Opinions on Stainless Steel Countertops

denisehessAugust 11, 2011

We are considering using stainless steel for our kitchen countertops with something different on the large island to break it up. Would love to hear pros and cons from those of you that have stainless steel countertops Our architect and designer has recommended a very heavy gauge brushed stainless.


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I worked in restaurants and the stainless made an easy counter to work on. Theresse here has really pretty ones...

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 2:13PM
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stainless steel is ideal for a kitchen countertop.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 2:40PM
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I have a stainless countertop for our main work counter and the balance are in granite. I love that countertop. It's virtually impossible to damage it. If you are considering one I'd advise you consider a modified marine edge (basically a 1/16th lip around the edge that keeps water from spilling over the counters to the floor). Everyone I know who has SS sees ours and says that they wish they'd have known about a marine edge. We also have an integrated SS sink so you can use the counter and just sweep the mess into the sink...which is wonderful :)

I love them, and will use them in our new kitchens as well. They're beyond useful and much better than any countertop I've ever had.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 3:32PM
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Fori is not pleased

They are great. Do consider a marine edge. I didn't get one on my second kitchen remodel and the first one that did have it was better. But with or without, there's nothing better except maybe Circuspeanut's copper counter.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 3:59PM
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My first apartment had an amazing vintage kitchen (turquoise metal cabinets) with stainless countertops. The countertops looked amazing and were fantastic to work on. They were very easy to clean.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 4:56PM
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We have stainless flanking our rangetop (about 4 ft in each direction) with wood on the island and laminate on the other perimeter counters. Because I like to clean things off the counter into my hand or a cloth, so we just have a flat/square edge. I love being able to set hot things right on it, and it's very durable. I find it nice and cool for rolling dough. Scratching is a given, although the brushing should help hide or blend them in. We just wipe ours with a damp cloth and dry with a towel.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 5:21PM
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I'm strongly considering going with a stainless counter for our island. Me. Who was so opposed to stainless anything when I began planning my kitchen more than 2 years ago. Go figure. But I have been swayed by the praise of others who have SS counters. I love the durability of it and the fact that I can set hot things on it without worry. I saw a fold up SS counter in one of the display kitchens at Kohler Design Center (fun!!!) last week when I was visiting family in Wisconsin.

I got so distracted by all the fun stuff I saw that I forgot to ask how long the counter was in place and what its original finish was. Even so, I decided that I'm okay with the patina this bit of counter has gained. It did feel cooler to the touch than the adjacent counter (quartz) but I'm not sure if that's because it's SS or because there wasn't a cabinet below it.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 6:06PM
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I had stainless counters installed 8 years ago -- 20 linear feet of them, in fact. Never regretted the decision. They are especially good for rolling out or kneading dough & make for easy clean up. One unexpected advantage: they reflect light wherever you're working, so the work area is bright (great for aging eyes like mine). I do not fear acids, beets, oils, or dyeing Easter eggs.

SS counters do show every crumb, so if you're obsessive about stuff like that, you may not enjoy SS counters.
Mine are cast stainless & show light smear marks from day-to-day wiping with a sponge. If we want them to look perfect, we use a bit of Butcher's wax & buff with a microfiber cloth -- voila! they are ready for their close-up. Rolled stainless (the kind you'll probably get) may be different. I spilled a bit of Tilex on them once and it left a mark, but Bar Keeper's Friend removed it easily. The hardest part was going from pristine counters to the first dozen scratches. Now I don't think twice about scratching the counters. The scratches just kinda blend together after a while and look nice.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 5:12PM
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+1 vote for stainless with a marine edge. Our kitchen is ridiculous--I seriously have only about 50"x18" of counter space--but that space is stainless with a marine edge, and in all respects other than size it works great. It so happens we're not using stainless in the remodel, because I personally don't like so much grey in the kitchen--to me personally, grey just looks dingy and uncommitted (neither light nor dark)--but if there was such a thing as colored stainless steel that was as durable as plain stainless, I would be ON that stuff in a heartbeat. Matter of fact, I'm still not 100% sure we WON'T be using stainless; only like 98% sure. I just don't like the color, but it's SO incredibly functional.

I mean, from a practical standpoint, stainless is hard to beat. Impervious to almost every chemical or bacterium known to man, can safely be cleaned with anything short of a blowtorch, safe to set hot things on... It's supremely practical. And the marine edge is fantastic; it keeps spills from getting on your floors or cabinets.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 12:58PM
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PS I don't find that stainless "shows every crumb," like Awm said, but that's probably because our counters were here when we moved in and already had a patina. They may be brushed, I don't know; if I had to guess I'd say they were originally brushed and have also developed years of patina. And the patina looks great to me (other than the color... I just have this ALLERGY to grey). The patina diffuses light nicely and is imperfect enough that I don't feel like I'm living in a showroom. It's lived in, and it hides mess to some extent. Much better than glossy granite or quartz would, probably.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 1:03PM
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..."an safely be cleaned with anything short of a blowtorch..."

No bleach/chlorine cleaners though. See post my re Tilex. It left a brown blotch. Bar Keeper's Friend took care of it.

My counters are cast stainless. They're not shiny & by now have lots of scratchy patina. They show crumbs because the color is uniform, just as any one color surface would show crumbs more than a mottled surface. Maybe ideagirl2 is just cleaner than I am :)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 3:07PM
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If I'm cleaner than you, I really feel for your family, Awm03. Hahaha :-)
I think it's because the brushed surface and "patina" makes it not so uniform anymore.

That's interesting about bleach and chlorine. I've never tried those, and it sounds like that's a good thing.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 4:11PM
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I used bleach on ss counters in the past and it was never an issue.... Maybe something else in the Tilex was the problem... or maybe restaurant type ss counters are somehow different.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 4:31PM
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I'm seriously considering this option. Only problem, how do I go about finding a fabricator? Better yet, I live in the Metro Detroit, MI area. Can anyone recommend a company to help me with fabricating SS countertops for my kitchen?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 1:22AM
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I was a nurse for many years, I just can't imagine having stainless steel counter tops in my home. Reminds me too much of the hospital and even the morgue. I just can't make the leap. Same way with those hospital looking stainless and glass tower cabinets on wheels that were so trendy a few years ago in Restoration Hardware I think it was. But that is just me!!! I guess you can definitely say they are durable and eschew bacteria that is for sure! It probably would look nice mixed with wood though.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 8:05AM
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Love my stainless, have had a SS counter in two different kitchens for 7 years now. Both SS runs had sinks, so I appreciate the marine edge (see pic). You may not need the marine edge if you don't have a sink on the SS run.

Only downside to my mind - it does develop a patina quickly, but it is a pretty minor concern and I don't notice it anymore.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 8:25AM
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I would like to say, stainless steel counter-tops are preferred over others as they are easy to maintain and give the kitchen a very elegant and contemporary look. Stainless Steel Counter-tops have several advantages over other counter tops-they are hygienic; as the surface of the stainless steel counter-tops is non porous which leaves no place for bacteria to hide. With just one wipe of the soft cloth.

Thanks in best regards
Daniel Smith

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 9:22AM
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Circus Peanut

I heart you, Fori. :-)

Ideagirl, indeed, have you considered copper? In its raw form, it's not as simple to upkeep as stainless (it patinates much more quickly and reacts to acid/bases) but there are quite good coatings these days that will halt that process at whatever stage you want it to stay at. We haven't gone that direction and get the antimicrobial advantages at the cost of having to scrub it more thoroughly to remove the patinates (verdigris is lovely but not exactly appetizing). But we adore it and its everchanging warm hues.

I also wonder whether brass would make a decent countertop material? Anyone ever seen one?

Because our copper counters were a DIY project (we made them in the same way you'd use a laminate), mine don't have a marine edge, but I'd love it if they did, and can warmly recommend that option. An integrated sink is also a huge bonus in terms of sleekness and functionality.

Zinc is another time-tested option that has a duller, less 'industrial' look than stainless, without that steel-blue pall that folks can object to. Mtnredux has put in zinc along her pantry wall, check out her posts for gorgeous pix. The rotometals.com web site has some fabulous videos for DIY zinc sheet counters.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 9:22AM
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To me, scratches in stainless steel just look like scratches, not patina or character. It's one reason I don't like stainless steel sinks. On the other hand, scratches and discoloration in copper and soapstone and marble and other "fussier" materials don't bother me a bit! I'm probably in the minority on this, though.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 11:47AM
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I love the look of stainless for countertops but hated the finish on fridges.

Chief concerns were: Doesn't the countertop get hot if you put hot dishes on them? Finger prints? Dents from thinks falling - AS stainless steel is a reflective surface I was worried about the dents.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 3:38PM
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Dents: The weight of the stainless helps with the denting issue. We used 18 or 20 gauge, but should've used something like 14 or 16 to prevent little dings, so we have a couple. Not bad enough to bother me, though. The scratches are so minor...not like you can feel them, so that when you get enough they all blend and give it a softer look. We expected scratches, so just laughed when we got the first one. I looked at the stainless counter at Home Depot in the painting department. I figured it got far tougher use than we'd ever give ours, and I thought it looked OK, so was satisfied stainless counter would be fine in our kitchen.

Heat: I suppose the surface right under a hot item might get warm, but it does not spread throughout the counter or present a burning hazard or anything.

I don't find fingerprints to be a problem. It's not a super glossy surface. The scratches actually help in this area, I think. As I said above, we just wipe ours with a damp rag and sometimes dry it with microfiber or just a dry dish towel. Maybe the horizontal surface makes it better to deal with in that sense than the fronts of appliances.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 5:12PM
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I may be being swayed to get stainless as opposed to granite. Hmmmmmmm.
Can anyone give me an idea on cost per square foot for 14-16 gauge?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 5:57PM
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I only know ours was $17/sq foot, so I hope someone else has info on the heavier gauge. If you go to a specialty kitchen countertop fabricator' instead of a sheet metal shop, you'll likely pay more. And, of course, you'll pay more for integrated sinks, special edges or finishes, etc.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 6:02PM
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My whole kitchen has ss counters. 9 years now and I wouldn't trade them. I use Caldrea counter top cleaner on them -- different from the fridge which gets the Method ss wipes.

No idea on the gauge he used but the ss is very thick. There are scratches and patina on most of it but that's part of the aesthetic.

You can get heat tint from a hot pot on them -- it's a slight discoloration. So I put very hot stuff on the stovetop usually or on the sink grid. But I never worry about what's on there. I also don't find they look dirty unless there's something on them like dried melted ice cream or the like.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 6:25PM
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I finally found a fabricator in the Metro Detroit area. I was in for a bit of a shock, price came out to be $160 per linear foot. It did help to know a linear foot is less than a square foot, but still recovering from the sticker shock.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 8:53PM
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How many inches thick is the fabricator accounting for width wise? I mean, if it is $160/linear foot,but it accounts for any width of countertop and includes all cut outs, a built in sink and the like, that may not be a bad price.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 9:12PM
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Bumping b/c I also want to know the answer to the last question.

Also, how do I find a fabricator?

I have talked to several companies that make countertops and none of them does SS.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 1:46PM
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I bumped this not long ago but it is not showing up on the first few pages for some reason, weird.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 2:25PM
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We just had stainless counters installed. I can tell you how we sourced and priced it.

We have an L shape that is 13'9" in one direction and about 5' in the other direction. Near the corner is a double integrated sink and a drain board (sloped area, but no runnels).

We tried getting quotes from 4 sheet metal fabricators in San Diego - the cheapest was $6000, the most expensive was $8000. We started giving up our dream of stainless counters.

Then my husband went to restaurant supply place - he asked if they could make it. Their quote was $3700 (plus shipping and tax). It worked out to just over $4000 as the final number. It was fabricated up in Los Angeles by a vendor they work with. This put the pricing less than the silestone counter we had been considering.

Ours is a 16 guage. We also have a turned up backsplash... which added tot he cost.

We've had it in for 3 weeks. We've made pizza dough and pie dough on it - great surface for both. It's super easy to clean. If I could reclaim the section full of power tools (we're mid-remodel and DIY) I'd be thrilled.

Sorry for the poor quality of this picture - this was taken the night we lifted it into place. I was tired and the flash was giving me fits.

Here's a cluttered daylight picture of the integrated sink.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 10:42AM
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Oh ucgal: that is just BEAUTIFUL.

I went through the same process (one fabricator quoted something like $11000!). Finally found 2 that is around $5000 range.

But I just cannot get DH to agree. He finds it too industrial for our colonial home.
So we are going with carrara marble.
Just crazy: going from the most easy to maintain countertop material (stainless) to a soft/porous stone (marble).

I want to see more pictures :)


    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 2:39PM
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what is the name of the restaurant supply place you had your ss countertop and sink made?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 3:49PM
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