Kitchen countertops should be the next best investment you make in your kitchen. These wood and stone countertops not only make your life in the kitchen easier, it also makes your kitchen beautiful as well. Picking a countertop that suits your needs and wants inside the kitchen is not easy. Considering that there are quite a few countertops to choose from, it does get hard to pick which one to fit your home with.
Before you pick a countertop, there a few things that you need to keep in mind. First is that there are actually two primary types of countertops. Man-made countertops and natural stone countertops. Simply put, man-made countertops are usually derived from other materials and aren’t directly cut from a huge source. Sometimes, man-made countertops are made from a mix of stones and resins.
Natural stone countertops on the other hand are usually sourced from a single chunk of stone. It’s the prime option as these are often sturdier than man-made countertops. Moreover, they are also more pleasing to the eyes. A lot of people choose stone countertops over man-made countertops. You should consider making the same choice.
Now, let’s talk about an important matter. How do you choose a stone countertop? Considering that there are various options to choose from, you need to be more discerning. As such, we’re here to talk about some of the things you should consider when buying a natural stone countertop.
Determine Your Budget
While it has a ton of benefits, natural stone countertops do have their downsides as well. Perhaps the biggest downside is that they are far more pricey as compared to other options on the market. As such, it is important that you first determine your budget for your countertop as this can help narrow down your choices much easier.
The most expensive type of these kinds of countertop is marble. In fact, it’s currently the most expensive type of countertop available. In general, marble countertops can set you back around $75-$250 per square foot. One of the reasons why it’s so expensive is that each marble countertop is unique from others as it is cut from a single piece of stone.
If you are on a budget but you really want a stone countertop, then you should consider soapstone. Soapstone countertops cost around $60-$185. They are easily the cheapest of all natural stones. They are defined by their smooth soap-like texture. It’s not as durable as marble but it does the job pretty well. Moreover, it still looks great on your kitchen.
Check The Slabs On A Sunny Day
As odd as this may sound, it’s important that you check the weather before you begin checking the slabs. Snow and rain can affect the appearance of natural stones. You won’t be able to see the original hue of the stone if it is wet after all. While this isn’t a problem for countertop showrooms indoors, there are some showrooms that expose the countertops outside.
Bring A Copy Of Your Kitchen Layout
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when picking a countertop is not bringing a printed copy of your kitchen. It’s important that you bring this the first time you visit as sellers can help you out with the decision-making process. You don’t need to bring the right measurements though. This part of the process is all about your design choices.
The sellers of the countertops will need to see what your kitchen looks like. That way, they can recommend a stone countertop that fits your kitchen’s aesthetic. It’s not just functionality you have to consider, it’s also a must that your kitchen countertop looks easy on the eyes as well.
Consider Engineered Stone Countertops
Another you can cut costs on a stone countertop is by considering engineered stone countertops. These aren’t sourced from natural stone as compared to granite, marble, and soapstone. Engineered stones like quartz usually made from crushed quartz mixed with resin binders. While these aren’t naturally, they look a lot like the real thing.
The main benefit of an engineered stone countertop is that they are far cheaper than natural stone. To make matters even more better, they are just as durable. As the years go by, the appearance of these countertops continues to become closer and closer to natural stones.
Think About What You’ll Do With The Countertop
Countertops are going to be the life and blood of your kitchen once they are installed in it. It’s imperative that you also consider what tasks you are planning to do with them before you pick one. Are going to use it for prep work? Are going to place heavy objects on top of it? Is it going to be exposed to very high heat?
This is important as there are some natural stones that aren’t exactly fit for heavy kitchen duty. For instance, limestone chips easily. As that is the case, you wouldn’t want to do heavy tasks on it such as butchering meat. Top-of-the-line countertops like marble are durable making them fit for all sorts of tasks.
The most popular countertop made of natural stone currently is granite. A lot of people already have this installed for a few reasons. For starters, they are as close as you can get to marble without having to spend extravagant sums. These are natural stones that are highly functional and durable as well. It shouldn’t surprising why it is such a popular option.
Another thing worth noting about these countertops is that they are relatively accessible. While marble is popular, it’s not easy to find manufacturers that offer them for a great price. Granite countertops on the other hand, are available in many retailers too. The best part about granite countertops is that they are very easy to maintain as well.
Make Sure It Fits Your Kitchen
The installation of natural stone countertops is tough work. Installers will bring in these stones as is to your home and then install it in your kitchen. As this is tough work, it is a must that you ensure that there’s enough space for the workers and the countertops themselves. If the stones don’t fit, they’ll have to be cut down to size.
This isn’t really recommendable as you won’t be getting the most out of your money. It’s important to have someone from the installers visit your place first. This will allow them to get accurate measurements of your kitchen so that you can have the countertop installed as properly as possible.
Think About The Seams
Though natural, these kinds of countertops will still have visible seams. Seams are basically a line that connects the stones from one another. If you want your kitchen countertop to look as natural as possible, then it’s important that you pick where seams are going to be. The key is to hide them from plain sight.
To make this process easier, make sure you bring your contractor to check your house. They can find slabs that will fit the area your are looking to install the slabs in. As long as the slabs fit perfectly, the seams will be far less visible on your end. Custom fits are always better after all.
Run Your Hand Through The Countertop
Before you make that purchase, make sure to run your hands through the countertop first. What you are going to do is to look for any uneven areas, fissures, and rough spots. Keep in mind that you are going to use this for kitchen prep. It’s a must that you keep your countertop as flat as possible. Any uneven areas could be dangerous.
A finished countertop on display at stores is already the factory finish. These have been grinded, honed, and polished. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to get a final check on the surface. It will be much harder to even out the surface so it’s important that you get it right on your first try.
Bring Paint Samples Of Your Floors And Cabinets
If you really want to make sure that your upcoming countertop works well with your house, you need to bring all the paint samples you can. Ideally, the paint samples of your floors, walls, and cabinets are a must. This will help you pick a better color for your countertop. Simply lay down the samples on the slabs to check if the colors compliment each other well.
Natural stone countertops come in various colors. This basically means that whatever your kitchen motif is, there should be a shade of the countertop that will work well for you. If you are still having trouble picking, have one of the staff pick a color for you. Their experience will work well on your end.
Don’t ever rush your decision when buying natural stone kitchen countertops. These are usually built to last so what you buy will last you for several years. The last thing you’d want is regretting your choice for a countertop.
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