Homeowner How To: Updating Kitchen Countertops


A simple countertop change can make your entire kitchen look brand new. Here are some options for changing your tops.

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Updating your kitchen does not have to mean ripping out the cabinetry and gutting the room down to the studs. If your cabinets are in decent shape but your countertops are old, dated or in bad shape after years of use, consider a simple countertop update to give your kitchen a bit of a facelift.

A simple countertop change can make your entire kitchen look brand new. Here are some options for changing your tops:

$20-$30 per square foot = Laminate countertops
Yes, I know, you automatically think of that laminate counter from your grandmothers kitchen. But laminate has made huge technological advances. Laminate countertops are now available in a multitude of beautiful colors, patterns and even made to look and feel like stone, granite or marble. From textured finishes to beautiful veined patterns like Formica’s Dolce Vita, technology has introduced products like Ideal Edge that get rid of the “brown line” and offer even curved edges a rounded or ogee profile. All that for quite an affordable price.

$40-60 per square foot = Solid Surface Countertops
Solid surface countertops are extremely durable and can be re-finished over the years since the colors and pattern run throughout the entire thickness. Color options have come a long way as well, offering stone look alikes with patterns that mimic veining in marble and the texture of limestone or granite. Numerous edge profiles are generally available, so take your pick from ogee, double ogee, rounded, beveled and many more. Corian has been around forever, but there are plenty of great products available from Formica, Swanstone and many more.

$65-90 per square foot = Granite, Marble and Stone Countertops
Granite offers a beautiful, permanent solution with slabs of real stone from all over the world. The cost of the slabs will vary based on where it was imported from as well as the color and pattern in the stone. Any real stone tops will require regular sealing to prevent bacteria from growing within the stone or to keep stains from permeating and becoming permanent. Stone can be beautiful, but keep in mind it is very heavy so be sure that your cabinetry is built well enough to handle the weight of it. It is also very cold to the touch and very hard. Make sure to round those edges where the kids are likely to run by to prevent injuries.

$65-90 per square foot = Quartz Countertops
Quartz has been around for decades, but the newest colors compete with the most beautiful marble and granites, bringing a natural look to this excellent product. Quartz tops are made by mining real quartz from the ground and mixing it with pigments and resins then compressing under high heat. The end result are slabs that are not only non-porous, which means they will not stain, but you also do not have to seal them. They are highly durable and generally have a lifetime warranty when installed properly. You can finish the edges and install undermount sinks in this product, just like a granite top.

Of course, you want to make sure your appliances are updated prior to templating for new countertops, especially if you have a cooktop in your kitchen. You may want to complete the makeover by painting. Picking a paint color can be rather tricky, so check out these tips for selecting a great color.

If you are overwhelmed by the choices, give a local kitchen and bath designer or design-build firm a call and they can help you plan a great makeover no matter what your budget is. A simple color consult is generally affordable and is well worth it when you wind up with exactly the kitchen you were dreaming of!