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What are the least expensive countertop options that are still modern?
middleofnowhere
December 10, 2012 in Design Dilemma
I have a 1970 kitchen in an old farmhouse--because I have a small budget for upgrades (and most of it is going to new cork floors and more lighting in the ceiling), I'm painting my cabinets. I'd love to do a quartz countertop, but not sure Icahn afford it, or if the kitchen needs that high of quality. Would would be something that looks similar, but is less expensive, and still has a modern look?
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PRO
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I'd look at laminate countertops. Formica and Wilsonart offer some wonderful new finishes, including a stainless steel look. Or a simple black matte finish would be lovely.
2 Likes   December 10, 2012 at 7:02PM
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middleofnowhere
Do you see the seams on these types of counters? I have a (cheap) laminate that was installed 12 years ago and the seams are so obvious.
0 Likes   December 13, 2012 at 11:15AM
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creeser
Another option to consider is concrete countertops.
[houzz=kitchen]
[houzz=Naify Kitchen]
[houzz=Goodbye 90's Kitchen]
1 Like   December 13, 2012 at 12:02PM
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PRO
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Be aware that some less expensive cabinets may not be able to support the weight of concrete or granite countertops. That does not mean the cabinets are inferior. It only means that when they were built, they were not meant to support that kind of weight.
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
0 Likes   December 13, 2012 at 5:39PM
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
The new laminate counter tops like Formica and Wilsonart have improved immensely in the past few years. You don't see seams and the new edge choices are very nice. It is a great way to stay in budget and still have style. With all the choices in finishes you can do anything from country to contemporary. If your kitchen isn't to large stainless steel or copper are great. If you make friends with a metal fabricator you could save some money. Or you can make it a DIY project a friend did his own they look good. He went with a rustic look that way his flaws added character. ;-)
1 Like   December 13, 2012 at 5:58PM
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designideas4me
I had an estimate on concrete and its not cheap. It was just as much or more than the granite and quartz.
0 Likes   December 13, 2012 at 5:58PM
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designideas4me
I am considering granite tile. That is less money and can do an undermount sink.
0 Likes   December 13, 2012 at 5:59PM
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
PS: they do a quartz veneer that goes over your existing tops and Home Depot has a paint treatment that creates different looks like stone etc.
0 Likes   December 13, 2012 at 6:02PM
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
You can do an under-mount sink using almost any of the choices mentioned even to laminates have a under-mount "look" sink. It is pretty decent. The concrete option is expensive if you hire it done. There are however DIY You Tube videos as well as kits from Home Depot. These are not hard to do as long as you know some basic building techniques. It won;t hurt to try a small sample piece. Go on expand your horizons.
1 Like   December 13, 2012 at 6:18PM
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designideas4me
oh yeah the countertop transformations by rustolium.. good idea. if I had a countertop I might use that. What do you think of the ikea counters. They offer butcherblock and some laminate stuff but it has seems if you have a big island like i do.
0 Likes   December 13, 2012 at 6:19PM
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Marcia Soriano
Rustoleum makes a paint for countertops (called Rustoleum Countertops). It's good if you want to change the color or look of your countertops for $20. Just did my Jack & Jill vanities in upstairs (rarely used) guest vanities. I wouldn't recommend this for a kitchen or main bathroom. I just assume the finish wouldn't hold up, but again, I am assuming.
0 Likes   December 14, 2012 at 8:38PM
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Natalie
Formica---180fx is what you want. Good Luck! http://www.formica.com/home/laminate/180-fx/
1 Like   December 14, 2012 at 8:42PM
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greengirl
Would rectified tiles work for you? Could get them in 24x24. Minimal grout.
0 Likes   December 14, 2012 at 11:44PM
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bdennison
Wow Natalie - Formica has come a long way!
1 Like   December 15, 2012 at 2:28AM
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designideas4me
But for as little as you save to do formica and still end up with seems I dont really see the point. I priced it out and it was only like 1000 in difference between that and quartz and there are so many negatives to the formica in my opinion.
0 Likes   December 15, 2012 at 4:33AM
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mpoulsom
If you do the concrete countertops yourself, it is cheap cheap cheap! We did them and we love them! Not as hard as you might think. Check out some videos!
0 Likes   December 15, 2012 at 6:37AM
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Natalie
"Least Expensive" is what I was answering. Concrete would be next, though the foundation has to be considered to withstand the weight... :)
0 Likes   December 15, 2012 at 8:01AM
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mpoulsom
I hear ya Natalie! :)
But we did do ours for about $375 total...That's buying all the materials and making the forms, and the polishing pads, etc. No joke. Probably would have been about the same or more for laminate. Easier, yes, but easier is not always better!
0 Likes   December 15, 2012 at 11:56AM
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mpoulsom
We did beef up the cabinets, placing 2x4's across the inside tops of the cabinets in spots, from front to back of wall. I guess it all depends on the look you want, and how hard you are willing to work. We are lucky and pretty handy, and that makes a huge difference as well.
0 Likes   December 15, 2012 at 12:11PM
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designideas4me
mpoulsom... where are the videos .. I got estimates of 3800
0 Likes   December 15, 2012 at 4:26PM
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designideas4me
I just love your creativity . When I spoke to the concrete contractor he said its very difficult. You have to make a mold in reverse and pour the concrete and it takes years of experience. I am dying to know your process. I want to try this.
0 Likes   December 15, 2012 at 4:30PM
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Eileen DePaolo
mpoulsom, Love your kitchen please tell me how you made the forms and did you seal the counters?
0 Likes   August 1, 2013 at 5:27AM
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jacksonbeth
Laminate is not as costly as other countertop materials -- but what is really nice, you can choose a laminate countertop that actually mimics the appearance of granite or natural stone. (http://www.web-don.com has more information)
0 Likes   September 3, 2013 at 7:48PM
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mpoulsom
Eileen...we bought one big piece of White Thermally-fused Melamine 4x8 sheet ($30) from home depot. That was our base and got small metal L-brackets to attach the sides onto it for the form. We just bought some cheap 2 or3inch x 1 inch(?) boards that were primed and smooth. Where the 3 inch boards and the melamine met , we taped and caulked that seam so no concrete would seep out. The white melamine board would end up being the top of the counter top in the end. It's very smooth. Mixed up the concrete in a wheelbarrow and dumped the concrete into it. Dump about an inch or so in and then add rebar and /or metal mesh of some sort to strengthen. We used rebar AND some old farm fencing. Then you dump more concrete on top of that. After that, we didn't have the right tools, but used a sander on the outside of the form boards to vibrate the air bubbles out of the concrete. You have to do that for awhile because bubbles will keep coming to the top and appearing. But they do make a vibrating tool specifically for that. Then you go over the top of the cement mixture with a board and screed the excess off the top. You may have to do some more vibrating here and there after that. Then you let it sit and cure and pray! ha!
Take the forms off after the allotted time and flip it over. You have a very smooth surface on top.
Then you can wet polish it with diamond blade pads. After it dries from that...the fun part of carrying it in, but you just need some muscle. the more people the better, but 2 of us did all the pieces except for the biggest one. that took 3 and 4 would have been better. It was a very big piece though.
Then you just buy concrete sealer with a small foam roller. We did about 7-8 layers. And food safe beeswax on top of that and buffed it out. You are supposed to reseal them once a year I think. I've let mine go for 2 years and it's still fine, but prob should do it again pretty soon.
Hope this helps you! Sorry that I was slow to respond, didn't see this til today!

p.s. we reused the same piece of melamine board for all the countertops and then just built the new side forms on top of it for different pieces.
1 Like   September 5, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Eileen DePaolo
Thanks! I will try it!
0 Likes   September 6, 2013 at 4:19AM
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sunnydrew
Hi, I have been planning to re-laminate my Formica counters with new Formica. If you go to their website and look for the "180fx colors", they are amazing, you can order larger free samples too. Some of the colors will not show the "brown lines" but Formica now has another kind of "ideal edge" that looks much better. These new colors are interesting and you will save a lot of money. Granite is very expensive to get anything unusual, I was able to buy the laminate, through my contractor, directly from a distributor, rather than the local big box store. I have the sample photos on houzz now if you can find the discussion from a few weeks ago. Good luck with your project.
0 Likes   September 10, 2013 at 11:17AM
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