Prefabricated versus Custom Countertop
When you’re designing or renovating your kitchen, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is choosing your countertops.
Not only are countertops an attractive focal point that can give your kitchen a luxurious look, but these are the surfaces that will be used the most in food preparation. So it is important that your countertops are not only attractive, but also strong and durable and resistant to scratching, staining or heat and moisture damage which are all conditions your countertop may be exposed to in a kitchen environment.
There is a wide variety of materials to choose from including granite, marble and quartz which each have their unique benefits. Whatever material you choose though, you will have another important choice to make and this is whether to go with prefabricated countertops or to have them custom made.
Prefabricated simply means that the materials have been cut to specific sizes and shapes beforehand and are readily available for purchase. If you decide to purchase a prefabricated countertop, you need only measure the shape and size of your counter area and shop for a countertop that will fit your space. Many people choose prefabricated countertops simply for the convenience. Prefabricated countertops are usually more affordable and are less of a hassle to install. However prefabricated options may be limited. If your counter area is not a typical standard shape, it may be difficult to find a prefabricated countertop. You will also be limited in color and pattern as you will have to choose from what is available and what will fit your specific space. If you cannot find a prefabricated option, you may have to have one custom made.
Custom countertops allow you more control over the product. You will be able to choose the design, color, pattern, shape, thickness and other elements that appeal to you. The distributor will then create a countertop that is specific to your tastes. Naturally, a custom made countertop carries a higher price tag as the distributor has to build to specific measurements and cut to fit your exact space. On the upside, once it is created, you will be getting a unique, one-of-a-kind countertop that was made just for you.
Because custom countertops are more expensive, there is a misconception that they are of a better quality than prefabricated countertops. Customers tend to confuse price with quality and think that higher prices must mean a “better” product. This is far from the truth. In reality, prefabricated countertops and custom countertops are often made from the same materials. The only difference is one is readily available and one has to be made by order.
This is not to say that there aren’t cheap, imitation materials on the market. Some prefabricated countertops are manufactured and bulk produced in China and India with little regard for quality. While they may look good at first glance, these may be made from flimsy, inferior materials and should be avoided as they will not last long or be able to withstand the moisture, heat and other conditions in a kitchen. One sure way to tell if you are being sold an inferior product is to think critically about the price. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. What may seem like a steal of a deal now may end up costing you thousands in the near future to remove and replace.
However, quality manufacturers will use the exact same materials for their prefabricated options as they do for custom orders. So you need to be careful and do your research before purchasing. It needs to be stressed that prefabricated does not mean “lesser quality”.
Prefabricated countertops can be found in nearly every material you can think of including some of the more popular and durable materials like marble, granite and quartz.
Marble countertops are widely considered to be some of the most beautiful and luxurious on the market, but they can be quite expensive, even with a prefabricated option.
Granite is another popular natural stone material for countertops. It is just as beautiful as marble, though less expensive and is incredibly durable and resistant to scratching, staining and other damage. Many distributors offer high-quality prefabricated granite countertops for sale.
You may also find prefabricated countertops made from quartz, which is another high-quality, durable material. Quartz is actually harder than granite and is virtually indestructible. Because quartz isn’t as porous as granite, it is less absorbent and easy to keep your countertops relatively bacteria-free. Quartz can however be damaged by excessive heat to it is not advisable to place cooking pots and other hot items on your quartz countertop.
There are pros and cons to using either prefabricated or custom made countertops as mentioned before. Prefabricated countertops are less expensive, more easily installed and convenient while custom made countertops allow for more creative control although they are pricier and the installation process is a bit trickier.
One major benefit of having a custom made countertop however is that it will be cut from one single slab, ensuring that the entire surface looks seamless and there will be no irregularities in the color or texture. Sometimes, prefabricated countertops are made from multiple pieces and, as such, there may be seams or other noticeable differences.
But in terms of durability and quality of material, there is no reason to be afraid of using a prefabricated countertop. Once you select a trusted, reputable manufacturer and you carefully choose the material you prefer, prefabricated might actually be the better option for you.
You must however note that whether you choose a prefabricated countertop or opt to have one custom made just for you, both options require the same level of care and maintenance to ensure that they retain their beauty. Your choice comes down to whether you have the budget for a custom countertop and prefer to have something unique, or whether there is a prefabricated option that you like that can fit in your space.