Countertops 

A Glossary to countertop terminology


Standard Countertop Height - For most consumers, 36” is the right height to cook and prep food. It is the standard height for many appliances like dishwashers, ranges and undercabinet fridges. However The height of countertops can be altered by either changing the height of cabinets or the thickness of the countertop material.

Bar Height - Typically 42” which is 6” higher than standard counter ht.

Dining Height - 30” is regarded as the standard height of most tables

Thickness
- Countertops come in number of different thickness, however there are standards which most manufacturers adhere to

  • 3/4” - Is the Standard thickness in which most solid surface material is produced. Its the minimal thickness in which the stone will not break. Keep in mind that overhangs must be supported.

  • 1-1/4” - Some stones will come in this thickness because they are softer or weaker such as Soapstone. Quartz is also offered in this thickness for aesthetic reasons as well as the ability to have an unsupported overhang of 14”

  • 1 1/2” - This is typically the standard thickness of finished countertops. Stone is usually double up or mitred on the edges. Laminate tops have a rolled font edge that equals 1-1/2”

  • Mitre Edge - For thicker countertops, solid surface material is mitred to create the desired thickness.

  • 1/2” - With the introduction of Porcelain, countertops have been able to get thinner. Such application opens up new ideas and countertops for millwork design

Edge Type - For most stone, quartz and solid surface, different types of edges can be applied. There are more edge types, but are dependent on fabricator capabilities.

  • Square Eased - Is essentially a square edge with a slight bevel on the edges to prevent chipping

  • D-Nose - Rounded edges with a flat mid section

  • Bullnose - a half rounded edge

  • Top Bevel - The top edge is chamfer on a 45 deg.

  • Ogee - The edge starts with a concave edge and ends into a convex edge

  • Flush Ogee - The edge of the Ogee is aligned with the door

  • Forward Ogee - The edge of the Ogee overhangs the door

Waterfall - This refers to countertop material being used in a vertical application on the end of a cabinetry run or the ends of an island.

Backsplash - There are many choices for backsplash including the use of counter material to accomplish this.

  • Upstand - Usually between 3” to 8”, this allows for a durable, easy to clean vertical surface

  • Full Ht - The stone is carried up the full height of the wall or to the upper cabinets.

  • Clean Back - Usually refers to no backsplash in stone

Templating - Is the term used to describe the process of measuring the kitchen cabinetry permiter in preparation of new countertops.

Countertop Material Types

Natural Stone (Granite, Quartzite, Soapstone, Marble and Limestone, etc)

  • Can be beautiful and unique

  • Offer different finishes (polished, honed, flamed, acid etched)

  • Requires protective sealant to guard against stain and routine wear and tear

Quartz - Natural mineral, mined out of ground. It is then pigmented and made into slabs using heat and pressure

  • Non-porous material requires no sealant and just needs water and soap to clean.

  • Many different colours and patterns from solid to real like stone veining

  • Most only come in sem-polish finish, with some brands offering matte finishes

  • Brands that we recommend include

  • Cambria, CaesarStone, SileStone, and Vicostone

Porcelain - The new “kid” on the block. Think porcelain tile but in jumbo format

  • Super strong, non-porous, heat resistant, stain resistant

  • Lots of different colour variations and comes in polished and matte finishes

  • Has to be mitred for finished edges

Solid Surface - Think Corian. Its a plastic based acrylic polymer.

  • Non-porous surface

  • Soft to touch, matte finish only

  • Can be scratched and surface stain, however can be sanded to repair damage

  • Can be molded to create unique designs

  • Seams can be blended together

Concrete - Can be fun and unique to design, however there are some drawbacks

  • Requires lots of maintenance to keep looking new

  • Very porous, requires beeswax for constant protection

  • Has to be poured in thick slabs to prevent cracking and therefore makes it heavy

Stainless Steel - A wonderful surface that can’t be wrecked, if you don’t mind minor scratches.

  • Preferred by restaurant kitchens, for durability and cleanability

  • Can be welded and bent into different shapes and sizes

  • Stainless sinks and backsplashes can be formed into single units

Wood Countertops - Is a great choice for natural looking, warmth and old world charm

  • Can be made into butcher block

  • Can be quite expensive to produce

  • Does require maintenance, especially oiling to prevent wood from drying out and cracking

Laminate - Is the standard for many homeowners. Can be long-lasting and durable

  • Is still very popular, especially in Europe

  • Non-porous, easy to clean

  • Inexpensive