Selecting New Solid Surface Countertops

Today Dianne asks,

Dear Diva: What factors should I consider when selecting new solid surface countertops? I’ve been looking online at all the different options available and now I’m so overwhelmed! I don’t even know where to go from here! Please help! 

Dianne, as with almost every home makeover product there are several factors one should consider when choosing a new solid surface countertop. With so many options out there, it’s no surprise that this task could be daunting. But don’t worry, you’re not alone! Having helped countless clients choose their own solid surface countertops and having gone through the process myself, I’ve learned a few things that are sure to help you find the perfect countertops. However in this article, I’m not going to address how to find the perfect brand or color, because I don’t think you are quite there just yet. Instead I’m going to address 3 questions you should ask yourself before beginning your search for new solid surface countertops.

What’s your budget?

Save yourself some time and heartache by figuring out what your budget actually is before you set foot in a kitchen showroom. By having your budget figured out first, you’ll be able to know whether or not what you fall in love with at the showroom is actually in your budget. You’ll also have a better idea of what types of solid surface countertop materials you should be looking at. For example the basic choices in Corian are cheaper than those made of recycled glass or quartz. So if you can’t afford recycled glass solid surface countertops, then there is no sense looking at those types of countertops! Unless, of course, you can hold off on getting new countertops until you can afford something more expensive. Otherwise, I’d suggest sticking to what you can afford now.

How To Choose A New Solid Surface Countertop

What’s available in your area?

If you haven’t started looking at what the different companies in your area have to offer, I’d suggest starting by doing a little leg work first. You can find a lot of good information online, when it comes to a product’s features and benefits, but what you can’t really see is exactly what it looks like. Now, I’m not saying you won’t see a lot of good quality photos online. What I am saying though, is that between the color of your computer screen and the type of lighting the photo was taken in, you can’t expect the color of the countertop to look exactly like you see it in the photo when it gets installed in your home.  So by looking around at what is available locally, you’ll get a better idea of how that countertop actually looks and feels. If you do find something you like while you are out doing your legwork, get a sample to take home. This way you can compare it with the items in your kitchen and see just how it will look in your kitchen. This is an important step, because odds are you have more natural and/or artificial light than what you saw at the showroom. And this will affect the color the countertop.

Additionally, there are a lot of different kinds of solid surface countertops available. And if you’ve searched online, you’ve seen a plethora of available options. Unfortunately, not everything you see online may be available in your area. And shipping a countertop slab or preformed countertop can be quite expensive! Not to mention, you’ll also want to make sure that you have someone locally who is knowledgeable with the product to install it. Otherwise you could be setting yourself up for even bigger issues down the line.

What type of material would better suit your lifestyle? 

This is a very important question to ask yourself before you decide on any one material over another for several factors. First, how much upkeep do you want to be responsible for. Some solid surface countertops take a lot less maintenance than others. For example most Quartz countertops don’t need to be resealed. Unlike some granite countertops that should be resealed every six months to a year. If you don’t want the extra work or aren’t good at remembering to do things annually, you should probably stay away from granite and other surfaces that require regular maintenance.

You should also find out what type of needs are and aren’t being met by your current countertop. You could even make a pros and cons list or what you like and dislike from your current countertop. This may seem like over kill but I found it very helpful when I choose my first new countertop material. My old laminate countertops were a great color but I hated how easily they stained and dented. Even though my list was small it gave me a starting out point. I knew the color family I wanted to stay in and I also knew I needed something more durable.

As you can see choosing a new countertop doesn’t have to be a completely overwhelming process. You just need to break it down into little parts that are easier to deal with. It’ll be a much easier process for you, if you start by asking yourself these 3 simple questions and go from there. Once you know what you can afford, what’s available in your area, and what type of material will better suit your lifestyle, you’re on your way! You will have accessed the basics and will be ready to find the right color and pattern for you and your home.

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog!