Living Smart: Consider seamless countertops

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

If youíre spending a good amount of money to have new countertops installed in your kitchen, youíll likely want the end result to be perfect ó free from visible seams.

Seams can stand out and can take away from the overall appearance of the countertops. The lack of seams would give the countertops a smoother, more appealing look. According to countertop experts, stone countertops are your best bet for seamless perfection.

"Seamless countertops are definitely possible," says Joy Coleman of highly rated A Joy of Granite & Natural Stone in Dallas. "A slab can come in lots of different sizes. We always try to make sure there are as few seams as possible anyway, but if itís the right kitchen with the right sizes for the slab, then the countertop can be installed without any seams at all."

BUYING GRANITE SLABS

The Dallas countertop expert explains how her company orders "a slab that is the same size or bigger than the measurement needed for the countertops. The only problem is if you canít find a slab that fits the exact measurements that you need. In that case, you will have to order a slab thatís larger than what you need."

Depending on how much of the slab will be left, this may not be very cost effective. Instead of wasting extra money and materials, some homeowners should consider ordering slabs in smaller sizes so that the exact measurements can be met without overcompensating. Although seams will be inevitable when fitting several smaller slabs together, there are ways to make them blend with the countertops so that they are virtually invisible.

Michael Field of highly rated Quality Surfaces Inc. in Spencer, Ind., shares how he deals with countertop seams. "Stone countertops usually come in slabs that are 100 inches to 120 inches long. If the measurements for the countertop are longer than that, youíre going to end up with seams," he says. "With stone countertops, though, we can easily do inconspicuous seams. The seams are there, but they arenít visible. They just blend right in with the rest of the countertop."

The Indianapolis, Ind.-area countertop installer says to achieve a seamless look, "We use a liquid form of the exact same material that was used for the countertops to fill the space between the slabs. Then we put the sealer on the countertops. When itís all finished, you canít even tell that thereís a seam there because it matches the rest of the countertop so closely."

MAKING GRANITE COUNTERTOPS SEAMLESS

If youíre insistent on having seamless countertops in your kitchen, the first step is to have a professional take measurements to see if there are large enough slabs available. If a slab cannot be sized to fit your kitchen, draw upon the experience of your countertop installer who will help come up with the solution to best fit your needs.

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