A Few Thoughts on Stainless Steel Counters

Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:53 am
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Comments: 12

Lots of people seem intrigued by the process of DIY installing your own stainless steel counters. And really - it's pretty awesome: we did get stainless steel counters for the ridiculously low price of $400 by doing this ourselves, which saved us $2600, since a big box hardware store quoted us $3000 to get the whole shebang installed.

(Although the whole notion of us saving $2600 is kind of deceiving because that assumes that we actually would have spent $3000 on having stainless steel professionally installed. Most likely we would have just not gone that route if we hadn't been able to do this project ourselves!)  

stainless steel counter

When there is such a big price difference between doing it yourself, and having professionals come in and take care of the whole thing, you really do have to wonder why. Are our counters inferior in any way? Is the steel not as hard, does the counter look like it's "home made"? And the answer to that is NO. Our counter looks as if it would have been professionally installed, it looks… well perfect - gorgeous. It's are made out of 20 gauge stainless steel which is what restaurant kitchens use. Generally a simple backsplash is as thin as 24 gauge (the higher the gauge the thinner the steel.) So why the huge price difference? I really don't know.

stainless steel counter

Quite a few people also seem curious about the upkeep and the maintenance of counters made out of stainless steel. And that's one reason why these counters are so absolutely awesome. There is no maintenance! Instead we have a super durable counter that we can place hot dishes right from the oven on, we don't have to worry about water spots, wine stains or cracks. We simply don't have to be that careful. Which is why I think this is such a great option, especially if you actually are planning on using your kitchen and not simply look at and admire how pretty it is (which we all know is pretty common when people get expensive kitchen remodels!) Sure the counters do get tiny little scratches over time, but you can get that out with a stainless steel cleaner if you're really that psycho about keeping them spotless. If not, well then the tiny scratches polish the material even further.

stainless steel counter

I would also like to say that our kitchen was ideal for this type of counter, after all we only had a small counter to work with, and it was straight and simple and had no weird angles or anything that would further complicate installing this yourself. If you had an L shaped counter, I don't know how easy this would be to do yourself, but I think that would be interesting to find out.

Also, if you have a very large kitchen with lots of counter space, then going for stainless steel everywhere could possibly create a rather cold impression - especially if you have no elements of wood anywhere. Our little kitchen cart which we stained a dark red mahogany shade actually balances out the steel and white subway tile beautifully in my opinion, and it really became obvious how very important the addition of wood can be here next to stainless steel. If I had a very large kitchen, then I would probably go for stainless steel anyway, but maybe use butcherblock for some of the counter or for an island, to add some warmth and contrast.

stainless steel kitchen counter

Overall though, if you have a pretty straight forward counter to do, then I don't think you could go wrong here. It's durable, hygenic and practical - why else is it standard in most restaurant kitchens? And design wise, it looks so nice and I can't imagine ever growing tired of it.



Comments
Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:32 pm
Name: Irene [BAKER/MAKER] | Comment: Wow! I'm so impressed that you did this yourself! very inspiring. My mom has had all stainless steel counters in her kitchen for 15 years.. and swears by it. Myself, I'd like a mix of butcher block and stainless in my dream kitchen.. and as long as it's a dream kitchen, maybe a touch of marble, too.. :) i think different work surfaces are ideal for different things.. i love rolling out dough on butcher block, but, like you said, stainless steel is so durable, low maintenance, easy to keep clean. when we make peanut brittle at my mom's house, we actually grease the counter and pour the molten candy right onto the counter directly from the pot hot off stove!

Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:41 pmIrene, I know, you just can't kill stainless steel! I bet it works really well to pour the peanut brittle right on top of it. And I agree, stainless, wood and marble is really a nice combination!

Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:08 am
Name: Irene [BAKER/MAKER] | Comment: so funny... they just featured stainless steel on thekitchn.com... hope you don't mind i linked to this post in the comment section. i found your diy/tutorial really interesting and had pinned it for future reference, so i'm sure others will appreciate the link!

Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:02 pm
Name: Heather Comment: Looks beautiful! Did you have the stainless edge fold under and all the way to the cabinet edge below? I'm just curious how you avoided having a sharp edge underneath! Thx

Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:32 amHeather, the stainless steel edge is folded up underneath, so it's not sharp at all.

Thu May 31, 2012 5:10 pm
Name: jacquelyn | lark&linen URL: www.jacquelynclark.com Comment: They look AMAZING! Funny, the only residential stainless steel counters I've ever seen were in my friends old place when I was 5. I remember them vividly. I adored them back then and I adore them now!

Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:16 am
Name: christine URL: twocreatives.com Comment: think your counters are fantastic. 15 years ago we had a shop in [nyc] chinatown create a custom stainless double sink with high backsplash and side drain boards to fit our 1809 house in the country. never thought of having them do the entire counter—probably because we never could have fit it in our car. lol.

question. . . could you have designed it to work with an undermount stainless sink? would they have been able to accommodate that? could they have made a sink for you? curious as we getting ready to renovate a 1972 beach house and loving the idea of your DIY stainless countertops.

Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:35 am
Name: Ashley Comment: Visiting from YHL...AWESOME job!
We are on a tight budget, so this is definitely a viable option!
Thank you!!!

Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:13 am
Name: jackieb URL: http://chocolateandtofu.blogspot.com/ Comment: This looks so awesome. I love the white cabinets, checker floor, and subway tile. It looks a lot like my kitchen, only your's is way more awesome. I want those counters now!

Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:34 am
Name: Johanna Comment: Hi! Here in Sweden this kind of counter tops are very common, almost everybody has it. Ours is 24 years old and is still in perfect condition!

Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:51 am
Name: Haruko Comment: They're very common over here in Japan too. Very durable. You just have to be careful not to drop very heavy things on them or you might get a ding or two, but you wouldn't want to drop very heavy things on any counter.

Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:53 am
Name: Greg Comment: Hi. The counters look great and I want to congratulate you on your purchase of stainless steel counter tops. You will love them for years.

I do feel the need to point out one error in the article above. Standard restaurant grade counters are 14 gauge stainless steel and never higher than 18 unless it's structurally reinforced. Being a builder of custom commercial kitchens for over 60 years, I'm quite confident in that fact.

That doesn't mean you won't love yours (you will) or that it won't hold up (it will), it just the facts of what architects and kitchen consultants actually specify for commercial kitchens.

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