Calgary Home and Garden Show: Countertop refresh

Experts talk new looks for countertops — you can resurface, use a granite overlay or order a host of new materials for style and function.

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Social media is a great place to find inexpensive home improvement hacks, but often the best inspiration comes from talking to real live people. The Calgary Home and Garden Show, running Feb. 22 to 25 at the BMO Centre, is the place to find them.

Among the 400-plus exhibitors at this year’s show are experts in the home improvement, renovation and gardening industries, each showcasing their products and services. Among these valuable resources are countertop refacing companies like Calgary Countertops. Owner Tim Lambert says many people are unaware that countertops can be beautifully resurfaced for significantly less than the cost of replacement. For homeowners willing to keep the current footprint of their kitchen counters, resurfacing is also less destructive.

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“It’s not as widely known that you can just go over top of them. When you take out old countertops, you’re at risk of damaging the backsplash. People might be less likely to take them out because of that,” says Lambert. “Because our product is a little bit different, we like going to the home show to show people how good the product is.”

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Customers can choose from two methods of resurfacing. One is an industrial coating that is applied like paint. After application, it’s hardened with an ultra-violet light, so the countertop is immediately ready to use. The coating is durable and rated to 300 C, but Lambert still recommends that homeowners continue to use heat pads and cutting boards to keep the counter looking brand new. The other alternative is a quartz overlay, which is a thin sheet of real quartz. It costs three times as much as the coating, however, it’s only 35 per cent to 40 per cent of the price of real quartz.

“Again, removing the existing countertop could damage the backsplash so then, the costs can go up. We save on that as well,” Lambert says.

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With the liquid coating, the shape of the countertop can’t be altered, however, beveled or dated oak trim edges can be less noticeable. The quartz overlay creates a 90-degree angle, regardless of what the countertop edges looked like before.

Most customers want to cover old laminate, but there’s the odd request to resurface granite and quartz.

“The first thing people ask is, why would you cover granite? Well, there’s a lot of granite that’s outdated in colour and not what people are looking for today. Pulling out granite and disposing it is very expensive because you pay by the weight,” Lambert says. “It can work in cultured marble sinks — those old seashell type sinks. We also do tile in the kitchen and bathroom.”

Prices for the liquid coating can start at $1,100, with the quartz overlay priced from approximately $3,500, based on an average 40-square-foot kitchen counter.

Another choice for resurfacing is epoxy, a versatile product that can be made to resemble quartz, granite or marble. Epoxy Countertops is another exhibitor at the Home and Garden Show that will explain its products and offer advice.

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An epoxy resin coating can look like seamless natural stone, complete with veining, and is chemically resistant and nonporous. When applied, epoxies can smooth out an old right-angled edge. Application takes approximately four hours and 24 hours to cure.

“The design of the countertops is artwork. It’s done by hand,” says owner Noel Maciel.

He says the cost, especially a design made to look like marble, can be as much as 80 per cent less than the real thing. His entry level price for an average kitchen is $1,090.

Show goers looking to completely reconfigure their kitchen can connect with other countertop experts like AB Granito, Bordt Stone and Tile and The Granite Guys to get information and advice on buying new countertops.

The Calgary Home and Garden Show is Feb. 22 to 25 at the BMO Centre. All exhibitors, plus a list of Main Stage presenters, show times and interactive features are posted at Save $2 per ticket by purchasing online in advance.

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