Author Topic: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas  (Read 6665 times)

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Offline hawkeyestoob

  • Posts: 28
Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« on: November 22, 2016, 04:12 PM »
Please give me any ideas or interesting things you have seen for modern / non traditional counter-top ideas.

I am remodeling my kitchen and will be replacing the counter-tops. I did pour in place concrete at my last house and that is still on my short list of options here. I have considered doing something like baltic birch substrate with exposed edges and then covering it with something like .125" aluminum sheeting or maybe black HDPE. Ideally I would like to stick with materials that I can use traditional woodworking tools to create it with.

Thanks, Craig

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Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3930
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2016, 05:48 PM »
Baltic birch is a bit spendy to be used as a substrate,  I would tend to use CDX plywood for its waterproof glue if you're talking about countertops that might get wet. 
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline blaszcsj

  • Posts: 495
  • I like building stuff with my hands.
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2016, 06:31 PM »
Solid surface is cut with a router or track saw. Or do you mean non power tools?
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Offline antss

  • Posts: 1453
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2016, 10:53 PM »
Richlite
Kirei
Sanded plexiglass/lexan with backlit LED
Zinc

Offline hawkeyestoob

  • Posts: 28
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2016, 10:08 AM »
Baltic birch is a bit spendy to be used as a substrate,  I would tend to use CDX plywood for its waterproof glue if you're talking about countertops that might get wet.

I would only be using baltic birch if I end up leaving the edges exposed.

Solid surface is cut with a router or track saw. Or do you mean non power tools?

Solid surface is an option but I am looking for something that is a bit more 'not what you would expect' to see in a kitchen. Power tools will be used in some manner. [big grin]
Richlite
Kirei
Sanded plexiglass/lexan with backlit LED
Zinc


Thanks @antss this is exactly what I was hoping to get. I am very intrigued by they "Sanded plexiglass/lexan with backlit LED" idea. Lots of opportunity for creativity there.

Offline pixelated

  • Posts: 215
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2016, 10:32 AM »
Anodized aluminum?
Glued up wood slabs, lots of choices to contrast colors with various species, or perhaps inlays of other woods, or metal.

Offline Goz

  • Posts: 96
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2016, 12:41 PM »
What material/finish are you planning for the cabinets? Or will you pick countertop first and let that inform your cabinet decision?

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Offline hawkeyestoob

  • Posts: 28
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2016, 12:47 PM »
What material/finish are you planning for the cabinets? Or will you pick countertop first and let that inform your cabinet decision?

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I plan on just spraying the builder grade oak cabinets white or a light grey. It is a smallish kitchen so I don't think I would want to go lighter on the uppers and darker on the lowers. It is very exposed and open to the living area so that is why I am looking for something that might be a bit out there for my counter-top.

Offline Goz

  • Posts: 96
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2016, 04:59 PM »
Along the lines of antss suggestion, Panelite makes some great products that could be used as a countertop. Not particularly cheap, though. 

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Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 808
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2016, 06:05 PM »
Solid surface is an option but I am looking for something that is a bit more 'not what you would expect' to see in a kitchen.
You are not being creative if you think you can't do stuff with solid surface. Inlays, cutting and combining colors/patterns, bending it, wrapping it over the sides, etc. Spend a little time on google...before ruling it out.

https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&sa=1&q=solid+surface+inlay&oq=solid+surface+inlay&gs_l=img.3..0i24k1l2.145284.151246.0.151703.15.13.0.2.2.0.92.706.11.11.0....0...1c.1.64.img..2.10.526...0j0i67k1j0i30k1j0i8i30k1.rcQh8SvbYbc

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6239
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2016, 06:06 PM »
Back lit quartz.

Tom

Offline Spiff

  • Posts: 110
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2016, 06:13 PM »
On a similar note to Tom, I always think illuminated glass looks fantastic.  Especially if you etch the underside with an interesting pattern first.  Glass can be side lit with LED's and the light is trapped and spread across the entire sheet.

Examples:

https://st.hzcdn.com/simgs/8141929a00d203cd_4-3256/contemporary-kitchen-countertops.jpg

http://housely.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/a7219__The-Ultimate-Luxury-Touch-For-Your-Kitchen-Decor-Glass-Countertops-homesthetics-14-800x533.jpg
« Last Edit: November 23, 2016, 06:24 PM by Spiff »

Offline Spiff

  • Posts: 110
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2016, 06:17 PM »
I've seen interesting things done with back lit Corian as well, if you want practicality and low maintenance. 

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2016, 06:53 PM »
I guess that I will ask a functional type question based on so many things that I see people do with kitchens that don't make sense to me:

Do you cook and use your kitchen or do you want it to be a fashion statement?

I offer this question constructively.

Peter

Offline antss

  • Posts: 1453
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2016, 07:03 PM »
Asking for an interesting, non traditional material on the FOG kinda rules out inexpensive.   [scared]

Glass and Quartz aren't exactly workable with trad. woodworking tools.  You wouldn't want to use your hobbyist Festools on those products even if you did find the right blades.

Most Quartz countertops are not translucent tjb, they are opaque. Some Quartzites while translucent are quite hard even for stone tooling and stoopid expensive compared to the already expensive stuff kicked around here. We just did an island top in a bathroom where the slab itself was $14,000 wholesale. Definitely not DIY or for the inexperienced.

All you guys touting solid surface - aren't corian and the others still tightly controlled to certified installers ?  Or has someone started selling sheets to anyone with credit card ?

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6239
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2016, 08:48 PM »
Asking for an interesting, non traditional material on the FOG kinda rules out inexpensive.   [scared]

Glass and Quartz aren't exactly workable with trad. woodworking tools.  You wouldn't want to use your hobbyist Festools on those products even if you did find the right blades.

Most Quartz countertops are not translucent tjb, they are opaque. Some Quartzites while translucent are quite hard even for stone tooling and stoopid expensive compared to the already expensive stuff kicked around here. We just did an island top in a bathroom where the slab itself was $14,000 wholesale. Definitely not DIY or for the inexperienced.

All you guys touting solid surface - aren't corian and the others still tightly controlled to certified installers ?  Or has someone started selling sheets to anyone with credit card ?

You are correct. When I came back just now and read my post I mentally head slapped myself--

back lit onyx.

Tom

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 808
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2016, 08:55 PM »
All you guys touting solid surface - aren't corian and the others still tightly controlled to certified installers ?  Or has someone started selling sheets to anyone with credit card ?
Dupont still kinda has regulation for Corian...except money talks.

http://solidsurface.com/?gclid=CjwKEAiAmdXBBRD0hZCVkYHTl20SJACWsZj9TiVECEhyzKY8_w4l7t5lLju2aU83aBd0mGouxcWSdhoChNHw_wcB

Offline kcufstoidi

  • Posts: 885
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2016, 07:24 AM »
Homeowners and DIY's have to use site like the above link. If you have a business related to the industry you can typically buy product wholesale, but you don't the Corian 10 year backed guarantee unless your a certified installer. There's some really interesting product out there that goes beyond what you typically see, it does get pricey but really no more then the Onyx that Tom mentioned.

John

Offline hawkeyestoob

  • Posts: 28
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2016, 10:21 AM »
Anodized aluminum?

I have looked at some of the anodized aluminum and it is certainly on the list of potential choices.

@Goz Those Panelite are certainly interesting.

On a similar note to Tom, I always think illuminated glass looks fantastic.  Especially if you etch the underside with an interesting pattern first.  Glass can be side lit with LED's and the light is trapped and spread across the entire sheet.


I think the real boss of this job is leaning towards using back painted glass for the backsplash.

I guess that I will ask a functional type question based on so many things that I see people do with kitchens that don't make sense to me:

Do you cook and use your kitchen or do you want it to be a fashion statement?


Excellent point Peter. We certainly do use our kitchen a great deal. I fully understand that with some of the options I am looking at I will need to take some extra precautions when working there and likely have some additional maintenance. I am however not afraid of a product that shows wear / patina. Coming from poured in place concrete counters at my last house I am used to the maintenance and quirks associated with unusual choices.

Asking for an interesting, non traditional material on the FOG kinda rules out inexpensive.   [scared]


Very true..... But even the most expensive options can become much more reasonable when you do the prep work.


Thanks to everyone for all the thoughtful ideas here.

Offline Nat X

  • Posts: 231
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2016, 06:07 PM »
I think the question of "do you actually use your kitchen?" has more to do with the fact that backlighting anything at all is going to make it very difficult to see what you're doing clearly and potentially introduce a horrible color cast to any food being prepared in such an area. While it looks really cool in photos, I'd go absolutely insane if I had to actually prep food on any of that nonsense.

Offline antss

  • Posts: 1453
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2016, 06:47 PM »
Nat, it doesn't for most people.   But everyone is different for sure.

Besides, one doesn't cut or prep directly on the tops that are backlit. The material isn't suitable or it dulls knives something terrible.   Cutting boards are used for the actual work and those block out the light, which is used as an accent or ambiance light rather than task lighting on all of the ones I've had a hand in.

Offline Nat X

  • Posts: 231
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2016, 01:52 AM »
I'm well aware of the fact that one does not cut directly on a countertop. That has nothing to do with the fact that the backlighting is going to adversely affect your vision as your pupils constrict to compensate for it and the pronounced green cast will make everything but kale look even more revolting than fluorescent tubes. There's a very good reason you see this stuff in movies about coke dealers from 1982 more frequently than anywhere anybody does any real work.

But you're right, many people can't cook anything that doesn't involve a crock pot and won't care until it comes time to sell the place and the buyers want a discount for all the midlife crisis accoutrements they're going to have to pay someone to rip out and redo.

Offline antss

  • Posts: 1453
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2016, 07:50 PM »
Nat - you're obviously fixated on backlit glass.

Non of the tops we've backlit have any hint off green. They aren't glass !

You can also ditch the green hue by ordering Starfire or low iron glass if that bothers you.  You can also vary the hue/color temp by careful selection of the lighting.

I can also assure you we do real work for real people that aren't coke dealers, don't want to be anywhere close to a tv/movie camera, and won't stand for their food looking like puke , or their kitchen a set from Miami Vice or Scarface. I respect your opinion that this type of countertop is not for you, and can have pitfall like every other choice.  But, please don't tell me or the folks around here that backlighting countertops is a bad idea or will not work until you actually done few , ok.

I'll also assume the kitchens you frequent don't have professional lighting plans by people that actually know what they're doing and not just sales people.

Offline miclee15

  • Posts: 61
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2016, 06:24 AM »
Soapstone can be fabricated using woodworking tools.  I had it installed in my kitchen and think it's a great material for the kitchen, some kitchen designers absolutely hate it as it's soft. Definitely pros/cons to the material and its common in some circles and "never even heard of it" in others. 

Offline hawkeyestoob

  • Posts: 28
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2016, 10:39 AM »
Thanks for all the great ideas. After many long consultations with the boss at home we have decided to go with concrete for our counter tops. We both really liked the look and were happy with how they held up at out previous place.

Offline WastedP

  • Posts: 353
Re: Looking for non-traditional counter-top ideas
« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2016, 12:45 AM »
Soapstone can be fabricated using woodworking tools.  I had it installed in my kitchen and think it's a great material for the kitchen, some kitchen designers absolutely hate it as it's soft. Definitely pros/cons to the material and its common in some circles and "never even heard of it" in others.

That softness and inherent matte finish can be big pluses to some designers.  I personally really like the look and texture.  If you choose to work it yourself, go to a pawnshop and buy a used Skilsaw and router to work it.  Unless you are working it wet, dry cutting will load the tools with rock dust.  Consider the tools disposable.  Even then it's magnitudes cheaper than buying a stone machining center.

I have clients that used soapstone for one kitchen, but chose jet black Paperstone for the second kitchen I did for them.  It was a lot like working soapstone, but much easier on the tools.  I used a chestnut color of the material for my office.  I sanded it to give it a tortoise shell look.  Price-wise it's comparable to soapstone.

I used to have a rep that brought samples of a polyester solid surface top that was fairly transparent and had aluminum drill shavings cast into it.  It looked cool, but it needed to be sealed or else any exposed aluminum would oxidize.  That totally negates the prime benefit of solid surface for me.

Since the original poster has had concrete tops before, I will let him be the judge of whether or not they are a good fit for him.  For me, for the kitchen, never.  That's a non-porous zone.