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Countertops Remnants Blog FAQ
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Thinking Through the Details:

A guide to help you make smart decisions on the lesser known aspects of countertop installation.

1. Selecting a standard countertop overhang
2. Selecting an appropriate overhang for seating
3. Adding surfaces to adjacent “accent” areas
4. Selecting a “sink reveal”
Selecting a standard countertop overhang
standard_overhang

Overview:

  • Overhangs protect your cabinets from spills.

    Without overhangs, those spills would drip directly onto the cabinets and, over time, stain or damage the wood.

  • Overhangs hide imperfections.

    Shifting foundations, warped studs, the expansion and contraction of wooden cabinets over time, etc., can throw your cabinetry “out-of-square”. Overhangs help to conceal these (completely normal and common) quirks of your home.

  • Overhangs complement your cabinet hardware.

    It would look strange to have knobs and pulls extend far beyond your countertop. Your overhangs provide aesthetic balance.

Here's what you should know when deciding how far your overhangs extend beyond the face of your cabinets:

Considerations:

  • The application:

    Standard countertop overhangs are 1.5” from the face of the cabinet (not from the face of the doors and drawers). Since the standard depths of kitchen and bathroom cabinets are different, a 1.5” overhang on standard 24” deep kitchen cabinets brings your overall countertop depth to 25.5”. An overhang of 1.5” on 21” deep bathroom cabinets yields a 22.5” deep countertop.

  • The “look”:

    Only customers with newly installed, aesthetically modern kitchens should consider overhangs less than the industry standards. Customers in this group would be wise to relay their intentions to the cabinet installer to make sure a reduced countertop overhang can in fact be pulled off. For this application, you should also be specifying low profile or inset cabinet hardware.

  • The cost:

    The larger the overhang you have, the more total countertop area you'll have, which impacts your total cost. This impact however, is fairly small. As an example, a customer with a large kitchen that has 36 linear feet of base cabinetry (or, ≈76.5 total square feet of countertop area) only reduces their total square footage by about 1.5 square feet if reducing overhangs from 1.5” to 1”. That's only cost savings in the neighborhood of $60 - $100 so, it's not a prudent way to save money.

Recommendation:

Unless you have high conviction, CountertopSmart recommends sticking to the industry standard of 1.5” overhangs for non-seating areas.

Selecting an appropriate overhang for seating
seating_overhang

Overview:

  • Seating overhangs create fantastic gathering spots.
  • They work well on islands, pensinsulas, and raised bars. Legroom is often a top consideration, but space limitations and cost should take precedent.

  • Seating overhangs can only extend so far before extra supports are required.
  • Your selected countertop material and your existing base cabinets determine how far your overhang can extend before additional support is necessary.

  • CountertopSmart only offers hidden steel plate supports.
  • Steel plate supports are not visible unless you look underneath the countertop. It's a sleek and non-obtrusive way to support overhangs. Supports such as corbels (a design consideration), table legs (for really big overhangs), plywood decking (also for really big overhangs) are not offered and must be arranged for independently by the customer.

So, how far should your countertops overhang the cabinets in order to create a comfortable seating area? First, some points to consider...

Considerations:

  • Your countertop material:

    Certain countertop materials can extend further than others before needing steel plate supports. Quartz countertops have a higher tensile strength than natural stone countertops (like granite, marble, and quartzite). As such, quartz overhangs can extend further before requiring added support. Please reference the chart below to see the maximum distance that your material can overhang before needing supports.

  • Your cost:

    This is a big one. The cost for steel plate supports along with the installation of those supports can add several hundred dollars to your cost. Is it worth the added cost to extend your seating overhang a few more inches? We'll get to that shortly.

  • Your available area:

    When you think about seating overhangs keep in mind the confines of your space. An overhang that is too large for a room can create congestion, and chances are, you’ll be able to pull off a nice seating area with less.

  • Your application:

    The higher from the ground the countertop, the less legroom is required, and the less overhang you’ll need. Raised bars require less legroom than a counter-height seating area. A counter-height seating area requires less legroom than a table-height seating area.

Guidance for Choosing your Overhang:

  1. Determine the limits of your selected material:

    First, let's determine the maximum unsupported overhang that your countertop material is rated for:

    Overhang+guide+chart
  2. Determine if your existing cabinets offer enough support:

    Next, let's determine if your existing cabinets (or other base of support) can handle the max unsupported overhang you determined above. The rule is:

    No more than 1/3rd (or 33.33%) of a countertop can be unsupported.

    To determine the max overhang that your cabinets can support, multiply the depth of the cabinet by 1.5.

    To illustrate, let's look at the following scenario...

    You are using 3cm thick quartz countertops and want your seating overhang to extend its maximum unsupported distance of 15”. Your base cabinets are 24” deep. Can you get the full 15” of possible overhang that the material allows for?

    24” base cabinets x 1.5 = 36” total allowable countertop depth

    36” total depth - 24” deep cabinets = 12” maximum countertop overhang

    In this scenario, you cannot get your desired 15” of overhang unless you add steel plate supports. Is three inches of additional legroom going to be worth the cost of supports??

  3. Determine an overhang that works for you:

  4. Outside of supporting the overhang, there are no rules for how far the overhang should extend, but there are best practices:

    • The absolute minimum seating overhang you should consider is 10”. If your space is tight, go for it.
    • Our suggested raised bar seating overhang is 12”
    • Our suggested counter-height seating overhang is 15”
    Overhang+guide+image

    Guidance on Steel Plate Supports:

    First a quick review of important points...

    • CountertopSmart's Providers only offer steel plate supports for seating overhangs. You will need to make other arrangements to have decorative corbels, or table legs in place prior to your countertop installation.
    • Raised bars almost always require steel plate supports.
    • Seating overhangs for natural stone countertops typically will require adding steel plate supports.

    The quantity of supports:

    Per the Natural Stone Institute, the maximum span between supports is 24” for 2cm thick countertop material, and 36” for 3cm countertop material. So, we'll need to place supports every 2ft for 2cm material, and every 3ft for 3cm material.

    The installation of supports:

    Steel plate supports are notched into either the cabinetry or a supporting pony wall so that the countertop can sit flush with the top of the cabinets or pony wall.

    Plate+supports

    The cost of supports:

    The cost of steel plate supports varies by Provider. Typically, you could expect the supports to cost between $75 - $125 per support. This includes the support itself and the installation of the support.

Recommendation:

For raised bar seating overhangs:

You're almost certainly going to need supports. A such, we recommend a 12” seating overhang if your space allows for it. If you're space is going to be constrained, you can go down to 10” overhangs. Most people don't have their chests up against a surface when they're eating so you'll be fine. If you're having a party, your seated guests will be angled towards the action and legroom won't factor in much.

For counter-height seating overhangs:

If your material and existing cabinets (or other existing base of support) allow for a 15” unsupported overhang, then go for it (so long as it makes sense in your space).

If your material allows for a 15” unsupported overhang but your existing base of support does not, you'll want to weigh the cost-benefit of a slightly reduced overhang. If a 12” overhang saves you from spending $300+ on additional supports, go with 12”. Hint: No one is going to notice!

If you have a natural stone countertop:

If you're using granite, marble, quartzite, or soapstone for your countertops, you're going to likely need additional supports. For 3cm material you'll be able to go 10” on an overhang without added supports (so long as your existing base support allows for it— see the 33% rule above). You can get away with 10” but it may feel a little crammed for counter-height seating, so we recommend paying extra for a larger overhang. 10” on a raised bar overhang is fine (but again, a raised bar is going to require additional supports no matter what).

Adding surfaces to adjacent “accent” areas
accent_surfaces

Overview:

  • Complete your design and add surfaces to small adjacent areas

    An easy way to tie your room together is to add the same countertop material to small accent areas elsewhere in the room.

  • For kitchens, window ledges and shelves are popular

    Do you have a window above your sink that could you use a new ledge? Would you like to hang floating shelves at some point in the future? These little touches go a long way and our Providers can create them for you.

  • For bathrooms, shower thresholds and niches are a natural add-on

    Capping a half wall, a shower threshold, or a shower bench with the same stone used on your countertop is design trend that's here to stay.

As with all construction projects, it's important to think through these items in advance and clearly relay your desired scope of work at the time of your onsite measurement. Failure to do so can result in a second measurement which will add unnecessary costs.

Considerations:

  • The true scope of work:

    Have you ever heard of “scope creep”? It's when a seemingly simple task snowballs into more than you bargained for. If you're new to construction, it's even more difficult to estimate the time and money necessary to deliver a desired outcome. Fortunately, countertops are an easy project (made easier with CountertopSmart)! When it comes to putting stone on small accent areas, a different set of variables must be factored in. Further down this page we have some guidance on how to think about a few of the more popular “accent” applications.

  • Communicating your desires at the time of onsite measurement:

    One of the easiest ways to avoid “scope creep” and to prevent delays in your countertop project is to communicate your desires at the time of the onsite measurement. A little forethought now can save you some headache later.

  • Who is best suited to install the accent area:

    Countertopmart's Providers can create stone surfaces for almost any area your heart desires. They'll also install stone just about anywhere, but that doesn't mean it's always in your best interest for them to do so. As an example, let's imagine you want a small piece of stone to cap off your shower curb. If the area is prepared and ready for the stone, it's an easy install. But if you're in the process of re-tiling the shower, installing the stone may just create problems for your tile installer. In this situation, it may be best to have CountertopSmart's Provider fabricate the necessary piece but have your tile person install it.

  • CountertopSmart Providers won't remove existing accent areas:

    In order to get new accent areas created out of your countertop material, the customer needs to make arrangements to have the area prepared and ready for installation. Too many variables/unknowns exist for our Providers to offer this service.

Guidance:

Accent+chart+guide

Recommendation:

Updating accent areas can have a big impact on your design for relatively low cost. If you're going to want accents, it is critical that you:

  • Communicate your desire at the time of the onsite measurement

  • Arrange to have the areas prepared and ready for installation (this includes removing whatever currently exists)

Selecting a “sink reveal”

Overview:

  • This only applies to customers with Undermount Sinks

    If you're planning on using a drop-in sink or a vessel sink, you can skip this section. Note: If you have a Farmhouse/Apron-front sink, this applies if your sink undermounts to the countertop.

  • A “sink reveal” refers to the exposed lip of the sink that is visible below the countertop

    The opening that is cut into your countertop to allow for a sink can be created so that the countertop completely covers the top lip of your sink, or it can be created to expose the top lip of your sink. It may seem like a silly question to some, but to others it's an important design detail.

  • There is no difference in cost, this is only about preference

    Budget doesn't come into play when considering your sink reveal.

Before we go further, take a look at the diagram below to visualize the types of reveal...

Sink+reveal

Considerations:

  • The application:

    For sinks with a “zero reveal”, the countertop extends fully over the top lip of the sink leaving no part of it visible. One benefit of a zero reveal is that it makes cleaning easy. You can sweep crumbs and liquids from the surface of the countertop directly into the sink. Obviously, you can still do that with a “positive reveal” but it is more likely for crumbs and liquids to collect on the exposed lip of the sink.

  • The “look”:

    Many people enjoy the added 'interest' created by a positive reveal. It makes the sink “pop” and adds contrast to the countertop.

Recommendation:

Put us in the function over form camp. A positive reveal may only take 30 seconds more to clean, but that’s enough for us to choose a zero reveal. However, people do feel strongly about the positive reveal, so if that’s you, more power to ya! Ultimately, we just recommend not overthinking this one :)