If your home's kitchen is a bit outdated or even downright ugly, but you can't afford an entire renovation, consider getting new benchtops installed. Updated benchtops can enhance and change the appearance of the entire kitchen, while also providing a cleaner and more sanitary surface for food prep. When you are ready to start shopping for new benchtops, however, note a few common mistakes you'll want to avoid, so you know you choose a style and material that you'll be happy with for years to come.
Does your kitchen get a lot of natural light, or is it a bit dark and dim? This is important to consider, as a dark stone or wood surface can look downright muddy in that dark kitchen. A glass or polished stone in a light shade can be a better option.
On the other hand, if the kitchen gets lots of sunlight, consider how the appearance of certain stones might change when under a skylight or window. That bright light can even bring out certain metallic elements; you may like this change in the surface appearance, or you might not! Consider the lighting of your kitchen and not the store showroom when choosing a benchtop material.
Some stones used for benchtops can be very heavy, and you may need to check if the subfloor will need bracing and added strength. This can add to the cost of your installation and also delay the work until that bracing can be installed, so consider if a thinner cut or a lighter material may be a better choice.
You may fall in love with a certain material of benchtop when you see it in a showroom, but consider how it will fit your kitchen. If your cabinets are painted white and the kitchen has white appliances, a light stone may make the space seem dull and bland. A wood butcher-block benchtop may seem very rustic next to stainless steel appliances. Bring pictures of your kitchen when shopping, so you know your new benchtops will fit the overall decor of the space.
Consider that not all benchtop materials are good for a DIY job. For example, stone may need to be buffed and then sealed after it's installed, and concrete can be difficult to pour before it sets. Be sure you understand all the steps of installing any material before assuming you can do this on your own, and hire an installer when necessary.