One of the most common aspects of a kitchen remodel is replacing existing countertops with newer, more attractive ones. This might mean taking out old, dated countertops and replacing them with a more popular material, or it might mean ripping out the entire kitchen and creating a new layout to provide even more countertop surface in the room. With so many different countertop materials available, you will have a wide variety of choices and plenty of decisions to make regarding this particular aspect of your kitchen remodel.
Make sure to pay attention to details such as removing countertops, cost per square foot, installation and style.
Removing Existing Countertops
If you’re planning to get rid of existing countertops and replace them with new versions as part of your kitchen's remodel, don't forget to factor in the time and expense of doing so.
Some remodeling and contracting companies will happily break apart and remove old countertops and even haul them off your property. You can also ask countertop installation providers, if applicable, if they can remove old countertops as part of the service.
If you opt to do the removal yourself, keep in mind that it can be a dusty and labor-intensive job. Also, remember that some new countertops, particularly tiled versions, can be installed over existing countertops.
Cost of Kitchen Countertops
For most homeowners, the largest factor in choosing new countertops for a kitchen remodel will be price, and understandably so. Some countertop materials, such as ceramic tile or laminate, can run as little as $1 per square foot.
At the other end of the spectrum are materials such as glass or natural stone, which can run as high as $200 per square foot.
It is also important to remember the difference between a square foot and a linear foot. Sellers and installers use both, but they are very different and can play a significant role in pricing a kitchen remodeling project.
Make sure you clarify whether price is per square foot or linear foot before making a purchase or moving forward.
In the case of heavier materials, there may also be a significant shipping or delivery charge that you should consider.
Finally, installation is typically left to professionals, and in fact may be required for solid surfaces. It may be possible to DIY kitchen countertops made from materials such as ceramic tile, but that is ultimately a decision best left to each individual homeowner.
Choosing Materials for Your Kitchen Countertops
Perhaps the biggest decision you will make when remodeling your kitchen countertops is deciding what kind of material to use. All too often, homeowners focus exclusively on the way a certain material looks, but the right material for you should also fit within your budget, be able to stand the test of time and fit in with your lifestyle.
One of the more affordable options to consider is ceramic tile. Over the past decade, ceramic tile has become increasingly less popular among homeowners because the grout can be difficult to clean and seamless looks are more desirable.
However, ceramic tile can still be done beautifully, and some tiles are as cheap as $1 per square foot. Installation, too, can be affordable, and this material is one of the few that average homeowners can often install on their own.
Another affordable kitchen countertop material is laminate. A plastic laminate might often be called Formica, which is arguably the most popular brand of laminate, and it is available in a staggeringly wide range of colors, designs and patterns.
In a whimsical kitchen where unique colors are desired, plastic laminate may be ideal. This material can be roughly $2 to $3 per square foot, and it can come in large preformed pieces that you can quickly and simply install in your kitchen.
Solid surfaces, or combinations of poly and acrylic, have been on the market for the last 40 years. They can look very similar to stone, and they are made with no seams or as few as possible, which means that cleaning and maintenance for solid surface countertops is minimal.
Solid surface countertops are also very durable, and they can be sanded down if there is any damage. For anyone who wants the look of stone for a fraction of the price, solid surface will be a top contender.
Natural stone countertops are arguably the most luxurious and in-demand material for kitchen countertops. Granite, soapstone and slate are more expensive, but they look very upscale and should last for years. While they do require periodic maintenance, most homeowners are happy with the trade-off.
Wood countertops, sometimes called butcher block, are becoming less popular in modern kitchen remodels. They are also expensive, roughly on par with natural stone, but they can last for decades with the proper maintenance.
You might choose to use wood for secondary surfaces in your kitchen, such as an island or a built-in chopping board.
The shape of the countertops, as well as the material they are made from, play a big role in the overall style of the kitchen.
Square: The most popular style is to have a square edge. This can fit in with a rustic or a contemporary home, and it is standard, affordable and attractive.
Waterfall: If you want something really eye-catching, a square edge with a waterfall design can be stunning. A waterfall design means that the countertop material flows down from the edge all the way to the floor, creating something luxurious as well as dramatic.
Bullnose: A very traditional countertop edge is called bullnose, and it is lightly rounded and looks classic when used in a family kitchen. An eased edge is somewhere between a sharp square angle and a bullnose. It has the sharpness taken off, making it preferable for homeowners who have small children coming in and out of the kitchen regularly.
Marine Edge: Finally, a marine edge has a built-in lip around the perimeter of the countertop which ensures that liquids can't spill when cooking or cleaning.
Knowing more about the many different types of kitchen countertop materials, edges and costs can prepare you to plan adequately for your remodel.
Whatever type of kitchen you hope to achieve, the right countertop can help you meet your style objectives.