Counters and tiles are the jewelry in a kitchen that make it sparkle. You don’t want to go with the cheap stuff, but you do want to save some money and get the best deals possible. So here are some tips.
If you’re considering natural stone, you’re usually paying for a full slab when you’re given pricing, even though the list is per square foot. So if your job requires the shop to cut a second slab, the price will jump considerably. But if you consider your measurements and layout, you might be able to mix materials, get a remnant or use a different material in certain areas and save money—while getting a really high-end look.
I like to start at Stone City on Grand Ave. to see a fantastic showroom of display kitchens that showcase a variety of options. Also, browse design pictures on-line you know what you’re looking for—Houzz.com is my favorite resource for oodles of kitchen pictures.
Once you know what you’re looking for, consider how much you may need. If it’s less than a full slab (usually 5’x8’), check around for remnants. Some good options are Blue Pearl Stone in LaGrange and Multistone Countertops in Elk Grove Village. Also check out a couple of websites dedicated to remnants: thestonebroker.com and remantswap.com.
If you want to consider a butcher block for a desk or island top, check out Blockhead BlockTops, based out of Hubbard Lake, Michigan for some great prices. Also, ask your cabinetmaker for a bid. If he’s already doing cabinets, you’ll often get a good deal. (Two good cabinet maker sources are mentioned in Best appliance and cabinet bargains for your Chicago area renovation.)
If you like a metal top, like stainless steel, copper, or zinc, you’re not going to find these too easily without designer or architect connections and they tend to be the most expensive choices. But you can get a good price quote from Specialty Stainless.com for stainless. And if you’re really ambitious, consider this DIY project. With the help of a local sheet metal shop, you can do your own.
For tile, head over to Tile Outlet on Fullerton Ave. The inventory is constantly changing, there’s a huge selection of mosaics, glass, stone, and porcelain tiles at a considerable discount, and the staff is really helpful. If you’re set on the ceramic tiles, check out DalTile on Hubbard St. for more selection and even shop the Merchandise Mart for inspiration if you want some really intricate patterns. It’s possible to find a reasonable price at the Mart, but most tiles are really pricey so if you fall in love, be sure to order through your design pro to get their trade discount.
There are some great bargains for tile on the Internet as well, but unless you’re sure of what you’re getting, a lot of time and money can be wasted ordering samples.
In the next of this series, look for some great plumbing, hardware, and lighting recommendations. And if you enjoyed this article, click the subscribe button below to get free email notifications of this Examiner’s future articles.