Countertops

Countertops should be measured IMMEDIATELY following cabinet installation. Sometimes the owner builder may have 3 different companies measuring and installing tops. There may be a granite or concrete countertop in the kitchen, a laminate in the laundry room and a marble top in the bathrooms. There actually may even be a fourth contractor if tile is used on the master bath vanities.

Research Your Subcontractor

All of these countertop contractors should to be notified ahead of time that their measure is approaching. Get confirmation on lead times for measure, manufacture and delivery of tops.

The following are particular issues the owner builder should to discuss with other builders that have used your countertop contractor.


QUESTIONS TO ASK OTHER BUILDERS ABOUT YOUR POTENTIAL COUNTERTOP CONTRACTORS:

Are they timely on manufacture?

Do they deliver on time?

Do the consistently provide a quality installation?


A contractor can claim he will not let you down, the delivery will be prompt, the installation will be on time. He can swear the installation will be beautiful and there won’t be any problems. If those claims aren’t backed up by others,or if they are refuted by others, don’t hire that contractor.

Laminate

This is the old "stand by" material. There are a ton of choices for patterns and designs. We would try to closely match our kitchen granite with a laminate in the laundry room. That way, the color scheme of the rooms remained consistent but there wasn't the cost of the granite in the laundry room.

Many people prefer laminate because they are guaranteed a more consistent pattern than natural stone. It is also the least expensive method to top your cabinets.

Corian by Dupont

Corian is like the Kleenex of engineered hard surface tops. Dupont invented Corian in the 1960's. It is a seamless, hard surface that is less expensive than natural stone. It also has appeal with many owner builders because of the consistency of color and easy maintenance.

Granite

Granite is the priciest of the standard countertops. It is also considered one of the most beautiful of all countertop materials. Granite is very hard but is porous and so must be sealed regularly. Owner builders that choose granite as their top need to be aware that natural stone is just that, natural. There will be imperfections in your granite tops. It is not manufactured to any specification, it is cut out of a mountain. It is how God made it. Owner builders are advised to select the slab they want prior to installation. This way, the chance of having an unsightly blemish is reduced.

Countertop Specialty: Granite Counter Tops

Expert kitchen counter top advice, ideas and comprehensive information on the design, selection, installation and maintenance of granite & marble, backsplashes, Silestone countertops, Corian, concrete and more for your kitchen, outdoor kitchen, bar and bathroom.

Cultured Marble

Bathroom countertops are usually either laminate or cultured marble. Cultured marble is not really marble ( a natural product ) but are manufactured. There are different colors and even some tops that are translucent in nature. A well selected cultured marble can really beautify a bathroom. Consider using cultured marble as a tub and shower product as well.

Cultured marble countertops can take a while and your provider may be outsourcing their production. Verify that your tops are manufactured "in area" and can be delivered in a timely fashion.

Some Countertop Companies Do More

During the bid process, consider selecting contractors that can do more than one type of countertop installation. This will reduce your management load. Some contractors will do granite, corian, quartz, laminate and marble. Concrete countertops are usually done by a contractor that does concrete exclusively.

There are Many Different Types of Countertop

I have been involved in residential construction since the late 1990's. There are materials used frequently in kitchens, such as tile, granite, laminate, and Corian. However, today there new products emerging. Some "exotic" materials, such as concrete, bamboo, soapstone, quartz and butcher block, are becoming popular. I really had no idea how diverse it was becoming.

Silestone

Silestone is a combination of crushed quartz (95 per cent) and a polymer resin (5 per cent). It is produced under heat and pressure . It is extremely tough, dense, and pure. It is stain and scratch resistant, heat resistant, strong and available in a wide range of colors and thicknesses.

Concrete

Concrete is increasing in popularity. It can be textured and colored however the owner builder would like. There are also concrete mixes that are anti-bacterial in nature. Check with your local concrete countertop provider to discuss costs and options. Concrete is becoming a more important building product. See our page on Concrete slabs.

Bamboo: Eco-Tops

That’s right, bamboo. Wow, Ive been building for a while. I had no idea. Bamboo as a building product is gaining momentum. Not only is it very strong and beautiful, it is environmentally friendly. The Boston Globe speaks about bamboo as a building material, “…It has greater tensile strength than steel; it's a sustainable, environmentally friendly material (it grows fast enough to be harvested within three to five years without depleting natural resources, and it regenerates quickly); and it can cost less and last longer than red oak, the wood most commonly used for flooring.”

Rhonda Stewart, Boston Globe February 17, 2005

This is a definite consideration for environmentally conscious owner builders, not only for countertops, but also as a flooring material.

LEARN MORE ABOUT BAMBOO

Bamboo Inspiration provides resources and guides on bamboo plants, bamboo crafts, bamboo clothing and bedding, bamboo flooring and furniture, bamboo fishing rods, and many more bamboo products for home, garden, sport, and hobbies. A web site that promotes the versatility of bamboo and its uses around the world as an increasingly popular environmentally friendly renewable resource.

Butcher Block

Remember Mom’s thick ol’ butcher block? Today it is available as a countertop material. Butcher block countertops are typically placed on a kitchen island. They can come in widths as thick as 4 inches. There are different woods used and the selections are vast. Butcher block does require additional maintenance and care. There are specific products and guidelines to follow.

Limestone

This particular product is very interesting. I don't care for it. Sometimes there are fossils in it and large sections of discoloration. It is all natural. I have seen limestone tile that was appealing but the countertops I have seen were not.

Countertop Specialty: Granite Counter Tops

Expert kitchen counter top advice, ideas and comprehensive information on the design, selection, installation and maintenance of granite & marble, backsplashes, Silestone countertops, Corian, concrete and more for your kitchen, outdoor kitchen, bar and bathroom.