Hello, readers! Welcome back to the Stonehouse Countertops blog! We’re pleased you’ve chosen Stonehouse Countertops for everything you need to know about custom countertop materials. We provide comprehensive deep dives into various aspects of the design and installation process, as well as helpful tips for choosing the best material for your home. Our goal is to equip you with the information you need to commission the perfect countertops! 

We recently finished our three-part series on the design implications of: granite, quartz, marble, quartzite, soapstone, and limestone. Each of these stones, natural and man-made alike, are available in an array of colors, patterns, and textures. To simplify the design process and help you choose the right stone for your home, we took the time to break down various design options. We also quoted a few design experts for their opinions on what each stone adds to a space. If you’ve yet to choose your new countertop material or are wondering how to make your current countertops pop, those three articles are sure to help! 

Today, we want to impress upon you one of the benefits of choosing custom countertops: variety. Many people aren’t aware of just how customizable custom countertops can be. From edges to finishes, there are numerous options for homeowners to make their countertops stand out. We’ll discuss the sheer breadth of styles available to those commissioning custom countertops. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have a firm understanding of what’s possible and a host of ideas for your new countertops! 

Less Customizable Options

Prefabricated countertops are countertops which have, as the name suggests, been fabricated prior to ordering. Often referred to as prefab, these countertops are the opposite of custom. They are cut to standard dimensions, which means the onus is on buyers to find a countertop which will fit into the dimensions of their space. This can, in turn, limit the number of options available to buyers. Imagine this: A countertop seller makes one-hundred white marble bathroom slabs with twin sink cut-outs. The seller also makes one-hundred black marble bathroom slabs with twin sink cut-outs. To save time and energy, all two-hundred prefabricated slabs have the same edge-profile and finish. While these slabs may be cheaper than their custom counterparts, you can only choose between the two options available. Already constructed, there’s little room for alterations, which means if your space is even an inch too big or two small, you’re out of luck. As well, assuming the prefabricated countertops do fit in your space, you’ll be sharing your style of countertop with at least one-hundred and ninety-nine other people! Prefabricated countertops limit homeowners’ ability to be unique and showcase their individual style through their countertops.

Sizing & Thickness

Prefabricated countertops come in what’s called standard sizing. Standard sizing is meant to line up with the dimensions of prefabricated cabinetry. If you have custom cabinetry, or an area of your kitchen or bathroom which does not align with standard sizing, you may run into issues with prefab countertops. The most common standard sizings for prefabricated countertops are: 48 x 72 in., 84 x 76 in., 96 x 26 in., 100 x 26 in., 108 x 26 in., and 112 x 26 in. There are straight options and L-shaped, of course, however not all fabricators will carry these sizes. You might find a fabricator you like, who fabricates the exact type of stone you’re looking for, but their selection of dimensions simply do not fit your space. 

As well, if you aren’t a fan of visible seams, prefab countertops probably aren’t the way to go. Because they are constructed from multiple slabs, there will be joints where the two slabs meet to make up your countertops. For those hoping to achieve a seamless look—as though a single piece of stone was hewn from the earth and deposited onto your kitchen cabinets—prefabricated countertops will not be able to assist you. 

Likewise, there are standard thicknesses with prefabricated countertops as well. Prefabricated countertops are often cut thinly, in order to increase profitability and bring value to the seller. Because of this, you’ll be hard pressed to find a prefabricated set over two centimeters. The most common standard sizings are: 1 cm, 1.2 cm, and 2 cm. Fabricators offer one centimeter countertops with a two centimeter edge, or the like, which gives the appearance of a thicker countertop overall. However, this visual illusion will not hold up. Once you take a step closer, you’ll likely be able to see the seam along the edge. For those hoping for a bolder look in their space, prefabricated countertops can leave something to be desired. 

Certain stones, such as granite, do not perform well at thinner thicknesses. As well, many prefab fabricators do not offer a sufficient warranty (or any warranty) in the event of a crack or split. If you order prefabricated countertops from overseas and are displeased with their thickness or quality, you may have trouble tracking down a remedy to your situation. 

Custom countertops are available in any size and any thickness you desire—that’s what makes them custom! Weird corners or awkwardly configured spaces aren’t an issue when you commission custom countertops, since the fabricator will be working with exact measurements taken directly from your space. This specificity ensures a perfect fit, every time. If you’re interested in a dramatic waterfall edge drop or having hefty three-and-a-half centimeter thick countertops, you’ll have the choice with custom countertops. 

Color

The lack of color options with prefabricated countertops is perhaps the most disappointing thing about them. Color is the life and vitality of any space. While this color doesn’t have to come from your countertops, shouldn’t you have the option? Just like sizing, prefabricated countertops come in the most common colors. These are the colors everyone chooses and, thus, are most likely to sell. Basics such as whites, blacks, greys, and beiges dominate the prefab scene. What if you want something different? 

What about the lustrous aquamarine of Blue Bahia granite? Or the vivid emerald undertones of a Kelly Green soapstone? If you read our series on the design implications of various stone countertop materials, you’ll know how important a role color plays in the grand scheme of things. A warm white can soften a space, while a rich black brings a touch of seriousness. You can express joyfulness through a chaotically colorful countertop, like Patagonia quartzite, or express a reserved nature through a muted countertop, like Macael marble. Options give you an opportunity to express your personality, as well as shape the interactions which will take place in this space. 

With custom countertops, the color options are nearly endless. Granite alone is available in over three-thousand colors! With a custom fabricator, it’s as simple as flipping through a catalog, finding the colors you’re interested in, ordering samples and moving forward from there. This versatility is what draws most people toward custom countertops. 

Edge Profile

Most prefabricated countertop companies do not offer buyers the option to choose their edge profile. The reason for this is because if everyone were able to choose, each countertop edge would need to be refiled. More time, more energy, more money. Therefore, the decision isn’t cost-effective. However, stone countertops are often a decades-long investment. You’ll use your countertops every single day. They contribute to the resale value of your home. As well, certain countertop edges aren’t appropriate for homes with small children, the elderly, or the disabled. Therefore, shouldn’t you be able to choose? 

The range of available edge profiles is more versatile than most people think. The most common two-centimeter options are: ¼ Bevel, Milter, Demi Bullnose, Ogee Bullnose, Eased, Ogee Flat, Pencil, and Full Bullnose. The most common three-centimeter options are the same, but thicker. 

If you do indeed have small children running around, elderly parents, or a disabled individual living in your home, rounded edges (such as the bullnose options) are safer. With custom countertops, you have the option to choose what’s best for your family. 

The purpose of countertops, both prefabricated and custom, is the same. They act as a home to our everyday appliances. They hold the hot pan when we pull cookies out of the oven. They are what we lean on when having impromptu conversations in the kitchen. They catch our wine spills and our crumbs. They’re where we set down our coffee in the morning and do our work late into the night. The choice of which countertop to have in your home isn’t a simple one, nor should it be. With custom countertops, you can have the countertops you’ve been imagining!

As always, we’re happy to help! Equipped with information, you’re now able to make the choice best suited to you and your needs. At Stonehouse Countertops, we are willing and able to work with you to your specifications. We offer a wide range of different materials and always have someone on hand to answer your questions! Don’t hesitate to reach out for consultation or for help forming a plan. We want to ensure your vision becomes a reality! Check back into our blog for our next article about marble! Until next time—thanks for reading!