Home Improvement Counter Tops

Posted by Professional Realty on Monday, July 7th, 2014 at 9:06am.    3383 Views

Home Improvement - "Counter Measures"

Hello and welcome to the Just for You board, I hope you enjoy the many posts that keep piling up on here. I thought I'd take a little break from my home improvement DIY mistakes blog series for a bit and focus on something else. I'd like to yak about counter tops, not about mistakes but simply about choices.

home improvement counter topsMany of us have experienced walking into a home and seeing dated counter tops from the 60's -80's and think "gross".  So it comes into play for cash buyers and those with renovation loans that the kitchen and / or bathroom counter tops are going to get resurfaced or replaced.

Inevitably the subject of counter tops comes up and here's where you can create something enjoyable while staying within your budget. Counter tops play a major role in kitchen and bathrooms, and a large part of the overall style and aesthetics.

Part of your consideration with counter tops surface choices depends on whether or not you're flipping the house, it's a rental,  living in the property long-term or just going to live in the home for few years and then selling. 

It's always going to boil down to cost vs. durability and then add personal preferences, of course.

Counter top materials, preservation of and manufacturing technology have changed considerably over the last decade, and you'll find the popularity of some materials and styles will come and go while others are timeless.

Your choice of counter top or mixed surfaces will play a major role in your kitchen or bathroom's personality.

Home improvement quartz counter topQuartz and Granite Counter Tops

Real beauty never goes out of style. Maybe that's why granite counter-tops tend to be consumer's favorite but usually the most expensive option. Granite is beautiful and some varieties are more expensive than others depending on where you shop. Honed granite is also popular and has a matte vs. glossy finish for a softer look.

Popular contenders and close in cost with granite are quartz counter tops. Very maintenance-free and stands up well to heat and stains just like granite and thanks to it's non-porous hard surface it's scratch resistant.

The photo above, courtesy of optea-referencement.com, is a beautiful example of a quartz counter.

Laminate Counter Topsexamples of laminate counter tops

Opposite end of the financial totem pole from Quartz and Granite you have budget-friendly Laminate counter tops. Laminate really fell out of favor for a long time, however, manufacturers have been producing Laminate counter tops with patterns of quartz, stone and wood and gaining in popularity once more.

Good looking, high quality laminate counter tops are still very durable though not as tough as quartz and granite.

The low cost of laminate counter tops, now with better executed designs resembling natural patterns makes it an attractive choice for tighter budgets.  That's just the beginning, check out all the other different and in-between choices of counter top materials. 

Home Improvement Marble Counter TopsMarble Counter Tops

Marble is such an impressive look and elegant element for any kitchen, but you might want to mix it up with wood or tile and designate its usage. Marble is more subject to staining for its porous surface but does hide light stains fairly well along with wear from moderate usage.

You will want to seal your marble surface periodically, and beware of using anything acidic. Acidic liquids can actually etch the marble and mar the lovely buttery texture. Depending on the marble and vendor, prices could approach what you'd expect to pay for granite. 

Wooden Counter Tops

Wooden counter tops can really enhance the look and style of a kitchen.  Check out this photo of a gorgeous kitchen island below from beautifulhabitat.com.

A popular usage is mixing wood and granite, or with quartz, tile and other materials. First of all, a mix gives you varied work surfaces suitable for different jobs but wood can be a huge contributor to a kitchen's appeal, adding warmth and character. The great thing about wood; in addition to the broad choices available it can be used to accent a country kitchen or give a modern designer kitchen a luxurious element of nature.

Wood is also very resistant to heat and burns and treated right, can be very stain resistant as well.  Should you incur a major stain,  in most cases it can be sanded out.

Stainless steel counter topsStainless Steel and Glass Counter Tops

Here's a picture of a modern kitchen area with stainless steel counters, designed by Andrea Avram Rusu, photo courtesy of HGTV. Wonderfully executed, even if not your style you get an idea of the possibilities.

For some sleek modern looks, Stainless Steel and Glass counter tops. Stainless steel and glass are both remarkably easy to clean, with glass typically running pricier than several of these choices.

Stainless in particular is very hygienic for kitchens as bacteria build up is inhibited.  Mixes of stainless steel and wood go great together as can glass and tile. 

Tile counter topsTile and other Counter Tops

A tile counter top is a great DIY project to save considerably if you're handy, The choice of colors, textures and patterns is nearly endless, allowing you to get a highly customized look of preference. Tile is 

Other types of counter tops include choices of frugal to moderately priced are concrete, recycled, travertine and soap stone.  Concrete is prized for how customizable it is, and the ability make unique creations of virtually any texture or color and also hold heat and helps with heating costs in the winter. Recycled counter tops are interesting and can be quite beautiful as well as durable.  This eco-friendly, green choice of counter top come in a variety of sustainable materials of both pre and post-consumer products including concrete, glass, paper, composite and plastic. Recycled counter tops come in an astounding variety of colors, patterns and textures and are very low maintenance. 

You'll find travertine is beautiful, however, not as maintenance free. Unless properly treated and sealed, Travertine's pits and flaws are a gathering place for bacteria and grime, and can permanently loose its beauty if not cleaned and cared for. Again, proper sealing is crucial. Perhaps almost but not quite as durable, soapstone is another great alternative to granite or quartz and textured with large veins and pools and a variety of shades and colors. A simple wipe down periodically with mineral both preserves and intensifies the stone's depth and color. 

My business partner, Marty Snyder and I buy and sell dozens of homes every year in Southwest Ohio. First time buyers, real estate investors and luxury home buyers, and we get to see how a lot of scenarios pan out for home improvement enthusiasts. Give us a shout, visit Marty's real estate website for Southwest Ohio.

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