At Create Interior Design, we are here to help with all your interior design selections, including new countertops for your home. Countertop selections are more varied than ever, and we help you choose the right counter tops taking into account cost, material durability, maintenance and home design style.
Here are a few things to consider so you choose the right counter top surface for your new home or remodeling project.
first, let’s take a look at counter top material choices
Granite remains the top choice in countertops in home building and remodeling and is available in many color pallet options. It comes in many different price points which helps when working on a budget. Prices depend on many variables such as stone origin, and finish. I tend to use it for a lot of my dark granite countertops and when I’m looking for something different to really make a statement if I’m budget conscious, there are several species in black and grays that tend to be pretty affordable granite. I also really love the unique granite species, it’s art from the earth, and each piece is different. While I like polished, I tend to prefer the honed and textured finishes available for many of my projects.
natural stone, such as marble, limestone and soapstone for countertops
There’s many different stone species that may also be a consideration. I love marble and soapstone options, but I also recommend doing your homework and proceeding with caution, because some patina over time and must be sealed and cared for properly.
Quartzite is also a natural stone. It’s a hard metamorphic rock that originates as sandstone. Through a process of heating and pressurization sandstone becomes quartzite. It’s heating process crystallizes the stone often giving it a decorative sparking pattern.
For natural stone products, I find the Natural Stone Institute, formerly the Marble Institute of America, is a great resource for natural stone education and natural stone, care and use considerations. https://www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/
At Create Design Build, lately, I tend to use mostly engineered stone countertops. I love quartz. It’s maintenance free and extremely durable. Check out more on our blog, Create Home for, Designer Q & A Why I Love Quartz Countertops.
Concrete countertops are another favorite. Concrete is available in several different colors and can be finished with different textures. I advise carefully on high heat exposure as it can cause damage and be careful what is left sitting on the surfaces as some surfaces can discolor or etch. We recommend sealing and waxing your concrete surfaces regularly.
Wood countertops are also an option. I love the look of butcher block or an area of wood or live edge. Keep in mind, it scratches and absorbs moisture, but they are relatively easy to clean and scratches can be sanded out. I recommend with caution though, since water can damage the surface, and recommend using oil to seal the surface.
Laminate is an affordable option for counter top materials, and it comes in a wide variety of colors and designs. Laminate can scorch and while it is fairly scratch-resistant, it still can scratch so we don’t see it used as often in high use areas.
next, consider design style
After we consider all the options out there, we look at your home design and select surfaces for each area. Don’t be afraid to mix it up from room to room and even in the same area like a kitchen island in a different surface.
Consider the composition of all design elements in the space, particularly your flooring and cabinetry when choosing colors, patterns and textures. I typically like to use a little contrast from the cabinetry, and also consider what I am doing as a splash. If the splash is busy, I recommend a very simple countertop.
consider the edge profile, thickness, and countertop overhang
Square edges are standard on most countertops. Radius edges, ogee, and other decorative or rough edges may be a little more so consult with your supplier. I happen to prefer the simple square or eased edge profile for more modern and transitional home styles, and may recommend something different for a more traditional home, such as a decorative edge for a large island. The rough edges can be interesting in a rustic or contemporary environment, but be careful, some granites end up with sharp edges, so I that reason, I tend to recommend the rough edges with quartz.
Consider your countertop thickness. Quartz countertops are usually 2 or 3 centimeters. Countertops 4 centimeters countertop or thicker, usually means material had been applied to the edged to make it look thicker or edges are mitered. Solid 3 centimeters countertop has become the standard. It has also become the standard with granite because for a countertop more than 24 inches, 2 centimeters granite needs a plywood base on top of the cabinets. For a cabinet that’s smaller than 24 inches, however, it’s possible to have a 2 centimeters granite without plywood.
What is the standard countertop overhang? Countertop companies typically recommend from 1” to 1-1/2”. This is from the cabinet box , not the cabinet doors, so consider the door and drawers. There are exceptions to recommendations. My last contemporary project with sleek inset doors and drawers allowed for a smaller overhang. So my advise, find a counter overhang you think looks good, that allows overhang past the door and drawer faces. I like to pull out the tape measure and go with that measurement. If you have no drawers or drawers a smaller overhang may be appropriate. Consider surrounding surfaces, walls, cabinetry, adjacent doorways. A common mistake is notching. I am not fond of countertop notching and it can be avoided if the cabinetry company considers door openings and has been given your trim casing information. At cabinet measure, be sure trim is taken into consideration to avoid countertop notching. I’d rather modify a cabinet slightly at rough, than notch a counter top later.
For areas with barstools such as island and bar counters. You’ll want to consider overhang to accommodate legroom. For kitchen islands I recommend no smaller than 12”, however on some remodels have done the living space did not accommodate an overhang that deep. I like at least 15” if possible. Some things to consider. Granite and Quartz have slightly different overhang requirements for support depending on the span over the part of the counter that’s supported and unsupported. Most countertop companies recommend 70% of the overall countertop width be supported by base cabinets, knee walls, or brackets. Different countertop materials have different requirements. Solid Surface countertops can overhang 6 inches without additional support. 3 cm Quartz (engineered) can accommodate up to 14 inch overhangs and 3 cm Granite overhangs should not exceed a 10 inch overhang without additional support.
Enjoy selecting your counter top materials. With all the choices in countertops and ability to use different materials you’re sure to find the perfect choice.
If you’d like assistance with counter top selections, visit Create Home and Create Interior Design. We have several sample materials in our showroom and are happy to help.