by Debbie L. Sklar
Forget about Formica, when it comes to updating outdated kitchen countertops, granite is the trend.
Yes, those days of simple, plain- colored countertops have fallen out of favor in the same fashion that green and orange shag carpeting did did afterfrom the 1970s.
Today, homeowners who are looking to put some pizzazz into their kitchens can now do soit easily via their countertops. There are number of ways to achieve a new look, ranging from covering up what you already have to starting from scratch.
According to a recent National Kitchen and Bath Association survey, Formica, the material of choice for decades, has now taken a back seat to wood. Granite and natural quartz are leading the trend in countertops owing to the fact that as natural stone is available in a dazzling array of colors. If you are looking toAs you expand functional space in the kitchen, a quartz countertop is a smart choice, especially for an island, because of several reasons: it is non-porous, it is especially suitable for food preparation, durable enough to withstand active kids, yet so attractive it makes for a gorgeous centerpiece. Add a unique backsplash and voilà, a! Yyou’ve got a kitchen to envy.! Colorful tiles add a unique statement, too. Spark your creativity and accent your kitchen walls with a customized backsplash perhaps by mixing- and- matching colorful tiles into a one-of-a-kind design. This accent will add character to the wall behind your sink, and life to your kitchen.
But is also now possible to add what are called “Granite Transformations,” which are engineered to install directly over your existing countertops. The product is manufactured from 95% percent real granite and quartz stone that has been crushed, then blended with a specially formulated (resin) polymer, and pressed over a fiberglass screen mesh for reinforced strength.
Technically, Granite Transformations are classified as an engineered stone. and tThe size comes in is 10-foot by 4-foot slabs, yet it is only ¼-inch thick.
“Granite Transformations areis so light weight that theyit areis installed directly over your existing tile, Formica or any other solid surface. Once installed, itthe product is actually stronger thant ordinary slab granite because per square inch you have the exact same strength,” saidys Jim Fay, OOwner of Granite Transformations - -San Diego, Jim Fay.
Such a procedure usually takes one to three days, depending on the size of the job and the various options the customer chooses. “It is very important to verify that your installers are licensed, bonded and insured for your protection,” Fay says.
“Unlike granite slab yards that require you to purchase the full slab, with Granite Transformations you only purchase the actual square footage of your countertop and back splash. Another very important tip is to verify that your installers are licensed, bonded and insured for your protection,” he said.
In terms of cost, the Transformations actual price per square foot price will vary depending on the options chosenyou choose, such as: tThe type and brand of sink; i.e. top mount sink, under mount sink, or keeping an existing sink. Other choices include the type of detailed edge style, and the type of back splash; i.e. full height back splash, low back splash or no back splash. Customers You may choose from a variety of countertop materials including Granite, Cristallino (recycled tempered glass) or Mosaic. On average, a Granite Transformations average kitchen ranges in price from $3,500.00. to $6,500.00. The actual cost could be more or less depending on the size and the options.
The advantages of this product Granite Transformations are numerous, including the fact that no demolition is required; it is bonded securely with a two-part epoxy that fills every void, so there is you have no concern about bacteria or mold. Granite Transformations is also heat, stain, scratch and bacteria resistant. In addition, Fay says “unlike granite slab yards that require you to purchase the full slab, with this product, you only purchase the actual square footage of your countertop and back splash.”
Trendy is as Trendy Does
However, sSometimes, it is easier to have somebody create a countertop straight from scratch.
For example, Stone Forest, a manufacturer of high-end countertops, is all about countertop trends.
According to President Michael Zimber, president of the New MexicoSanta Fe, N.M.-based company, they just came out with a brand new custom kitchen island that features a granite countertop.
“We only do countertops in conjunction with certain custom projects, usually when it is a fairly unique stone or if the customer wants something unusual like thick countertops with a chiseled edge,” he saidys. “Our brand new custom countertop is unique in that it is not fabricated from slabs, but carved from a single block of black granite with a chiseled edge. This means that we have to find a stone that is thick enough to carve the actual sink into.”
For instance, if the sink itself is 12-inches deep, the slab has to be at least this thick. The final outcome is a product that deviates from what you will see in most homes, Zimber saidys.
Alternatively, as a homeowner, you can purchase a product called CaesarStone directly from kitchen and bath retailers nationwide including San Diego. In 1987, The Israel-based company isCaesarStone, the original manufacturer of quartz surfaces, and in 1987, they began began selling itstheir products all over the world, including Israel, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. In 1999, CaesarStone opened its first U.S. distributorship, based in Sun Valley, California. It has quickly becaome the preferred surface of lead designers, architects and homebuilders. Continuing to set new standards, Composed of 93% percent quartz and 7% percent polyresin, CaesarStone has also earned the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval from the Good Housekeeping Researching Institute.
The product It is known to be a reliable countertop choice because it provides numerous benefits over other materials such as granite, laminates, and tile, marble, concrete or solid surfaces. In By choosing a CaesarStone countertop, customers get a surface that is resistant to heat, cold, dangerous mold, mildew, bacteria and stains. The countertops are also ISO-certified with UKSA Environmental Management, showing their its commitment to solid ecological management systems.
From fashion to furnishings, paint to pillows, this year’s color trends are getting in touch with nature. According to Color Marketing Group, the leading international association of color design professionals, this year’s powerful color trends are driven by concern for the environment. CaesarStone consulted CMG’s findings and analyzed its own data from the international architect and design community to create its 2007 collection of quartz surface colors. Some of the new colors that are Jjoining their CaesarStone’s collection this year are: Sandalwood, Bedrock, Mulberry Mist, Pebble, Amazon Green, Nougat, Espresso and Raven.
“We have a definite advantage when it comes to creating surfaces in the newest color trends,” said Arik Tendler, president of CaesarStone. “We don’t have to depend strictly on nature to create our colors. We can fashion a full rainbow of colors while maintaining the durability and beauty of real stone that people desire for their kitchen countertop and other surfaces.”
The Art of Glass
If you're not into the standard granite countertops and are way beyond Formica, another hot new trend is glass countertops. Yes, they are actually made of glass and are see- through at times. Manufacturers such as ThinkGlass Kitchen offer countertops, backsplashes and raised bars that can literally transform your eating area into an true art piece. The company uses glass tops that are 1.5-inches thick or more, have a smooth, glossy contemporary finish on every piece, and offer many choices of imbedded textures. Also available are custom designs with infused color to create your personalized artistic touches. Durability is a big plus with isn't an issue either as these glass countertops, as they will last years and years regardless of how hard you chop, slice or dice. Glass countertops can be used on top of over stainless steel, as well onover kitchen islands for a truly unique addition to any kitchen. Costs vary depending on size, color, etc. and other factors.
The Bottom- Line
The process of purchasing custom stone is more detailed than, for example, buying carpeting. As with any purchase, you need to determine what criteria are most important to you. Are you searching for the absolute lowest price or looking more for overall superior value? Is timely completion important? How heavily do you weigh the quality of materials, and workmanship of the fabrication and installation? Do you value responsive service, and integrity of and the caliber of people that you deal with and will behave working in your home?
Be sure to work directly with an expert when renovating or revamping your kitchen, a place where family and friends always seem to gather most.