It’s all on the surface for counter remodels

By: Gloria Young Home & Garden
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Looking for a way to add oomph to the kitchen, shower or bath? Think countertops and surrounds. Remodelers can choose from numerous materials ranging from cultured marble and Corian to granite, quartz and recycled glass and concrete. At RCI in Auburn, owners Ron and Diana Vannatta say homeowners’ choices are spanning the spectrum of surfaces. “There’s still a big call for granite and marble,” Diana Vannatta said recently. And quartz, a more maintenance friendly alternative to granite, is very popular, too. “Granite and marble can be irregular,” Vannatta said. “Quartz gives a uniform look.” Quartz — ground stone that is then reconstituted — offers or even exceeds granite’s wow factor. “It doesn’t have to be sealed, it doesn’t stain and has at least a 10-year warranty,” Vannatta said. Another favorite is Corian, a longtime kitchen staple that has withstood the test of time for good reason. It is available in a wide variety of color and design choices. In addition, is is very durable, low maintenance and stain and bacteria resistant. It’s also repairable it if gets damaged. “It is used in a lot of restaurants and health care facilities,” Vannatta said. Another plus is that the countertop can be molded into a Corian sink as one piece. Corian and quartz are also available in recycled options. Marble provides a bright, updated finish and it can create a uniform look with marble sinks. If there’s a downside, it is that marble can’t withstand abrasive cleaners. At the top end is Vetrazzo, an environmentally conscious choice made from recycled car windshields, bottles and other glass. “We have people who want to find out about it, especially people wanting to use recycled materials.,” Vannatta said. “But they find it is so expensive, it is cost prohibitive.” The price per square foot installed can run $160 per square foot or even higher, she said. Once customers decide on the materials and place an order, the next step is taking the measurements. At RCI, the installation can be done within 10 days to two weeks, allowing for ordering and shipment of the selected products, she said. When budgeting for the project, keep mind that the cost encompasses more than basic materials and labor. Color and edging choices can be built around adherence to a tight budget or creating a more expensive look. Demolition and site preparation costs also vary widely, depending on the amount of work required. Before making a final decision, it’s a good idea to take color samples home to see how they look with the other colors in the room. At RCI, there are 12-inch by 12-inch samples that customers can borrow as they plan their remodel. For Meadow Vista residents Del and Cheryl Casler, all the decision-making has paid off with the installation of cultured marble, replacing their old bathroom vanity, shower and tub surround. “They molded it in an elongated style that matches the tub to a degree,” Cheryl Casler said. “They did the surround of the tub into the two window sills and also did the bench seat in the shower and the soap dish. It came out really, nice and we’re really happy with it.” Gloria Young can be reached at