How to Remodel Kitchen Countertops?
Countertop technology developing itself and it catches up with the latest technology, we may be able to control the natural stones as well. You’ll see updates to the quartz, for instance, in the past started out with a tighter pattern, but today everyone is looking more towards the marble-like. Then finally, the absence of pattern.
In a lot of contemporary designs, you may see just solid colors, you may not see any patterns. For instance, you may see white or another color such as black, as that’s also an option. That’s not going to be a non-option with Mother Nature, but it certainly would be with an engineered material like quartz.
There are other choices, and we are an early adopter here in the Tampa Bay area of two materials, one being porcelain and the other sintered stone. They came on the scene in Europe back a few years, not days or months, as it’s been in Europe for a while. They’re very attractive materials, and over time are going to take off here in the United States in a big way.
The reason for that is it just has a lot of things going for it. First off, let’s explain what it is. If you’re familiar with porcelain floor tile, such as many people already have in their home, it’s the same idea. The same material is manufactured in a much bigger format, instead of a 12 by 24-inch floor tile, they’re producing this in a 5 ft by 10 ft slab that we can then turn into a countertop.
So what’s really nice about porcelain? It is resistant to heat UV rays and stains. In terms of resistance, it’s really impervious to everything. In normal use, whether you leave some staining agent on it overnight or you put something hot directly on its surface, it’s going to be very forgiving.
It’s also produced in a much thinner profile. You may already be familiar with most of the countertops you’ve seen at least in our market here in Tampa. Three centimeters is really the popular thickness, and that’s roughly just under an inch and a quarter inch and 3/16 thick. This material is 6 to 12 millimeters, so we’re talking essentially a quarter to a half-inch thick.
Now in a contemporary home, that thin material can look very attractive directly without doing anything more to it, but we can build it up and make it look thicker. You see this thinner material quite often here because the market is more interested in it than in the thicker look. What we do is; we mightier it. What that means is, we’re able to create a look that looks much thicker than what it really is.
When we’re done with our monitoring process, what was a half-inch thick material is going to look to the observer as a 2- 2.5-inch thick material. There is a type of monitoring process we do that essentially involves being able to create a wrap around material that’s actually concealed inside of the countertop. We are able to wrap around that material and when you look at it, it looks like a solid block of stone to you and to anyone else who looks at it.
But the reality is it has another substrate inside of it that we’re wrapping with porcelain. As we mentioned already, it has the characteristics of heat UV resistance and staining resistance. What’s really cool about this? They actually take images of natural materials,(marble and onyx are popular) and they’ll transfer that image onto the support piece of porcelain. Then they bake that at very high temperatures and what you end up with is an image of natural stone.
It is kind of your forever countertop, the only time you ever have to get rid of it is when you get bored with it. But with some of the designs, the look of natural marble is never going to go away. If you’re at a point in your life where you’re trying to design your home to fit your lifestyle as you retire and don’t want to have to revisit any major remodel work again, then this would be one of those materials that would be worth considering.
Also, there are different finishes:
- Polished surface
- Textured surface
- Leathered surface
You don’t have to go with a polished surface. If you’re interested in a textured surface, there’s something called a leathered surface, which is three dimensional, meaning that you can rub your hand across and actually feel the difference in thickness. You know where it varies on a matte finish or a home finish going you’re not going to see the shine. So if you don’t want a polish and don’t want to see that shine then you know a matte home finish is going to give you what you want.
Countertop Material Selection
Sintered stone, to anyone looking at it is not going to notice much of a difference. The manufacturing process is a little different, with respect to sintered stone and porcelain, and the materials are not the same. The manufacturing process varies, but in the end, to the casual observer, they still look very much alike.
Sintered stone can give you some of the same looks you get via porcelain. It starts out with crushed stone, which is the major element and then under high, intense heat and pressure, they form slabs of material. Sintered stone is very resistant. It’s very popular, more so in Europe, but it is probably gaining in popularity here for building facades, that’s how durable it is!
Using it to create the facade on a building is a good way to use it outdoors, and it’s also going to hold up quite well in your kitchen, due to the way it is formulated and manufactured. We can get all sorts of thicknesses, such as the aforementioned 12 and 3 centimeters, which in the case of the porcelain, would have been the aforementioned 6 and 12 millimeters. Plus you can also get more of the standard countertop thickness that you know we’re familiar with in Tampa, which would be the 3 centimeters or roughly into 3-60 inches and a quarter thick material.
- There are more options in terms of thickness and the material with porcelain. That’s why we mightier it so that when you look at it from the side, it all follows the same pattern and you don’t see any playing white or an absence of color with sintered stone. The way it’s manufactured, the color is all through the material. We can do a traditional edge on a sintered stone, where as we have to monitor it on a porcelain surface. If you want a thicker look we can apply some of the same edges that would apply to natural stone.
- There are also a variety of colors and textures to consider, and this material is fully recyclable and will last forever until you’re bored with it. It’s a surface that will hold up long term while building your home and is also excellent for outdoor use. Sintered stone is a beautiful material, with more of a contemporary look or industrial look. All these properties we’ve mentioned with the porcelain are pretty much the same way with sintered stone and nowadays they do a great job in terms of their translation of natural marble and onyx looks into porcelain.
How to Measure Countertop
What’s the installation process look like? The installation process from start to finish is that we’re going to come out to your home and create a digital template that we just discussed, then from there, we’re going to go and release the material.
Sometimes the material was chosen is located here at our facility, sometimes it will be located at a warehouse that you’ve gone to and selected it from. Once we have the template, that material is released to us and then if a layout is required, we do a digital layout for you and send it to you via email before anything progresses from there.
In terms of fabrication, we need your approval to proceed and once we have that approval, we go to fabrication. Usually from approval to installation day is on average around 5 business days, so approximately 5 business days after we have your layout approval, we’re going to be coming to install. If you’ve asked us to take care of removing and disposing of what’s currently on your cabinets, i.e. your laminate tops, or whatever they may be, then that will be part of our process.
We can come in, remove what’s there, and take it away. Then we would install the new countertops, attach your sink selection and the rest, lastly, we make sure those items fit. We want to make sure they’re all there on that day. What we’ll do at the next level is we’ll put everything together, everything gets cleaned and then we ask you to look at everything and approve it. We have an inspection regime we ask you to go through before we call it a finished job.
Usually, these jobs take a few hours with our team. In some cases we need a larger crew, depending on the size of the pieces in the complexity, but often these jobs are done in a half a day. However, if there are projects where we’re involved in multiple rooms we might take a full day and sometimes we come back on a second day.
In a kitchen, you might go with a countertop backsplash, which would essentially be the same material going up the wall about four inches. Now we see less of that, and today we see more tile, so the countertop does not have a backsplash at all. We place the countertops and then you would be tiling the wall after the countertops. We would be just replacing the countertops and not doing anything with the backsplash.
The other option is a full-height backsplash, and that needs to be determined certainly by the time we come out to do a template on the full height backsplashes, essentially taking the countertop material and running that up to your wall. The distance between your countertop and the bottom of your wall cabinet is about 18 inches, so this is a full-height backsplash and actually runs up the wall. What you see is the countertop material just going right from the horizontal to the vertical plane.
We try to match it up so that if you have a material with movement, it sort of logically flows right up the wall. It might be a very dramatic look depending on your color selection, and sometimes we’ll run it up. If you have a bent hood and a stove, we will run it all the way to the ceiling there, and that’s quite dramatic when we do that. That’s called a full height backsplash.
This is typically not done the same day, so we would come out, install your countertops, then come back a second time with our laser template device. We then re-measure for your walls so that we make sure that when we fabricate those pieces, we get them to fit as tightly as possible with minimal gapping. So it requires a second trip to install the full height backsplash. The last thing here is the ceiling. We apply if it’s a natural material, we deal with it at our workplace.
The one other thing that should be pointed out is there’s a fair amount of artistry and craftsmanship with this job that our installers do, and whether they were working for us or someone else we really proud of the crews that we have. One of the things they do very well is trying to match the seam. You’ve got a joint, so you end up with a very small seam joint when we’re done where those two pieces come together. We have to mix on a proxy so we can fill that joint in.
We want to try to match the color of the countertops as well as we can but you have to understand, you’ve got a countertop with a lot of variation. We’ve got to pick some elements of that predominant color within that to mix our seam poxy. That is where the artistry comes in and our guys do a pretty good job of that, as it is something that’s more art than science.
AGS Stone Specials
Let’s talk about the saving points we offer to our future clients. We have 6 months same-as cash. If you’re in a situation where you want to hold off on making the cash investment immediately then we do have some options for you to consider!
Also, we have 10% off for quartz countertops with a free faucet with your purchase. That can be found right on our website, at the bottom of our homepage. You can go there and book your appointment and save!