The kitchen, being the contemporary centerpiece of every home, requires a countertop which (1.) meets the functional needs of daily cooking preparations and (2.) complements the beauty of the entire area.
Whether you are building a new house or doing a major kitchen renovation, it is essential to know a few useful information which will help you decide on the final design of your countertop.
Furthermore, should you intend to have your local supplier install it for you, he or she will most likely ask some of the details which we will discuss in this article. Therefore, it is best to have a list of some of your ideas beforehand. Keep in mind that the installer will charge you accordingly based on the specifications of your project.
The Frontage, the central part of the countertop, is the working area of the kitchen. It is here where we perform mostly the various tasks, such as kneading and chopping. Moreover, it is the surface which absorbs the constant use and abuse of daily meal preparations.
During layout and design, it is important to note that a depth of at least 0.60 meters is required for the countertop's frontage to function efficiently. This figure ensures, too, that there is a sufficient area to work on while allowing enough space to accommodate the sink, the stove top, and some other small kitchen accessories.
A countertop can either be a continuous space or a connection of two or more granite, marble, or quartz slabs joined at angled corners. Often, kitchens with an "L-shaped" or a "U-shaped" layout require seams to accommodate the size of the countertop. Alternatively, you may also consider using gangsaw slabs (slabs which have a depth of more than a meter) to minimize the number of seams.
A Backsplash is a vertical panel installed above the frontage of a countertop. It has three essential functions. First, it serves to protect the wall from splatters and blocks spills and drips from seeping behind the cabinet. It helps keep both surfaces clean and dry, which, in turn, prevents mold from growing inside your kitchen.
Second, it hides the gap between the rear end of the countertop and the wall behind it. Considering that most walls, almost always, are not straight, the void becomes inevitable. The backsplash, therefore, covers this particular problem fittingly.
Lastly, it provides a stunning visual treat to anyone in the kitchen. It adds depth, color, and texture in the room. Whether you prefer a 4" high or a full-height backsplash, it surely is worth pairing with your countertop.
Laminate and Skirting
The countertop's base is another critical factor to consider during the design process. A countertop placed over a wooden cabinet typically requires a Laminated edge profile to hide the substrate supporting the slab. On the other hand, when installed on top of a concrete base or a metal or a stainless steel frame, a Skirting is recommended to conceal the structure underneath.
Planning the location of the sink, the stove top, and, even the wall outlets is a must, as well. Employ the concept of the Work Triangle to ensure you can move freely between each workstation of the kitchen. Once finalized, the installer identifies the position of the Cutouts based on your decision.
He or she may recommend adjusting these locations sometimes, as cutouts make the stone very fragile. There should be at least 50 mm clearance between the nearest edge of the slab and the lip of the cutout. In some cases, the installer may even require to place it with seams.
Hence, it is highly necessary for wooden cabinets and frame bases to have a substrate which supports the stone slab underneath. The underlay prevents cracks and fissures from occurring, especially around the cutouts.
Often an overlooked feature, the Edge Profile is a subtle detail which makes a huge statement. It is a design element which affects the appearance and functionality of the countertop, as well as the whole kitchen itself.
Standard designs range from Eased, Bullnose, Chamfered, etc., but the spectrum of choices are limitless. You can even create one for your kitchen. It is an excellent way of personalizing your kitchen with nothing more than an edging detail.
Every countertop, regardless of its material, must not only appeal in form but must also achieve its function. Thus, every little detail requires careful planning before making a final decision on the design. Finding the right countertop for your home may look easy at first, but it becomes increasingly overwhelming once you consider all the details.
Nevertheless, it is worth your every effort. The countertop, after all, is both the workhorse and the focal point of your kitchen.