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How to Choose your Kitchen Counter

Last modified: 2023-03-17 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Léa Plourde-Archer

Are you looking to change your kitchen counter but don’t know where to start? Here are the 4 main steps that will help you select the best countertop for your kitchen:

1) Determine what you are looking for in your new kitchen

An in a perfect world, a kitchen counter would possess all the desired characteristics, meaning durability, easy maintenance, water, heat and stain resistance, affordability and a nice look to top it all off. Unfortunately, the reality is quite different. No material is perfect and everyone has their criteria and preferences. Each person will focus on certain aspects that will be more important than others in their selection process.

Some will favour price and ease of maintenance whereas others will prefer something that looks good or is very durable. Also, to help you determine which characteristics are most important to you, ask yourself what type of use you will make of your counter and in what type of environment it will be installed. Will you cook a lot on its surface?

Are there children living in the house? Are you willing to spend a lot of time and effort to keep it looking nice and clean? How much money are you able to spend on this project? By asking yourself all these questions, you will be able to work out your priorities. If you know what you want and need, it will be easier to make compromises and you will be further satisfied with the result.

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2) Delineating the space

Now that you know more about what you want, start measuring. In doing so, you will be able to determine the amount of space that is available. Are you covering a kitchen island or the whole horizontal surface in the room? Complete this step as soon as possible so you can go on with organizing the rest of the project.

Since kitchen counter materials are sold by the square foot or the linear foot, having specific measurements will help you get a better idea of the price. Moreover, it will help you visualize the result and you will have an easier time explaining what you want to a designer or a renovation contractor.

3) Defining the budget

This is the most important step in the process. Your budget is what will help you make your dream a reality. Essentially, it will allow you to know if you have enough money to do what you want and if not, to determine which compromises you will have to make to reach your goal. Even when you think you’ve found the perfect countertop, if it doesn’t suit your budget, you will have to find another alternative.

Elaborating your budget will also help you decide how the countertop will be installed. You could install it yourself or hire a designer or a contractor to do the job. It’s up to you to see which option best suits your budget, your expectations and your manual skills. If you follow the 2 other steps that are described previously in this article, you will have an easier time planning your budget. A budget includes all expenditures with costs that are as precise as possible.

Let’s suppose that you want to build a 5-foot granite counter at $60 per sq. foot. The material will cost you $300, minus the installation costs. If you install it yourself, you must also take into account the price of renting tools if you don’t have the right ones. However, if you decide to hire a contractor and/or a designer to take care of the work, you will have to ask them to quote the price they will charge. Once you have all the information relating to the budget, add 15% of the total amount to cover unplanned expenses.

4) Choosing the right materials

There are many different options for kitchen countertop materials available on the market. Even though none are perfect, you will find something that lives up to your expectations. To avoid useless spending and future regrets, take your time when making a choice. Compare prices and check out the specific characteristics of each material. Visit the stores where they sell these types of products and test the quality on the spot. Then, you can look on the internet to find the cheapest price.

The more time you invest in this step, the more likely you are to be satisfied with the result. Who knows? Maybe you’ll encounter a great deal? The most common materials for kitchen countertops are granite, slate, marble, quartz, concrete, stainless steel, synthetic and recycled materials (glass, mirror), wood, laminate and tile (ceramic and porcelain).

For more information about their benefits, their limits and their prices, read our article « Price guide: kitchen countertops ». Don’t forget to readjust your budget along the way. Once these steps have been completed, you will be able to go on to the next part of the project, which is the installation process.

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