Kitchen counter advice??

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Finishing daughter's basement rental. What materials are advised for counter tops that are low maintenance and good life? This is a rental. Tenants probably young professionals. Sink in 4'x5' island with seating around. (Stools). Remaining counter tops are prep areas along the wall. Thank you!
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On Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 11:34:40 AM UTC-6, Ivan Vegvary wrote:

good life? This is a rental. Tenants probably young professionals.

s are prep areas along the wall.

No doubt in my mind, it would be laminate. Today's laminates are not your parents style. They are affordable, the good stuff (stick with Formica bra nd, Wilsonart, and one more that they don't sell around here)and you will b e very surprised at how extensive your decorative options are.
A few thoughts. Go to a real laminate or "countertop" company to get your product. However, no one beats the selection of colors and textures at the big box stores, so find your selections there and take them to the counter top guys. I would a provider and ask them which prefixes on the reference # indicate it is a premium or special order piece.
With the size of your island, you will need to have the top for that cabine t specially made if you stay with laminate. Flat work can be expensive, bu t again, if the tenants take any kind of care with it, the tops will wear l ike iron so it could be worth it to you. At any rate, you can get a quote from most of those places free as they bid by the universal inch, then add for the sink cut out.
Personally, for rent unit I wouldn't make a selection that had the hard, sh iny finish like their faux granite patterns. While that looks great when i nstalled, every little scratch shows. The more satin your reflective finis h is the less wear it will show. I have a client that had me install the s hiny, faux granite a couple of years ago and they love it, but they don't d o things that could scratch it up.
I like the laminates because they provide great bang for the buck, and you aren't limited to solid colors and those awful butcher block colors that we re in every tract home built for 25 years. The good news is that if someth ing awful does happen to the top, if the pattern select is still made, the top can simply be replaced. Repair maintenance is always a big considerati on with rental properties, no matter who the tenant might be.
Robert
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Robert, thank you so much for your thoughtful comprehensive reply. Ivan Vegvary
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Ivan Vegvary wrote:

You haven't gotten a lot of replies so I'll chime in too.
First of all, I pretty much agree with all Robert said about laminate. I would also like to mention post formed counter tops. Those are the one with integral back splash and rolled front edge. I have no idea about the variety available and they are made on particle board but that would suffice for other than wet areas.
There are two downsides to laminate... 1. There is normally a dak edge. Not terribly important and they used to make "color through" laminate, don't know if they still do.
2. A hot pot can ruin it in a hurry. After all, it is paper & plastic.
A viable alternative to laminate - IMO - is tile. There are several reasons...
1. It is pretty much impervious to anything. True, it can be broken but one has to work at it :)
2. It is easy to do. Tiles that are 6x6 can work out well for normal width countertops with minimal cutting. Ditto 12x12 and 4x4.
3. It can be cheaper than laminate. Here's a sampling from a good supplier... http://www.southcypress.com/Flooring/American-Olean-Bright-Matte
One problem with tile are the edges...they need to be finished in some manner. The conventional way is with bullnose tiles, for which the suppliers extract healthy sums. A good - and less expensive - alternative is Schutler Rondec... http://www.schluter.com/schluter-us/en_US/Profiles/For-Walls/Edging-%26-Outside-Wall-Corners/Schluter?-RONDEC/p/RONDEC
People have two complaints about tile...
1. It isn't flat. If it isn't flat it wasn't laid correctly. True, the joints are slightly recessed but what does it matter?
2. The grout gets dirty. Answer is, don't use light grout. And seal it. __________________________________
You didn't indicate whether you intend to do the work yourself. If so, and if you use tile, forget about diamond saws. An inexpensive ($30+-) score and snap cutter will do a better job, especially on smooth tiles. Diamond blades ALWAYS chip the edges; so do the score and snap but much less so and what chipping there is is easily removed with a stone or even wet or dry paper around a wood block which is also the way one removes the sharp edge.
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wrote:

I disagree 100%. Tile is the *wrong* surface for a kitchen. Even if you seal it, grout is porous (it won't stay sealed forever) and is a great breeding ground for bacteria. It would be a big strike against a rental, IMO.
I much prefer granite over any other surface but understand why a landlord wouldn't want to spring for it. However, I think it depends on the unit. If it's an upscale rental, it has to have an upscale kitchen. Otherwise, I think laminate is best. If necessary it can be replaced between tenants.
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What about the solid tops that are supposedly able to be handled by normal tools? (although for jointing I think it might require a special tool to make it seamless)
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Not sure what materials you're talking about but I'd be afraid of them being too soft. I like "quartz" tops as well as granite but (I think) they're even more expensive. Corian I wouldn't have (in the kitchen) if they gave it away.
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They are something along the lines like this http://www.todayshomeowner.com/video/installing-solid-surface-countertops/#tabs-1
A couple weeks ago I was looking to see what options there are and several "solid tops" were installable by anyone with the ability to use tools.
I haven't done any serious looking yet as I am concentrating on cabinet design. I have it all laid out in my head, and it would probably be faster if I just laid it out on paper, but I am using SketchPro and have a lot of loose ends to get into sync.
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On Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 3:16:42 PM UTC-6, dadiOH wrote:


ith

ice

To mention it is to undercut its value. That is exactly the product I was talking about, but didn't have the sense to say it. I like the post formed , and now with the different styles of rolled edges, including wood edge, y ou can get some nice looking stuff. All of the post formed laminates are b onded to medium density particle board, and it works fine as you pointed ou t.

d

I don't know if they make that stuff anymore or not. I remember it, but ne ver used it anywhere as it was nasty expensive and no one would pay for it. The good news is that darker counter colors are in style, so with the las t kitchen I did that had dark laminate, I found the side benefit was that y ou couldn't see the joints.

c.
Ahh... those were the days. I did well 30 years ago with a cutting board c alled a "counter saver". Folks would set down a hot pan, something that wo uld stain the surface, or damage it in some way and I would cut out the dam age and install a cutting board. I found a source for a board that had a r abbet around the underside perimeter and a little piece of hardware to be u sed to pick the board up from the top to wash it. The rabbet allowed the b oard to sink securely to about 1/2 its thickness, but be easily removable f or cleaning.
Today's laminates are much more heat resistive, but you are right, a hot pa n will damage them in seconds with no problem.
I guess the biggest thing I have seen as an improvement to the laminates be sides all the new colors and patterns is that the surfaces are harder, and MUCH more stain resistant. I wouldn't know how to measure how much more, b ut the better grades are really great at laughing off fruit juices and coff ee. Of course, the shinier the finish, the more stain resistant they will be.
Robert
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Without getting into the good idea/bad idea question, I am curious what you'd recommend as a substrate to put the tile on.
John
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On 2016-01-29 2:44 PM, John McCoy wrote:

Anything but cement board is a waste of time, but do use a good quality grout.
--
Froz...

Quando omni flunkus, moritati
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On 1/29/2016 2:51 PM, FrozenNorth wrote:

I'd not use tile on a counter, but I I did, it would be epoxy grout. I've heard there are not urethane grouts too.
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John McCoy wrote:

If bonding with mastic, 3/4" ply. If with thinset, the same + 1/4" or1/2" cement board. I prefer 1/4".
Some will say you GOTTA use cement board. Well,one upon a time it didn't exist and mastic over ply was a norm. My tiled kitchen counters are now 20 years old...they are mastic on ply and none have ever popped.
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On Fri, 29 Jan 2016 19:44:20 -0000 (UTC), John McCoy

Hardi-backer screwed to ply, with thinset on both sides of of the HB.
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On 1/28/16 2:16 PM, dadiOH wrote:

For #2 I always use epoxy grout. It's impervious to staining and lasts forever. Problems are limited colors and it tends to have a glossy appearance, it also is like smearing warm bubblegum around when applying.
-BR
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No one likes Corian or other similar surfaces?
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Casper wrote:

Not particularly because...
1. You can't buy Corian sheet stock to fabricate yourself unless you go to Corian scholl (and are a licensed contractor?). Don't know about other man made products.
2. It (all) are relatively expensive.
3. All are various minerals with a plastic - usually acrylic - binder; therefore, heat sensitive and subject to scratching, some more, some less
Not the stuff for a rental IMO..
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On Friday, January 29, 2016 at 12:05:53 PM UTC-6, dadiOH wrote:

Exactly what he said. Just add in not very stain resistant in the lighter colors and you have the whole picture.
Robert
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On Fri, 29 Jan 2016 11:12:08 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

Wondering if any one has a poured in place concrete counter top? Thoughts and opinions about are of course encouraged.
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wrote:

Not for a kitchen but I did a ~2z3' x2" mantle sort of thing with marble tile on a concrete slab. The flue from a wood stove passed about an inch underneath and I couldn't think of another material that would take the heat.
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