From Dean Dowd on February 28, 2007 in Kitchen Remodel
If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, there’s never been a better time to get exactly the look and functionality you want. This is especially true of counter and floor surfacing materials, where in addition to tried-and-true options such as stone and tile, innovative green alternatives are emerging, and retro revivals are making a comeback.
Bay Area contractors report that stone slab or tiles for countertops and trim, natural stone or quarry tile for flooring is currently the most popular choice among homeowners remodeling their kitchens. Durable, functional and beautiful, it can be fabricated to suit any setting, is available in many colors and patterns, and the long wait for stone to arrive from Italian quarries is a thing of the past. Another option, if you like the look of natural stone but not the colors it comes in, is engineered stone such as Silestone, which greatly expands on Mother Nature’s palette.
Ceramic and glass tile are perennial favorites, available in a rainbow of colors, and work well for walls, trims, backsplashes and even floors, as well as countertops.
Still a good option for countertops and trim is Corian, which lends itself to customization, is available in a wide variety of colors, and is easy to maintain. It can also be more forgiving of the rigors of day-to-day life in the kitchen than the more brittle stone, not to mention the inevitable damage that every countertop suffers sooner or later.
Homeowners in search of greener alternatives have flocked to Vetrazzo, made in the East Bay from recycled glass and concrete and available in finishes and palettes to suit every style classic, retro, modern or just plain fun. It can be used anywhere natural stone is used, including tabletops, countertops, walls and floors, and is comparably priced.
If you prefer a warmer look for your floor surfaces, bamboo is an option that satisfies your green side without compromising either practicality or beauty. Other attractive choices making a comeback are a couple of early 20th Century favorites. Real linoleum (which, unlike its latter-day vinyl counterparts, is made from natural materials) is available in endless colors and patterns, and easy to install and maintain. Cork, notable for its warm honey tones, also offers other advantages: it’s resilient, has excellent insulation and soundproofing properties, and is warm to the touch a big plus for those who like to walk around the kitchen barefoot.
Building professionals emphasize that many factors other than the price of the materials themselves affect the cost of the project. With countertops, for example, the number and type of sinks and accommodations for plumbing fixtures can be an issue. And, depending on your situation, it may be wise to spend more now for a durable product that will look good for years to come, rather than to go with a cheaper surface that can’t really stand up to the day-in and day-out wear and tear.
Since this is an area where mistakes due to poor planning can be especially expensive, take plenty of time to research your options, discuss your ideas with a trusted expert, and keep in mind the craftsman’s mantra of “Measure twice, cut once.”
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[tags]kitchen remodel, kitchen flooring, kitchen counters, san francisco kitchen contractors[/tags]