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Refinish or Replace Countertops - Which to Choose?

Light Counter in Kitchen

That is a question that many wonder about. Perhaps you too are thinking about which option is the best for your situation. To make the right choice there are some aspects of refinishing and replacing kitchen countertops that you should keep in mind. In this article, we will mention a few things you might want to consider.

Whether to replace your countertops or simply refinish the existing ones is going to depend on various factors. For example, can your countertop even be refinished? This is important because if your countertop is not able to be refinished, then you will have no choice but to replace it. However, in many cases, refinishing an existing kitchen surface is possible. No matter which decision you make, you will need to learn about the care and maintenance of the material you select. Natural stone care products are formulated differently than quartz care products and refinishing materials will no doubt require specific care too. What are some kinds of kitchen countertops that can be refinished? The following list enumerates a few:

Tile Kitchen Counter
  • Tile Countertops
  • Laminate Countertops
  • Cultured Marble Surfaces
  • Solid Wood Counters

That list is not an exhaustive representation of all the types of surfaces that can be refinished, but it gives a general idea of some possibilities. What is the interest in refinishing countertops versus replacing them?

Advantages of Refinishing Countertops

One main reason that some homeowners choose to refinish their kitchen countertops rather than replace them is that it is less costly. How much of a savings do homeowners realize when they choose to refinish? Some sources say that refinishing countertops rather than replacing them can result in an average savings of between 30% and 70%. That is a substantial amount of savings. That means if your kitchen countertops could be replaced for $10,000 you might be able to refinish the existing surfaces for anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000; leaving you with thousands of dollars to spend on another project or just put into another investment.

Another primary reason people select refinishng over replacing countertops is that refinishing takes less time. Depending on the size and scope of the project, replacing kitchen countertops can take several weeks. In comparison, refinishing your existing countertops can take as little as a week or less. With timelines like those, it is easy to see why so many homeowners choose to refinish rather than replace their kitchen counter surfaces.

So what kinds of finishes can be used for the process? Well, it depends again on what kind of countertop you currently have. For example, if you have a solid wood countertop, then the refinishing project is basically the same as how you would refinish floors and other hardwood surfaces. Perhaps you have a marble countertop that has some sort of discoloration. Did you know that you can restore marble if it has suffered from etching? Other surfaces can be refinished using laminate or epoxy coating products. Which of these refinishing materials you choose will be based on your preferences and the availability of materials. Refinishing existing countertops can be cost effective however, many people still prefer the other option; countertop replacement, why?

Granite Kitchen Countertop

Is Replacing My Countertops Right for Me?

While refinishing countertops can save time and money, it is not for everyone. After all, there are reasons why countertop replacement costs more than refinishing. Let's take a brief look at a couple them.

The first reason that replacing countertops might be for you is that it gives you the most options. In fact, the possibilities are virtually endless. You can choose from any of the following materials if you are replacing your kitchen surfaces:

  • Granite
  • Marble
  • Concrete
  • Quartz
  • Solid Surface
  • Sintered Stone
  • Porcelain / Ceramic
  • Laminate
  • Quartzite
  • Limestone
  • Soapstone
  • Slate
  • Wood
  • Tile

And that is not even an exhaustive list. In fact, you can use a kitchen design tool to help you visualize your new kitchen. So, one main factor in choosing to replace your existing countertop surface is that you can have anything you want.

Being able to choose exactly which material you would like to use for your kitchen surfaces not only yields freedom, but it also results in your being happier with you choice. Getting the perfect kitchen is what everyone wants and if you can select the perfect surface, then the end result is that you are happier with your choice. But if you choose replacement over refinishing be prepared to pay for that freedom and happiness.

In conclusion then, whether you decide to refinish your countertops or replace them altogether, you will have many options from which to choose. If you simply do not want to settle or compromise on material or color choices, replacement is the way to go. However, if you like many different options and have a budget that is somewhat limited, then refinishing your existing kitchen counters might be the best option for you.