Creating a Custom Countertop
While granite countertops are the rage in many areas, they are not very personalized. Your sister can buy one, as can the family down the street. When searching for a unique countertop, look for a good woodworker who can build one just for you.
Finding the Source
If you're lucky, you know a good woodworker/carpenter who has made cabinets or shelving for you. If not, then it's time to ask friends, neighbors and the manager at the local lumberyard. After all, this is where the good woodworkers go to get supplies and talk shop with others in the trades.
Designing Your Countertop
Once you've found a carpenter, consider how you'll use the countertop. Do you want a decorative countertop that is mainly for show or will it be used for meal preparation every day?
The answer will help you narrow down the type of wood to use and the design. A woodworker can use cherry or mahogany to make a rich, upscale countertop that is just for show. If you're looking for a more functional one, however, consider oak or maple. Oak and maple are less costly than the darker woods and are less likely to show scratches.
While most countertops are rectangular, there can be cut in any shape imaginable. Since you are building this from scratch, consider adding a curve along a basement bar counter or clipped edges to help define a breakfast bar area. As you add curves and clips, however, you likely are adding to the labor costs.
The Finishing Touches
Wood can be finished in several ways, with most people opting for a colored stain or several coats of polyurethane for a clear covering. You also can combine the two by having the contractor add one coat of stain to deepen the color, then several coats of polyurethane for protection.
The end result will be your own personally crafted countertop. This is one piece of art no one else can buy.
By Allison E. Beatty