Over the last 17 years at Affinity, we’ve worked with countless customers to help them select the right countertop for their home, lifestyle, circumstances, and, of course, budget.
Sure – on the rare occasion, we meet folks to whom money is no object. Likewise, we meet those who strive to meet a dangerously low budget driven by misguided information. For the most part, however, our customers launch their intent to improve their homes by making smart, informed, and researched choices. They realize that within the matrix of the decision process, budget is an important factor to be reconciled with a “right decision.”
Based on our daily interaction with clients over these many years of countertop sales, here are our top six tips for buying the right countertop at the right price:
1. Love it or Leave it
Whether you’re selecting a dress to wear to a wedding or the countertop material for your new kitchen, the same wisdom holds true: If you don’t absolutely love something, don’t buy it. Period. Your countertop choice has to complement both your personality and your home’s design scheme. While we may not be attuned to your specific personality, our staff is highly trained in the design side, and can help you find an option that you will love.
2. Work with a Trustworthy Vendor
Since our pricing model isn’t structured so that we make more or less money based on your material of choice, you can be confident that Affinity will always offer honest and valuable feedback. While some industry participants push expensive products to support their hidden margin agendas, we’ll always be candid with the advice we give.
3. Opt for Quality Materials over Frills and Thrills
It’s always better to buy a more expensive, high-quality material and forego special upgrades than to buy a less expensive material and try to dress it up with embellishments that tack on labor costs. The latter is equivalent to putting lipstick on a pig – no matter how many frills you add on, at the end of the day, the pig is still a pig. Special upgrades that add time (and therefore dollars) to fabrication costs include radiused edges versus straight cuts, intricate shapes of any kind, and double thickness edges.
That is not to say we can’t accommodate your special labor-intensive requests; in fact, we’re glad to do them and always enjoy the artistry elements involved – but we do recommend that you avoid skimping on quality materials in order to fit these expensive add-ons into your budget.
4. Be Aware of the Broad Spectrum of Choices
In yesteryear, if you longed for the look of marble, you had no other choice than to buy natural marble – even if it meant putting up with the maintenance costs that often go along with it. These days, there are plenty of man-made countertop materials that offer the look of marble without the maintenance issues. Thanks to the recent availability of theses engineered materials, you don’t have to sacrifice functionality OR visual appeal.
5. Choose a Vendor Who Offers the Full Suite of Services
While the material you choose may make up the lion’s share of the cost, there are always other elements that should be budgeted for along with the new countertop. Keep in mind that a typical countertop job involves old countertop removal and disposal, new sink and reconnection thereof, reconnection of a cooktop (unless a slide in range is in place), and backsplash planning. To save time and money, work with a vendor who can do all elements associated with the countertop project. Affinity has honed an integrated service approach for years, and our customers find our breadth of service both time and budget efficient.
6. Don’t Choose the Cheapest; Choose the Best
In the final analysis, you can make all of the “right” choices, but the service provider you choose to execute those decisions is the most critical component of all in achieving the most cost effective project. Most of us, at least once in our lives, make the mistake of ignoring our inner warning signals when interacting with service providers and talk ourselves into believing that the one with the lowest price point will be the right choice. We unlucky ones have then had to live with the less-than-ideal consequences – whether it was a shoddy repair job that caused our car to break down, or an inexpensive countertop installation that ended up depreciating the value of the home – we were left kicking ourselves for not listening to our gut and going with the provider who promised the best services for an appropriate price tag.
My name is Elizabeth Ellsworth. I’m writing this blog post. I’m 57. I’ve made more than my fair share of these mistakes in my life. What can I say? Choose wisely.