Kitchen Renovation Tips: Why Update your Countertops?

Graceful and chic are the words that you will hear when you ask any home renovators what kind of look they want for the kitchen. Surfaces, including countertops, influence to a large degree the look of a kitchen.

That is why chic graceful looking countertops are in demand. There are actually many home renovators who are designing and making their own countertops. One way to add a modern highlight to a traditional countertop is to create beveled wood edges for your countertop. Beveled edges on wood are relatively simple to make and there are other benefits as well.


The beveled wood edge countertop is most easily added during the replacement of an existing laminated countertop area. You can also opt to modify your current countertop by adding a beveled wood edge; but most homeowners find once they begin planning a kitchen makeover, a brand new countertop is a must have. Given the right tools and materials just about any one can renovate a laminate countertop with an elegant beveled wood edge. It is a project that can even be finished in only a few hours.

When shopping for supplies for this project, make sure your new edge wood matches the wood in other features of the room, such as cabinets, if they are unpainted. If most of the kitchen is or will be painted, bring a paint chip and make sure the color of the wood is one that will be harmonious with the room as a whole.

For making the bevel in your wood edge strips, the best tool is a compound sliding miter saw. This is an electric saw which pivots from side to side to create the miter cut, as well as pivoting left to right to create the bevel. If you don’t own one, you can rent one, or alternately, have the store where you bought the wood size and bevel it for you. Be sure to do a few practice cuts on some scrap wood if you have not previously used one of these saws.

A nice extra to having updated kitchen décor details like this is that it is your beveled wood edge countertop probably will raise the value of your home. It might not dramatically go up in price, but it is the small details that homebuyers appreciate, and real estate agents like to point out such countertop designs when showing a home to prospective buyers. It is all the little details added up that make the sell.

Once you’ve learned to successfully add a beveled edge to your kitchen countertops, you can also look to the bathroom and other rooms featuring built-in surfaces to further update your home.

Kitchen Countertop Materials: Comparison Shopping for your Renovation Project

I was helping my daughter having her kitchen remodelled recently. She was having problems trying to decide on a new countertop material. Walking through the counters area in Home Depot gave her a few ideas, but she was still undecided when the time came to choose a month later. I decided to write out a quick comparison of all the materials and costs for her and when I was done I thought other people might find it useful as well, so here goes.

Most people are familiar with laminate countertops. (Formica is one brand name.) They’re a thin surface of high-pressure laminate applied to a thicker base of plywood or particleboard. Pluses: The standby, available in literally hundreds of patterns and colors, laminates are the least expensive (next to tile) and durable, requiring less upkeep than tile. Minuses: Easy to scorch with hot cookware, the use of layers in their construction makes it tricky to repair chips, show scratches, especially lighter colors, so not usable as a cutting surface. Less durable than natural stone or solid surface; use with under mount sinks is not recommended. Cost: $25 to $50 foot

Solid surfacing, (brand names Corian, Fountainhead, Avonite and Surrell) a newer countertop material, is durable and mimics the appearance of natural stone materials like marble or granite. Pluses: Gives seamless surfaces, easy to care for. High impact resistance, easily repaired, nonporous and seamless, so won’t trap dirt, collect bacteria or stain; easily. Minuses: May melt from hot pot; looks non-natural in some color schemes, licensed contractor required for installation and repair work. Cost: $60 to $110 per foot.

Natural woods. Used in butcher-block style arrangement. Maple, oak and other hardwoods, make durable and elegant countertops. Pluses: Good surface for cutting foods; scratches easily repaired by sanding; easy match with wood cabinets and floors. Minuses: Requires a finish to preserve appearance, may scorch with hot cookware, allows bacterial growth, so needs regular cleaning. Not practical for entire countertop – good for small sections. Cost: $50 to $75 per foot

Granite. Popular for their elegant and rich look, natural stone countertops will last longer than most kitchens. Pluses: Adds to value of home, hard durable surface, very heat resistant. Minuses: very expensive, requires care since it is porous and must be sealed periodically, grease will stain. Cost: 60 to $200 per foot for granite $60 to $130 per foot for marble (stains easily and not recommended for food prep countertop)

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile: This is the countertop material my daughter was replacing. While the counters were in pretty bad shape, refurbishing was an option. Tile has a comforting, classic look and is inexpensive.. Pluses: Easy to clean up after a mess. More heat resistant than laminates solid surfaces, inexpensive, unless you are thinking about custom or hand-painted tiles. Minuses: Can chip and crack easily; needs regular maintenance to keep bacteria out of grout. Scrubbing grout. Cost: $10 to $25 per foot.

So, what countertop material did she choose in the end? For it’s reasonable cost and reparability, Corian got the nod for the new kitchen. We found a color that was very close to a granite look and we also liked the ten year warranty.

Kitchen Renovation
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