Home architecture has evolved dramatically over the last fifty years. Back then, the typical home was a highly compartmentalized structure with each functional area separated from the next by a wall. Over time, that style of architecture lost favor as homeowners embraced the concept of the “open” floor plan. This transition in home architecture blurred the boundary lines between some functional areas so that, for example, the family room and dining room combined to become the “great room.”
This architectural transition also influenced the kitchen. What formerly was considered strictly as the setting for meal preparation is now also considered one of the social gathering places within the home. This double-duty requires the modern kitchen to not only be an efficient workspace but to also look consistent with its surrounding spaces in terms of style and aesthetic appeal.
So important are these functional and aesthetic considerations that when homeowners consider remodeling their homes, they most often look to the kitchen as the place to begin. Surveys confirm that homeowners overwhelmingly choose the kitchen as the room they would most like to remodel. That also makes good economic sense since kitchen remodeling has the highest average return on investment when selling your home.
Once the decision is made to begin a home remodel in the kitchen, many homeowners choose kitchen countertop replacement as their first project. That’s understandable since countertops are such a highly visible part of the kitchen. New countertops provide maximum visual effect for your remodel dollars. However, not only are countertops highly visible, they are also utilitarian and must be able to withstand years of daily use.
Today’s homeowner has more choices than ever in countertop materials. Let’s take a look now at some of the more common options.
It has long been regarded as the material of choice for homeowners whose primary consideration is cost. Interestingly, more and more homeowners are now choosing laminate not for its affordability but for its aesthetic effect. According to a recent survey, many younger homeowners choose laminate countertops for its “retro” look. In response, laminate-king Formica is making laminate patterns that cater specifically to this market segment.
Laminate is non-porous, fairly durable, and requires virtually no maintenance. However, laminate is not heat resistant so you would never want to place very hot pots, for example, directly on its surface.
Laminate countertops come ready-made in common lengths as small as six feet long and as large as 10 feet long, and in standard widths. These ready-made sections are available with either mitered ends or straight ends.
Since laminate comes readymade in large sections and is made of easily cut materials, it can be installed relatively quickly by a competent and experienced handyman.
- Material Cost: $5/square foot
- Labor Cost: $15 to $30/hour