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Types of Kitchen Countertops

kitchen countertops

We discussed how to choose cabinets in our last post and now it is time to decide how to choose the right kitchen countertop for your home.

The countertop is often a focal point of the kitchen so you want it to be stylish. The countertop also needs to be durable and functional in order to properly prepare meals on it.

You need to know your options before you decide which countertop is right for you. These are the types of kitchen countertops to choose from:

LAMINATE COUNTERTOPS

Laminate countertops are the cheapest choice of the three but are still very high in quality. You can choose from hundreds of colors and styles when determining which laminate countertop to buy. Laminate is also extremely easy to clean and the surface is water-resistant too.

The downside is that there are visible seams between each piece for larger surface areas and laminate is not heat-resistant so you will want to place hot bowls and pots and pans on a cloth.

GRANITE COUNTERTOPS

Granite countertops are stunning and very high-quality. A granite countertop is made from 100% natural stone and is naturally heat-resistant. The surface is extremely smooth too which makes it the perfect surface for baking. The surface is also stain- and bacteria-resistant if sealed correct.

QUARTZ COUNTERTOPS

Quartz countertops are the most durable of the three options. The stone resists heat and bacteria like granite but it does not need to be sealed as it is one large slab. You have less colors and styles to choose from but the construction is the best of the three.

For several years, granite countertops were the clear favorites for new homes and remodels. It is easy to understand why. But in recent years, the quality and style options of laminate countertops have greatly increased to where laminate is now both an affordable and quality choice.

You can save yourself several hundreds of dollars if you are willing to select laminate countertops over the natural stone choices. That being said, it is very hard to argue with the beauty and durability of both granite and quartz countertops.

How to Choose Cabinets

stock kitchen cabinets

A home contractor will need to know what type of kitchen cabinets you want for your remodel. You will need to decide this even before the demolition or the remodel begins because cabinets often need to be custom-made and ordered in advanced.

There are three main types of cabinets to choose from. This post will provide some information on each one in order to help you choose cabinets for your remodel

TYPES OF KITCHEN CABINETS

Here are the three cabinets available for a remodel:

STOCK CABINETS

The name says it all with this type of cabinet. Stock cabinets are in-stock and available to purchase from hardware stores and cabinetry stores near your home. You don’t need to pre-order this type of cabinet but you must understand that there will be limited sizes and finishes available if you choose stock cabinets.

A stock cabinet is a good option for a lower remodel budget but we prefer semi-custom or custom cabinets for a more polished look for your home.

SEMI-CUSTOM CABINETS

A semi-custom cabinet is built to order in various sizes and finishes. You need to order a semi-custom cabinet anywhere from 4-6 weeks in advance of the time you need it and you should expect to pay a significant amount more than the cost of a stock cabinet. You still have to choose from various models in a catalog or online but you can be certain the cabinet will fit your size and style requirements.

CUSTOM CABINETS

A custom cabinet is 100% built just for your kitchen. You can choose the style, the size, the finish and the materials. This is the most expensive of the three but you are purchasing something built just for your home that is high-quality craftsmanship. You should expect custom cabinets to require 4-6 weeks or more depending on the requirements and the cabinetmaker’s schedule.

The most popular choice for cabinets are semi-custom cabinets since they allow some alterations and are guaranteed to fit your kitchen dimensions. If the cost of the remodel is getting out of control, stock cabinets are a good compromise and one way to cut the costs of the total project.

DIY Demolition Tools

circular saw

You can save some money in hiring a home contractor for a kitchen remodel by performing various parts of a home remodel on your own. One piece of the project you can complete is demolition of the current kitchen in your home.

You can save a few hundred dollars or more if you complete the demolition but you will need to rent or own the right tools. Here are the DIY demolition tools you need:

CORDLESS DRILL

You will need to unscrew cabinets and countertops from the wall and base units. A cordless drill is much easier to use as it offers access to more difficult angles and won’t get tangled or unplugged in the process. Most homeowners will already own a cordless drill so you shouldn’t need to purchase this tool specifically for the demolition.

RECIPROCATING SAW

A reciprocating saw has a back-and-forth motion that will cut through wood and nails and help to cut base units and cabinetry in half for easy removal from the kitchen and to the dumpster or recycling bin. You can rent a reciprocating saw from the local hardware store for the weekend of the demolition for a reasonable cost.

PLIERS & CLIPPERS

You will need pliers and clippers to remove appliances from the wall or old nails and screws attached to the various cabinets and kitchen components. You should already have a pair of pliers in your tool bag and wire clippers are available for $10 or less at the hardware store.

SLEDGE HAMMER

This is the fun part. You can use a sledge hammer to know down drywall and the walls of the room. You can knock out kitchen islands with this powerful tool. You just need a little elbow grease.

SAFETY GEAR

Be sure to wear the proper safety gear during your kitchen demolition. You should wear work gloves as well as safety goggles and a hard hat. You can purchase all of this gear at the hardware store for around $20 total. You should not begin the demoltion without this gear as safety should always come first in any home repair or home remodel project.

Questions for Hiring a Home Contractor

home contractor

The home contractor you choose to hire for a home build or home remodel will be the most important decision of the entire project. You want to be sure you are 100% comfortable with the contractor you decide to hire.

You can help ensure you are making the right choice by asking the right questions for hiring a home contractor. If the answers give you confidence, you will know you are making the right choice for your project.

Here are the questions we recommend you ask a contractor before you hire him or her:

“How Many Years Have You Been in Business?”

You want to hire a contractor that has several years of experience in the business. A good home contractor will have had previous experience in various repair trades and should have a resume of several finished projects and satisfied customers.

An experienced contractor will have learned how to set reasonable expectations and timelines and complete a project on time. The number one complaint of customers about home contractors is that the job took longer than estimated. An experienced contractor is likely to have a much better idea of the length of a project.

“How Much Time Will the Project Require?”

This is the number one question for home contractors other than the cost of the project. You must agree on an expected completion date before hiring a home contractor.

“Are You Licensed/Certified?”

This one is a deal-breaker. You do not want to hire a home contractor that isn’t licensed and certified in the repairs and installations they will perform on your home. You can research the necessary licenses for home contractors in your state. Your insurance company is unlikely to cover any work done by an unlicensed contractor.

“Are You Insured?”

This is another deal-breaker. Your home contractor and all employees need to be insured in the various repairs and projects they will complete on the home. You do not want to find yourself being held responsible for any kind of medical or injury costs of the home contractor and his employees.

“What is the Payment Process?”

You should be suspicious if the home contractor wants the entire payment upfront. You should expect to pay a percent up front for initial labor and materials and then additional payments at various milestones throughout the project with the final payment coming once the job is 100% complete to your satisfaction.

“Do You Offer a Warranty?”

Reputable home contractors will offer a warranty for anywhere from one month to one year after their services are complete. We recommend hiring a contractor that offers a warranty for peace of mind long after the project is complete.

“What Does a Day Look Like?”

You should get an idea of what an average day during the project will be like. When will the home contractor and the crew arrive? When will they break and when will they leave? You don’t want to be at the mercy of random schedules and work hours every day if you are currently living in the home.

There are several other questions you might have for a home contractor but the ones we have provided above are a good start and a good indication of what the home contractor will be able to deliver.