Let’s Talk Countertops
Purchasing a new kitchen countertop can be really exciting but it can also be challenging and intimidating. A big part of the challenge is that there are so many decisions to be made from the material to the color to the sink and even how that sink will be mounted on the counter. It all gets overwhelming quickly. Another element that makes the whole ordeal feel intimidating is all the industry lingo that gets thrown around. In fact, all the different terms and phrases you encounter while trying to pick the perfect countertop may seem like a foreign language…and it in a way it is. This article will give you a crash course in that foreign language and before you know it, you’ll be fluent in “countertop”.
2 cm - Material (ex. granite) that is approximately 3/4 of an inch thick.
3 cm - Material (ex. granite) that is approximately 1 1/4 of an inch thick.
Backsplash - Area between the kitchen countertop and lower cabinet or between the bathroom vanity and mirror/medicine cabinet. The exact height of this area can vary.
Cutouts - Holes needed in a piece of material for a sink, cooktop, faucets, etc.
Edge profile - Different design options for the border or lip of a countertop; the options vary based on the material being used. Examples: Eased, bullnose, and ogee.
Fireplace surround - Area around the opening of a fireplace; may be tile, brick, granite, marble, or other material.
Granite - A rock composed of inter-locking crystals formed over millions of years from compressed molten rock beneath the Earth’s surface; comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
Honed finish - Matte look with little to no gloss or sheen.
Limestone - A sedimentary rock composed primarily of calcium carbonate or dolomite.
Marble - A type of limestone typically with mottling or streaks of color.
Natural stone - A natural product; term may be used to refer to a variety of materials including granite, marble, soapstone, or limestone.
Negative reveal - When a countertop extends slightly over the edge of an undercount sink.
Patina - Where the appearance of a stone (ex. granite) has changed in color or texture due to aging or exposure to elements either natural or man-made (ex. chemicals).
Polished finish - Glossy look.
Positive reveal - Where a countertop doesn’t fully line up with a sink edge so that part of the sink edge (lip) is visible.
Quartz - An engineered stone composed largely of quartz that is combined with resins, binders, polymers, and pigments.
Remnant - A piece of leftover material.
Sealing - Treatment carried out on natural stone materials like granite to retard staining and generally preserve the good appearance.
Seam - Where two pieces of material join together; may or may not be visible (depends on the material in question).
Shower surround - Walls around a tub.
Slab - A large sheet of material (typically a natural stone such as granite).
Soapstone - A soft rock composed largely of talc.
Solid surface - A man made material composed of acrylic, polyester resins, and pigments.
Template - A pattern used to fabricate something (in this case a countertop).
Tub deck - The surrounding edges of a soaking tub; a platform around a tub.
Travertine - A natural stone similar in composition to limestone; a porous material with a pitted surface; white or light colored rock.
Undermount sink - A sink that attaches below the countertop (versus where the lip of the sink sits on top of the countertop).
Zero reveal - When a countertop lines up perfectly with the edges of an undermount sink so that the two are flush.