Where to Begin?

Looking to replace your existing countertops with something new?  So where do you start?

Understand that going to ANY company to receive an estimate, without having some key information, could be a waste of your time and somewhat confusing.

My suggestion:  Do a little investigating on your own before heading out for prices.  Some of the best companies will give you as accurate an estimate as they can with the information you provide them.  But without some extra details, you may find your original estimate not as close to the quote once all the information is collected.

Here is a list of things to think about as you prepare for getting new countertops:

What type of material do you want?

Laminate, solid surface (polyester, acrylic, or blend), granite, engineered stone, green products, bamboo, paper, cork, paintable applications, concrete, glass, concrete overlay, butcher block, cultured marble, marble, stainless steel,  ….. and the list goes on.

Where will the tops be going?

Kitchen, bathroom, garage, office, butler’s pantry, outside, play area, bar, dry bar, wet bar, pass thru, commercial kitchen, industrial ….

Is there anything you would like to do that may be a bit unique?

There are too many possibilities of unique applications to list.

AND, each type of surface has many factors that will determine if it is an option for your space.

The best place to start:  Usually it is best to start with knowing what is already existing unless everything is going to be new.  Still, knowing the space and what factors to consider is going to be essential.

1.  What is already there?  What type of counter is being replaced?  Are the cabinets being reused? Is it new construction?  Are you getting cabinets from another job and re-using them in a new location?

2.  Will the cabinets support the weight of a heavier material?  Are they level or true (flat)?  Were the cabinets professionally installed or a DIY?  Was the professional really a professional?

3.  Are the walls square and vertically plumb? Do they have angles or turn corners at anything other than a 90 degree angle?  Do the existing countertops notch around walls, columns, door casing, pipes?

4.  If reusing the existing cabinets, are the cabinets a standard depth?  (24 inches is the normal standard).  Were the cabinets built on site?  Are they a complete box or do they just have a front?  Are the cabinets and existing tops the same depth in all locations?

5. Do the existing tops have a lip that drops over the front edge of the cabinet?

6.  Is there a backsplash on the existing countertop?  Does the splash go up to the upper cabinet?  If so, does it tuck behind the cabinet?  How thick are the splashes?

7.  What type of sink (if applicable) is in the existing countertop?  How deep is it?  Will it be reused, or replaced?  Can it be reused?

8.  Are you converting a room into an office space?  Are you removing carpeting, baseboard molding, etc?

It is best to have some working knowledge of what you would like to do and where it is going.  Getting good accurate estimates from a variety of companies will be more effective if you are comparing apples to apples.  And understand that there is no way of knowing everything that is involved until the space is professionally evaluated.  Keep in mind that free estimates are not really free.  Contractors will build the price of the time and effort spent at the initial consult into the cost of the job.  Paying a measure fee up front may seem like it’s costing you more, but, it probably will cost less overall.

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