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1. If you're getting new cabinets, buy those first. One of the first questions any countertop fabricator will ask is whether your cabinets are already installed.
It’s important that you have your cabinets installed before your countertop fabricator takes any measurements. If the cabinets are replaced between your measure appointment and the installation date, the measurements may be off, and the countertop may not fit the new dimensions.
If you haven’t considered getting new cabinets, consult with your countertop fabricator. They’ll be able to tell you if your existing cabinets are level and stable enough, or if you’ll need to shell out for new ones. (If you do, it’s a worthy investment!). Some stone fabricators like Stone Interiors offer complimentary in-home consultations to answer these types of questions before you even have to make a decision about your countertop.
2. If you're buying new appliances, get those too. Debating a new stove or fridge? Go ahead and buy those larger items before scheduling a measure appointment for your countertop. The fabricator will need to measure the exact dimensions of your existing kitchen layout, including stove, fridge, and dish washer.
Take a good hard look at your stove. If it's seen better days and you think you may need to replace it in the next year, do it now. That way you don't have to worry about a new stove not fitting with your countertops down the line. It's also a good idea to check that the height of your stove will be even with the new countertop; you can find a good guide to checking your stove and countertop height here.
If you’re in the market for a new sink, your countertop fabricator may carry a range of sinks and faucets for you to choose from. If you decide to purchase your sink elsewhere, you’ll need to know the exact dimensions prior to your measure appointment (these are often provided by the manufacturer with your purchase).
3. Research your materials. Picking a color scheme is the fun part. Not so easy is wading through the vast amount of information on different materials, and weighing the various costs and benefits of each. Marble might be your first choice aesthetically, but is it too high maintenance? You were considering Formica, but what other options do you have within your price range?
It can be overwhelming for anyone. Your first step is to partner with an expert in the industry who can help you cut through the lingo and figure out which surface will actually work for you and your lifestyle. Work with a countertop installer who is willing to walk you through your options before pushing you into a sale. Any company worth their salt will gladly schedule an initial consultation at your home before pressuring you to buy, making sure you end up with a material that will serve you well for years to come.