Kitchen countertops can modernize homes, improve resale value

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published September 20, 2017

 Under-mounted sinks are popular with granite countertops.

Under-mounted sinks are popular with granite countertops.

Shutterstock image

METRO DETROIT — The most occupied room in a house is arguably the kitchen, so a nice countertop really goes a long way.

As the years have passed, times have changed. Many homes now forgo the old plastic laminate look in exchange for a more chic, yet classic, look.

Jena Anastasio, an interior designer at Transitions Remodeling in Farmington Hills, said she has noticed an influx in popularity in the quartz market.

It’s 93 percent natural and is made to look like marble, while manufacturers have the ability to mold the material to look like granite, marble or another solid. It’s heat resistant, scratch resistant, anti-bacterial and requires less overall maintenance when compared to granite.

However, granite is made from mother Earth and offers a unique movement and flow.

“One of the things you can’t get with quartz is the natural beauty that granite offers you,” Anastasio said. “You can’t fabricate it necessarily, (but) you can try.”

Randy Frantz, owner of Sterling Heights-based Hard Rock Stone Works, echoed Anastasio and said quartz is becoming even more popular. A certain pair of colors are also making buyers look twice.

“Everyone wants grays and whites,” Frantz said. “Earth tones are generally a popular color for resale.”

His store offers a lifetime warranty on granite products, while some manufacturers offer 15-year warranties on quartz. When it comes to materials like plastic laminate, longevity is usually not in the cards.

“(Quartz and granite are) durable and hold up to pretty much anything, whereas with laminate you’ll probably end up replacing it,” he said. “It usually lasts 10 years.”

Some popular configurations that he has seen recently include under-mounted sink polishes — in which the sink is under-mounted to a countertop, almost like a rimless sink that is easier to clean — and mitered edges that make the stone appear thicker.

Anastasio agreed with Frantz, saying white and gray colors are making a push in the industry — especially when they can complement a particular stone countertop, such as in terms of cabinets.

Each kitchen setup should be taken case by case in terms of modernization, appeal and convenience. She said clients like when a footprint can be expanded but still stay within budget.

Currently, Anastasio is helping to renovate homes that were built in the 1970s. Those homes’ living rooms and kitchens aren’t all that spacious, and it becomes “like figuring out a big puzzle.” That’s how designers help, and they do it under one roof.

“Clients typically have an idea of what they want, because they typically lived in the space for several years and know what works and what doesn’t,” she said. “Sometimes, it is what it is. … (Having a designer) takes all that pressure off of you, the homeowner, and we manage every aspect.”

Frantz said homeowners can spruce up their abodes by adding overhangs, new cabinets, new handles and metalware that is good and inexpensive. Every person is different.

“(You) pretty much have trouble selling your house today if you don’t have stone countertops,” he said. “If there’s not stone in the kitchen, people are walking out the door. Realtors say that.

“Make sure that you put your hands on the slab that you select and pick it yourself. Not too many places do that anymore.”