As general contractors and commercial builders know, there are many decisions that must be made before final designs for commercial or residential kitchen projects are approved and finalized. From the structure and layout, to the countertops, cabinets, floors, and ceilings, builders and contractors are responsible for making the right decisions for the project.
Let’s look at the steps you should take when choosing the right countertops for your next project.
1. Look at Appearance
An extremely important consideration in the countertop selection process is the look and feel. The contractor needs to take into consideration the matching or blending of the design with the overall appearance of the kitchen, making sure to account for the types and colors of neighboring appliances and cabinets.
Fortunately, there are a multitude of options, including:
Granite: A natural product offering a variety of shades with unique designs.
Quartz: A manufactured product that provides the look and feel of stone without the ongoing maintenance of granite.
Solid Surface: Available in countless colors and patterns that can mimic the look of granite, quartz, wood, or other natural materials.
Concrete: Offering many colors with the ability to mimic the look of other materials.
Wood and Stainless Steel: Providing very distinctive designs.
2. Consider Utility
You’ll need to consider the end-user’s lifestyle and predicted use to ensure an appropriate countertop is selected. Heavily used kitchens, for instance, will need countertops that can withstand daily wear and tear, while still maintaining its original appearance for years to come. Tile can be challenging because the countertop surface is inherently uneven. Stainless steel, while offering a very sleek appearance, quickly gathers fingerprints and is often loud with the clinking of pans or plates against the surface. With naturally stronger composition, materials such as quartz, or solid surface countertops will often hold up better in more highly used areas.
3. Estimate Time to Install
The time required for installation is another imperative step in the countertop selection process, as some materials will take longer to install. Concrete requires longer installation time due to concrete curing requirements. Tile involves more time for grouting and the setting of the tiles. Cultured marble, solid surface, quartz, and granite countertops, on the other hand, are designed for easier installation processes and requires less time.
4. Ensure Durability
While making countertop selection decisions for a quality project, contractors need to consider the whole picture. Which countertops will stand the test of time and offer durability for the end-user? Which countertops will require the least amount of maintenance? Granite, quartz, and solid surface countertops offer durability and simple maintenance, while laminate is prone to burns and scratches, and tile needs regular re-grouting.
Make sure your choice is in line with the desired maintenance and expected ongoing costs.
5. Stick to the Budget
With most projects, the overall cost is just as important as appearance. Keeping your expenses within budget is a vital step in the countertop selection process. Be sure to consider the cost of the countertop material as well as the cost of installation. More lengthy installations, as mentioned above, will require more labor time, thus increasing costs. A countertop with an overall lower cost and less complex installation, such as a solid surface countertop, can help maintain a controllable budget.
At the end of the day, careful consideration of all aspects of the design and installation of countertops must be considered. Builders and contractors need to consider the steps involved when choosing the appropriate countertop for the project: the appearance desired, the intended use, installation time, durability of the product, and overall costs associated with each.