Saturday, 31 March 2012

This Counter's Tops

Dear Joe,

I want to replace my out of style ‘90s green countertop with something a bit more stylish.  I was hoping to upgrade to something more durable than laminate but cost is an issue.  Also my backsplash is tiled and was wondering the best/cheapest way to renew that too without the cost of tearing out the whole back wall and redoing it from scratch.  Any suggestions would be great. Thank You.


Well Liz,

Thank you for the great question.  Just replacing your countertop can give the entire kitchen a new lease on life.  I would also suggest freshening up your paint colour while you’re at it, with a colour that complements your new counter. 

Well, if you’re budget conscious, you won’t beat laminates for style, and affordability.  There are some gorgeous patterns being put out now which look like the most expensive natural stone tops at a fraction of the cost.  I would definitely suggest going that way.  You can liven up a plain laminate countertop with a solid wood or corian edge colored to compliment the rest of your kitchen.

As far as cost goes, expect to spend a minimum of five times the cost of laminate for any natural stone, engineered stone, quartz, concrete, and solid hardwood.  These are premium finishes which, and there’s no getting around it, carry a premium price, But having said that, there are deals to be had for the most careful shoppers.  

One way you can have the benefits of real stone is to install a stone tile in the place of your current counter.  Simply remove the old counter, install a sheet of ¾ “plywood and glue down your granite marble or slate tile.  A nice small grout line works best, and now you have a real stone countertop at about a quarter of the cost.  It won’t fool anyone into believing you dropped a fortune on the real thing, but you will get the look and all the benefits of working on a real stone work surface.

On your backsplash you have a couple of choices to hide the dated tile without the costly rip out.  You can tile over any previously tiled surface provided it is sound and clean.  Make sure you install the appropriate tile edge to finish it off.  You can also paint the tile if you use a bonding primer which will adhere to the glaze and allow you cover it with the paint of your choice.  Embossed tin, steel, or plastic panels can be glued right over top to add some old world charm on a shoe string budget.

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