Counters Have Come a Long Way

Mom may have had a laminate top, likely trimmed in chrome. Today, your choices are much more varied, and consumers are installing new, creative looks.

The first company to take solid surfaces by storm was DuPont, with Corian.  Since losing its patent, the price of Corian has come down and is currently priced approximately in line with granite. While you cannot cut on acrylics or place a hot pot on the countertop, it is still the only surface that offers a true seamless look.

Granite is still king. Nothing can replicate what nature makes unique in every slab, and granite is still the most widely used kitchen counter in the Wellesley area. Granite is a great choice for kitchens because you can cut on it without a cutting board, and it will not melt if you place a hot pan atop it.  It even expedites the cooling of a pie removed fresh from the oven.

Quartz products have arrived. With all the benefits of granite, quartz products are also non-porous, offer consistency in color, and will not blemish if installed with a “honed” or “matte” finish. The major brands are Silestone, Zodiaq, and CaesarStone. The cost is slightly higher than for granite but may be worth using if the color and style fit your design.

Square foot costs

A very common question our customers have when planning an addition is the cost per square foot. The reality is that it depends on dozens of decisions made using the triangle model of budget-quality-quantity. The shape of the structure has an impact. In the March 2006 issue of The Journal of Light Construction, Dennis Dixon noted that a 100 square foot structure built 10×10 or 2×50 resulted in a 40 linear foot and 104 linear foot outline respectively. That is a 260% difference in materials and labor. While not a realistic comparison, it certainly points out issues of geometry and how it significantly contributes to the cost of construction. The other factor I call “soft costs”. Soft costs are what you are going to put on or into your project. A window with 6 over 6 panes in an architectural wood series vs. a vinyl window will create a difference of approximately $500 or 140% difference per window. How much interior and exterior molding, built-in cabinetry and other millwork will be part of the equation as well. So what is the current trend? More people are leaning to a higher quality home with amenities rather than more square footage that is plain vanilla.