On Friday our new countertops were installed and I thought I would show you some of the steps involved in preparation and share my thoughts on the brand. We did not install the countertops but we did remove the old ones, which saved us $500. One thing we've learned is, even if you're paying for installation or removal a lot of contractors won't do everything. We paid for our new gas stove to be installed but the delivery men brought it in and hooked it up to the gas line and that was it. My husband, Jerry had to install a new electrical outlet for it because they don't do that part. They also didn't install any of the support brackets around the stove; we had to do all that and it was hard because we didn't have some special tools necessary. Likewise, we wanted the countertop installers to remove the bar top counter and columns but they informed us they don't remove any columns. It was up to us to find out if the columns were load-bearing and remove them. Scroll back a couple weeks to see that blog post.
Anyway, we decided we weren't paying them $500 for removal if we had to do the hardest part ourselves! We also had to remove the sink and disposal because we got a new sink. Jerry pried the sink and counters up with a crow bar so we could lift them out. It's a good thing I've been working out with my new trainer! The old sink is porcelain coated cast iron and it weighs a ton. I am going to donate it to Habitat for Humanity because it seems a shame to throw away such a high quality sink and there's nothing wrong with it except it's a drop-in rather than the under-mounted sink I wanted.
When we pulled off the old backsplash, which was just a tiny strip, we found it had not done its job, particularly behind the sink. The drywall was all moldy. It's no wonder my allergies have been so bad since we moved here; every time we renovate a room we find more mold! So, we had to replace the drywall behind the sink. At first we worried the mold went down behind the cabinet but upon inspection it did not. We learned to install drywall several years ago after several leaks from our defective pipes. We think we have replaced all the bad pipes now so we were hoping our drywall days were ended, but alas. At any rate we have all the stuff. Jerry learned to do drywall from watching YouTube videos and he's really good at it; the drywall he installed looks better that any originally in the house! We put up the new drywall and mudded the seams the day before the countertops were installed. After installation we mudded the walls and ceiling to fill in holes left by removing the old columns and counters. I say "we" but my job mainly involves holding things and finding tools and sanding stuff.
I absolutely love the new counters! We got Cambria quartz counters in the "Montgomery" shade. It's amazing how much brighter the kitchen looks now that those old dingy brown counters are gone. Once all the construction dust abates I'm sure I will breathe easier without all the dust and mold behind them. I wasn't even thinking of quartz because it used to be so expensive. I planned to try to find granite that looked as much like marble as possible. But certain shades of the Cambria quartz are actually less than some of the granite we liked! I will say, if you are considering it, be aware the colors are much darker in person that they appear on the website. At least, the Montgomery is. It looks white in the model kitchen on the website but in our kitchen the overall look is gray (which is fine with me because I was looking at gray marble and granite anyway). I almost picked the Praa Sands shade because I thought the Montgomery would be too light but I'm really glad I didn't since the Montgomery is so much darker than I anticipated. We looked at a little 12 inch square sample at the dealer and it looked lighter there too. Some of the Cambria colors have big veins going across the counter that I think look really fake. You couldn't see that at all in the little samples, so I originally planned to get a completely different color but when I saw it on the website I hated it! So, definitely check the website and look at in-person samples before you order, and keep in mind the colors will be darker than the website photos.
Our old counters were Corian and I can tell you I will NEVER buy Corian counters after having them. They're supposed to be really durable but the first thing I saw when we moved in was the bar top was cracked all along two sides. I know it wasn't like that when we viewed the house. I didn't come to the final walk-through with the inspector because I was back in Raleigh with the kids while Jerry was living and working here. I really wanted to but we couldn't work out childcare and logistics. Well those dang men completely missed the cracked counters! I know what happened; the movers slammed some furniture against the bar top when they were taking the previous owners' things away and they cracked it. The Corian is a very thin shell over plywood and besides cracking ours stained and scratched fairly easily. I also wonder how safe it is because Jerry had to cut through the counters to remove the larger pieces and install the new stove and every time he would cut it my throat would burn like crazy and I couldn't breathe. I had to leave the house! The smell the Corian released when he cut it would linger for days so we had to have all the windows open. It makes me feel like we shouldn't have been preparing food on it all these years! The Cambria quartz is a lot harder than the Corian as I found when a bottle of essential oil fell out of the cabinet after we got the new counters and it chipped the bottle. I have essential oils everywhere around here and the bottles fall or get dropped frequently and none of them ever chipped when they hit the Corian!
I know granite is considered out-dated now but I absolutely loved our granite in the old house. It was called Verde Butterfly and it looked black from a distance but when you got up close it was full of greens and blues and silvers. It looks almost identical to the very expensive Peacock granite but for way less cost. If this house weren't all cream-colored I would have ordered the Butterfly again, Besides I attended the Etsy Up conference the other day and the trend report for home interiors is all the light Scandinavian blond and gray is out and jewel tones and dark shades are in. This is why I don't pay too much attention to that stuff; every five years designers and realtors act like you need to rip out all your woodwork and flooring and install something else! As much as possible I try to use medium colors and shades. I like brushed nickel metal because it looks both gold and silver at the same time. I like medium oak or maple shades and I always try to pick stone and tile with both warm and cool tones. The Montgomery quartz has blue, gray, white, cream, and beige tones so it will go with all kinds of colors. We picked glass and marble mosaic tiles for the island and marble subway tiles for the rest of the kitchen. The glass is white and gray but the marble adds some cream and beige and even pink and brown to the mix so it should work with most trends as well. You can see it all in the video.
My name is Amanda, but my childhood nickname was "Mandaline". I am a mother of three turning my passion for creating into a full-time business.