Guide to New Kitchen Countertops in Portland

kitchen countertops portland real estate

Laminate, wood, stone, marble, granite, epoxy, glass, and new hybrid materials  — there seems to be no end to the kitchen countertops now on the market. If you’re remodeling your Portland kitchen, the implications of your countertop decision can be big, not just for your lifestyle but also for your home value. Old and worn countertops are a top reason kitchens look dated or uninviting, right up there with cabinets. Your new countertops, however, should not just improve the look of your kitchen but also its function.

Whether you are looking for a countertop you’ll enjoy for years to come, or one that buyers will swoon over, as your Portland real estate agent, we’re here to help you decide. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to replacing, refinishing and rethinking the most important part of your kitchen.

Five things to do before you choose a new countertop

  1. Know what it is you want in a countertop. In a perfect world, how do you want your countertop to look and perform? Some value durability — the ability to let a gang of children and messy cooks run rampant in the kitchen with no lasting harm to the counter. Others prize the look above all else, and how well the counter surface harmonizes with the rest of the house. The good news is, there are options available for just about every need and budget.
  2. Learn from others’ experiences. Don’t just look at pictures online, countertops are best experienced. Ask friends and neighbors what kind of countertops they have and ask if you can take a look. Find out what cleaning products they use and how much work it is to maintain the surface. Think about how the counter looks, feels, even sounds. Tempered glass may seem like a great option until you hear the difference between dishes on glass and on a softer surface like wood.
  3. Price out a lot of different options, and stores. Prices between materials like cultured stone, wood and tile can vary greatly among brands and stores. You may get a great deal on factory seconds or reclaimed countertops. Get creative and even consider mixing materials. This may help you get the best of all worlds — for example, a large wood chopping block and a granite bar for entertaining.
  4. Know your budget. The perfect countertop material is not perfect if it’s going to break the bank. Leave room in the budget for installation if you’re not doing it yourself, plus trim, grout or caulking that may need to be redone post-install.
  5. Consider refinishing before replacing. The most cost-effective, and environmentally friendly, option, may be to keep your existing countertop and give it a total makeover. Laminate is a prime example. Read on to learn about the surprising options for refinishing laminate.

Love your Laminate

Laminate has gotten a bad rap, and as a real estate agent, I’ve seen plenty of old laminate that makes an otherwise great kitchen look drab.
So why would I recommend keeping it? Laminate has some good things going for it. It’s very easy to clean and even repair. It’s also extremely affordable and some homeowners can pull of DIY installation flawlessly.
Here are some options for giving your laminate countertops a facelift.

  • Most obvious – replace the laminate. The new laminate products on the market are quite impressive. Some imitate wood, metal, tile and stone quite well, others go modern with clean and bright color. No longer do laminate countertops have to have that sharp edge, and dark seams are a thing of the past. The best part is, there’s no removal needed — just place new laminate sheets over the old.
  • Paint over the laminate. There are kits and tutorials online that will allow you to create new effects by simply painting your laminate countertops. The project can be done in a weekend and any damage to the countertop can be repaired in the process. Check out before and after pictures online for proof of how dramatic this inexpensive fix can be!
  • Epoxy over laminate. Epoxy is a plastic resin that is painted over laminate surfaces to create a whole new surface. The epoxy can be made translucent or solid in variety of colors and stone-mimicking effects. It has a number of advantages over laminate, including resistance to heat and scratches (although you still shouldn’t cut directly on the surface). Cost-wise, it’s slightly more expensive than new laminate.
  • Concrete over laminate. Yes, concrete! Concrete countertops are more and more popular because of their durability and clean, solid look. The concrete won’t stain or age like marble or granite, and it’s a breeze to clean. Like epoxy, the concrete can be “painted” on over the existing laminate. The result is a concrete countertop that looks exactly like the expensive poured concrete slabs (or stone, depending on the type of finish you choose).

Determining Home Value with New Countertops

If you’re hoping to sell your home within a few years, it is worthwhile to figure out whether you’ll see any return on investment from your brand new countertops. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Choose carefully on DIY projects. Some can be done with professional quality, but most countertop installations should be done by an experienced contractor if resale value is at all a concern. Deciding whether to DIY depends not only on the type of countertops you’re installing, but also on the kitchen. If there are a lot of tricky corners, if the stove is difficult to remove and put back into place, or if the size of your kitchen prevents an easy weekend of work, you’ll be better off calling in the pros.
  • Ask your real estate agent. Once you have a budget figured out, we can help you determine how much you’ll be able to recoup when you put your home on the market.
  • Make sure the countertops match the home. If you have a unique luxury property, might be a good idea to look into different types of stone. If you have a really modern look, concrete tops might be a great fit. If your home fits in the first time buyer price range, a nice looking laminate might be your best choice for return on investment.

Have more Portland kitchen countertop questions? We’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. Contact your Portland real estate agent today!

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September 11, 2017
AUTHOR

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. and a top 1% agent in the Portland Metro. Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales in the Portland Metro area. Call him direct: 503-714-1111. Pay less (4.5% commission max.) and get more with his top 1% listing team or buy your next home with his excellent top 1% buyer’s team.  For our Clark County, Washington buying and selling services go here.