precision of the finished product.
  • How do you template for the piece?  This should be done by laser, or by creating a physical template using cardboard or plastic board so that bowed walls or un-square corners won’t show up.

Connected to work

The tricky thing about countertops is they are like teenage boys going to a party. If one is going, he is going to want to bring a bunch of friends. When you replace a countertop, consider these other items

  • New faucet
  • New sink bowl (if it isn’t molded as part of the countertop)
  • New backsplash
  • Painting or replacing the cabinets
  • Mirror and vanity lights in the bathroom
  • Undercabinet lights in the kitchen

Ready to Take the Next Step?