If your kitchen looks old and dated, you don’t necessarily have to tear everything down and start over. Replacing your countertops instantly gives your kitchen a new look and saves you a lot of money and hassle.
There are many different types of worktops to choose from, including granite, Corian (a composite of mineral and acrylic polymer, from around £400 per square metre), Raustone (similar to Corian but cheaper), Rubberwood (cubic wood glued together), stainless steel, formica, solid wood such as oak, beech, walnut, cherry, iroko and basic laminates. Granite, Corian, Rausstone and stainless steel must be installed by a professional.
Wood kitchen countertops, including oak, beech, and walnut, are the easiest options for those looking for a do-it-yourself job because they are easier to cut than laminate, granite, and stainless steel.
Oak worktops are the first choice for those looking for strength, durability and classic, traditional elegance. Oak’s rich color and fine markings add elegance to any kitchen, adding character and warmth as they mature over the years.
Walnut is a very warm dark wood with a rich grain and a strong character. Walnut contains a natural exotic pattern that sets it apart from its contemporaries.
Cherry is an elegant and colorful wood that is fast becoming one of the most popular choices for kitchens. Cherry wood countertops display a subtle autumnal red that gracefully darkens over time to a rich maturity.
Beech is the most popular and versatile of all hardwoods. Light tones and soft textures create a bright feel that complements any kitchen style.
Iroko – The dark color of this rich African hardwood produces amazing results when used in the right kitchen environment. Often referred to as “African teak”, it is the most durable countertop due to its high stain resistance.
Prepare for a rainy day
Before you begin your kitchen countertop project, figure out how many new countertops you will need to complete the job. If the existing countertop is suitable, the job is done for you, as you can simply use it as a template. If the countertop can’t replace the existing one or if you need extra, you’ll need a tape measure and cardboard to make the template. Unfortunately, corners are rarely right angles, even in new construction, so you’ll want to double-check. Do not forget to order all frames, brackets and accessories when ordering your countertop.
Saw point for kitchen worktop
When cutting laminate, kitchen fitters recommend using a circular saw with the laminate side down. A jigsaw works well for cutting large holes, such as sinks, but be aware of wear and tear. Many people choose to rent a circular saw from a local rental store. However, for a professional job you need very steady hands. Another key to laminating countertops is getting the miter joint just right. These can be cut by a woodworker using precision equipment for a small fee.
Accessories for kitchen countertops
A spirit level is essential when using support brackets, wooden slats or KD blocks to secure countertops, especially kitchen renovations. Keep a drop of about 2 degrees from the wall behind it to avoid spills and dirt buildup. Do wall tiling after the countertop is installed so there is a permanent horizontal border to work your way up. Seal all cut laminate surfaces with compound to keep out moisture and between seams. Use silicone caulk between tiles and countertops and reflective aluminum tape around the stove/stove to protect against radiant heat; use a watertight seal around the sink – unless a rubber gasket is provided.
If this all seems a bit labor intensive, consider having a professional company deliver, cut and install the countertops as a package. You can then draw on their experience and craftsmanship to ensure the work is carried out to the highest standard. The worktop is cut and polished according to your individual needs, saving you time and inconvenience.