Every homeowner wants a beautiful kitchen, but the downside of that is usually the high cost to achieve that goal. With a few cosmetic changes to kitchen the entire look can be updated and rejuvenated.
I have found that by replacing the counter tops in a kitchen the entire feel of the room can be changed. There are many options for kitchen counter tops such as granite, solid surface materials (Corian) and formica. Most of the choices are not meant for homeowner installation and are costly products. If you’re are on a budget there are several options, this way money is saved and the kitchen has some new life.
1. A homeowner can install a tiled counter top, this is an easy and affordable installation.
– A base of ¾” plywood must be laid where the counter top will be, cut to the size of what the counter will be. On top of the plywood a sheet of ¼” cement board (there are many name brands) should be attached. The plywood is not moisture resistant, and the tiles will bond better to the cement board.
-You can install any style of ceramic tile that you would like, from basic white tile to a mosaic pattern of broken tile pieces. I think that by choosing a slightly dark tile color (will hide stains and dirt better) and installing the tile in an interesting pattern, you can achieve a beautiful counter top that looks like it was installed by a professional.
-Choose a grout that will compliment the tile but will also be dark enough to hide any stains. It is a good idea to periodically seal the grout with a sealant, this will keep the staining to a minimum.
2. Solid wood, butcher block counter tops are a wonderful option for homeowners to install.
– These counters can be bought in standard lengths that can be cut to fit almost any kitchen. At stores like Ikea they can be purchased in different styles at a very affordable price. The reason I think these types of counters are so affordable is the ease of their installation. They must be cut to length, but after that they are laid on the cabinets and attached from the underside with clips and the install is done.
– Where there is a corner they can just be butted against one another, pieces are sold to cover the joint, but I don’t think they are needed.
– I would recommend sealing the counter tops with an approved sealer, since they are wood they will stain. The good thing about the tops is that with any stains or nicks, they can be sanded out and resealed very easily. These are a very economical and durable counter top option.
3. There are also counter tops with laminate covering (the inside is either MDF or particle board), that are sold just as the butcher block tops. They come in certain lengths that can be cut for any size installation. Any joining can be done with the available pieces and end covers. I see these as a more contemporary look, very nice and durable, but not my style.
The reasons that I suggest these several options are their affordability and the ease of which most homeowners can install them. Also if a mistake is made while installing them they are a forgiving material, most issues can be covered. If the mistake can not be covered they can be replaced at a small price, since they are affordable.
So always remember a beautiful remodel does not have to be hard and costly.