Stainless Steel Counters

mobrien24August 8, 2008

I love the look of stainless steel counters in the kitchen. I just want a portion of the counters to be stainless. Does anyone have stainless counters? Do you love them? Hate them?

Where is the best place to buy stainless counters? I'm located in the IL and haven't had much luck finding them.


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Try sheet metal shops for the counters. They should be able to fabricate them or direct you to another shop that can.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 6:25AM
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Circus Peanut

Exactly -- call around to the sheet metal shops and ask who they recommend for stainless fabrication. I have copper countertops, not stainless, and did them myself, but the shops I spoke to about ordering the copper each had their favorite "guy" who does this kind of work.

There's a place in Chicago that does custom metal counters, although it may be more pricy than finding someone local.

Enjoy! I adore my copper, and unlike many countertop materials, metal ones just get better with use. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Soupcan metal counters

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 6:32AM
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rhome has 3 different countertop materials, including stainless, in her awesome kitchen. All the different cabinet, backsplash, and countertop materials come together in fabulous way. Take a look!

Here is a link that might be useful: stainless counters

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 9:47AM
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Remodelfla beat me to answering you! :-) (Thank you again for the nice compliments, E.)

We do love them. You can set hot things on them without a worry. The ss is a great surface to roll out pie crusts or knead bread dough. I often wonder if we should have had them everywhere.

They certainly do scratch and scuff, but I was fully aware that they would and we only laughed when we saw the first scratch in the first few moments they were in. Before we got them, I looked at the paint counter at Home Depot, where they have a SS counter that is very scratched and beat up. I decided I could live with it if ours looked like that, so went ahead. Someone here with stainless counters wrote once that the more scratches and scuffs they get, the more it all blends together and forms a softer, almost glowing surface. I think someone even purposely scrubbed their counters with a somewhat abrasive material just to get them to scratch all over sooner.

I think you can also ask for a brushed finish that might hide more...or be one step ahead on the 'patina.'

I think it was Rococogurl who recommended getting 16 guage steel, but our sheet metal guy thought 18 would be fine. Ours have a couple tiny dings/dents that might not be there if they'd been 16 guage. They don't dim my opinion of the counters, but if I were doing it over, I'd probably want to try 16.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 1:13PM
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Fori is not pleased

I put stainless in my last kitchen. It was hard finding someone to do it in the hip and happening motor city area, too.

Elkay does custom work if you can't find anyone local (maybe they are local?).

Anyway I loved that counter (and integrated sink) and will try to find someone to do it in my new kitchen. It's a wonderful material for a counter. I used it for a 20s sort-of period kitchen (in lieu of German silver) but of course it goes modern just as well. I never broke a dish on that countertop, either. I started with a brushed finish and patinaed with regular use. The more scratches the better!

I found the company I used in a contractor directory...they didn't have a showroom but sent us to some fancy appliance shop that had one of theirs as part of a display.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 1:20PM
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I will have two small ss counters on either side of my ss rangetop. I started calling sheet metal fabricators from my phone book with no luck. But I always asked do you know who might do them. Through this process and about 6 calls later, I was referred to Dixie Duct in the next town over. Mine are 16 guage, and I had to provide measurements and a description of what I wanted. Then I picked them up as they don't install or provide the substrate material. Installation from my GC will be this week.

Mobrien, I hope you don't mind, but I also have a question directly related to your topic.

To the other posters -- did you use clear caulk to finish the ss seam that is up against your cabinetry? Is a small gap against a range or rangetop to be expected?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 9:47PM
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Boysrus - The more questions, the better! I'm curious about it all.

Thank you all so much for your opinions.

rhome - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your kitchen!!! What an inspiration! We will have a corner walk in pantry, too. I'm definitely able to picture more of what I want after seeing your pics. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures! My husband and I had just talked about slate on the backsplash, too! Great minds think alike!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:06PM
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Fori is not pleased

The guy who installed mine used silver metallic caulk--kinda cheesy but OK once we did a tile backsplash and covered it up with grey caulk to match the grout.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:36PM
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I have worked many places with stainless steel counters over the years, with more use and abuse then any home will ever get. A bit of stainless cleaner (be carefull not to get on floor or you will slip) and they shine again even after40 or 50 years . go for them and enjoy.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 2:18AM
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I love the sleek, contemporary look of SS with an integrated sink. rhome and tofu-dog are two outstanding examples that come to mind. I have looked at many, many kitchens and always come back to stainless.

We're going with 16 gauge SS on either side of the range, the food prep area and integrated sink/stone for the rest of the counter (if and when we can find a fabricator in our area).

Aside to fori/Have you found anyone in the motor city that will fabricate and install?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 7:50AM
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rhome -- love your kitchen! Hadn't seen your counters before but I do remember our discussion. It came out great.

I have all stainless counters and could not be happier. They scratch. That must be accepted. I actually scratched them immediately while vacuuming off the grout and caulk debris so I jumped into the deep end of the pool in that regard.

Pros: heatproof, germproof, green, waterproof, absorb nothing, clean with hot water and a microfiber cloth (a soapy sponge when needed followed by hot water and microfiber), bulletproof. Match appliances. Timeless and will never wear out but always modern looking. A guest once decided he wanted to paint some small pictures and did it on the counter and I didn't think twice.

Cons: Scratching and unevenly. Expensive. Some don't like the look.

Mine are 16 gauge, which is very thick. The seams are almost invisible. The fabricator wanted to do it in once piece to avoid seams but we couldn't get it into the house.

There's a reason that everything is stainless in restaurant kitchens. I combined mine with warm, pale colors and lots of tile so there is no "industrial" look -- though I could have gone with a super modern kitchen easily but it didn't fit the architecture of our house.

Everyone has different feeling about materials. I personally could not live with many things I see in most other kitchens. I like them elsewhere, just not at my house. So I really feel no matter how much someone likes or dislikes something it's important to work on what you want and get it.

Kitchens are super personal I think and really relate more than almost any other room to things which are irrational and unexplainable.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 10:00AM
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Fori is not pleased

Cache, it was several years ago (we've relocated) but if I remember correctly, it was something like M & M. That sounds like a candy. M & N? They had their own sub to do measuring and install (my GC was glad since he'd never done it) and while mine was sort of retro, the sample we saw was sleek and modern.

OK I looked it up...MCM in Hazel Park.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 12:56PM
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Thanks for the kitchen compliments!

For me a 'pro' of our stainless counters is that they were not expensive...Only $17/sq ft for ours, but we didn't go around corners, or have an integrated sink, which might have required someone more experienced in kitchen counters, and resulted in a higher price tag.

Like boysrus2, the fabricator didn't supply the substrate or install. We did that. DH built the substrate and the sheet metal fabricator covered it, then we brought them home and dropped them in place.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 6:07PM
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Fori is not pleased

Ours were medium pricey, but we had an integrated 4" splash with the top scribed to wavy walls, custom fab sink, corners, and a marine edge and it came on a substrate. For our job, we couldn't just go with a sheetmetal fabricator that hadn't worked with counters before, but you could for many applications.

Now, though, the price of the stuff has gone way up. I don't mind; it's still worth it if I can find a fabricator worth a darn in my new locale.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 6:38PM
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Every town with restaurants has sources for stainless counter fabrication. May need to work with them on the type of finishing you want but no one who is making stainless for restaurants will have much trouble with a counter.

If you have a friendly restaurateurs ask around.

Mine were done through the cabinet place as our contractor didn't have a stainless source until after he finished with mine. I thought it was expensive so if you can get them reasonably it's great.

One thing that might be helpful. Since we have 2 corners on the peninsula we made them "clipped" i.e. cut diagonally so there are no hard corners to bruise anyone. It was a very nice suggestion, I thought.

I actually encountered resistance in the local place that makes cabinets on premise. "We don't do that sort of thing around here," the KD there informed me. Fortunately, she didn't have to. I went elsewhere.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 7:08PM
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We have them & love them. A local sheetmetal shop did the SS countertops, integrated our SS sink, & did the hoods over the cooking area & cleanup sink. (Our island has kashmir gold granite.)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 10:06PM
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gizmonke - Beautiful kitchen! I love the stainless counters.

I can't wait for Monday morning!!! I'm going to make calls until I find someone to make my counters. I like combining the stainless with granite, too! I might even throw some butcher block in!

Thanks and any more pics would be great!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 10:46PM
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mustbnuts zone 9 sunset 9

Gizmonke--what a gorgeous kitchen! I am not wild about stainless sinks nor counters, but you have changed my mind. Absolutely beautiful choices you have made.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 11:17PM
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My family loves our stainless counters. One problem is that they don't get scratched up fast enough. When they are nearly new they look awful because they have random scratches rather than a nice patina. I facilitate the patina process by scrubbing the surface with commercial steel wool from time to time. As you may be able to tell, we had our job done on the cheap with a drop in sink and a seam where the two legs of the "L" cross. If I had to do it again, I would spend more for a fully integrated sink and corner. We had to "cut" the corner of the counter adjacent to the refrigerator to accommodate the arc of the refrigerator door. We cut the other corner near the oven for symmetry. Have a look:

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 11:31PM
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Mine go in this week. I paid to have them pre-scratched :) So we'll start with patina. They're very complicated, with wonky walls, a inset (3" set in sink cabinet on a corner) and a bump out at the range sides...then I also included a corner sink (integrated) and a higher counter in the back of the corner...and just to really test their skills...I had a drain board added into the corner sink...and a modified soft marine edge LOL They have been out twice to fit (given the funky walls etc).

The local fabricator is fabulous. I love the mix of stainless which will compliment our granite. It's on our "working" counter...and I can't wait to see it!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 1:51AM
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That is how I picture in my head what I want (certainly my DH is cringing at what he is picturing in his head for the $$$$, but you only live once!!).
Your kitchen is jaw-dropping gorgeous!

Boy, some very talented and visual people here...makes me want to move in with some of you ;-)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 9:53AM
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Soigne - Thanks for the pic. I wondered how a seam would work. I don't mind the drop in sink at all. I just love the clean look of the stainless. The butcher block counter adds warmth to the kitchen. I love the two combined with the white cabinets! Thanks.

Keep the pics coming! I love it!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 9:57AM
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I feel like I've been waiting about a year to see igloo's stainless counters! And I'm sure she's been waiting longer than that! (Had I known she was paying to have them prescratched, I would have offered to fly my two boys up to do the job cheap. It's high time they earned their keep, and scratching things is their specialty.)

I love love love stainless counters. Only thing I love more is zinc counters!

Does anyone have close up photos of patina?



    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 1:05PM
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Yep, we've got 'em also. We went with stainless steel because we wanted something that, above all else, was practical. We have a busy kitchen. My wife and I both cook regularly, and our roommate is a professional cook/aspiring chef. We wanted a countertop that would be easy to clean and maintain. We also wanted something that would give our kitchen a professional look. One thing we did not want was granite, which we felt was everywhere in San Francisco; we wanted something more unique, but not crazy. The only other material we researched was soapstone; we liked the look, but not as much as stainless, and soapstone came in higher on price.

Our kitchen is small. We have just under 16 feet of countertops, and our fabricator was able to fabricate and install the 16-gauge countertops with a 4" backsplash/sidesplash and integrated double sink for just over $3,000. The plywood substrate was installed by our general contractor.

After about a month of use, we are quite happy with our choices. I've begun to set hot pots and pans on them, which I've never done before in any other kitchen. The counters are incredibly easy to clean also. We are definitely still breaking them in. Scratches, which we were prepared to accept, are gradually appearing. We don't really think about it. But if you're the kind of person who obsesses over minor imperfections, this is definitely not the material for you.

The other day, our roommate left us a note. He used a permanent marker, and the note bled through the paper onto the countertops, leaving a bunch of red scribbles on the surface. I was horrified at first, but relieved when a couple wipes with stainless cleaner lifted the markings right off and left the countertop as good as new!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 2:47PM
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Any recommendation for local fabricators in Mass/suburb Boston?
I had started some fabricators and am not successful, so far.

gizmonike: I drool every time I see your kitchen.
I wonder: how does it looks every day? Is everything put away (since you have so much storage), so the counters look this perfect?
I'm so in love/envious!!!

igloochic: wow: you are truly testing their skills. I can't wait to see yours.
I also want to do a drain board, but I also want to depress/slope the area where the faucet/soap dispenser are, so that when I reach there w/ soapy/wet hands, all the water/soap will drain down into the sink, w/out getting the counters wet. We had that at my parents' Chinese restaurant. you think that slope feature make my kitchen look too industrial (an issue w/ DH)?


    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 4:20PM
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Every time one of you shares pictures of your gorgeous kitchens, I am more positive that SS is the right choice for me--much appreciated. Totally, totally awesome rhome, gizmonike, soigne and tofu dog!!!

fori-many thanks for the lead on MCM.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 5:29PM
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Fori is not pleased

Tofu dog! Your turn--who in SF area did YOUR counters? I'm not ordering them from Michigan this time! :D

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 5:51PM
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We used a little shop called Industrialists, located in the Castro/Eureka Valley area of San Francisco, that we found through Craigslist. Their bread and butter is stainless steel furniture, but they are branching out into more kitchen work. We were quite happy with the quality of their work, and the price was almost half as much as the next proposal. The owner knows his stuff and is very detail-oriented, which we appreciated. He did have some difficulties providing accurate estimates of completion times, though; the original estimate was 2-3 weeks, but it ended up taking five weeks from measurement to install. But putting up with the wait time was well worth the money we saved, and like I said, the quality of the fabrication was excellent.

Here is a link that might be useful: Industrialists

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 7:05PM
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Fori is not pleased


    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 7:39PM
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AARRgghh!! Just got a quote for 12' of stainless steel counters for $6000!!!! Tofu Dog, was wondering if you could share the price you paid and how much counter space you have. I wonder if they ship.


I'm almost ready to look at Ikea's stainless counters.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 7:05PM
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That's nutz, Malhgold. Possibly you could retrofit something?

These 12' SS worktables, 14 & 16 ga, 24'' or 30'' wide run from $1400-$1600.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stainless Steel worktables

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 8:32AM
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That is nuts!!! Waiting to hear from a couple of local steel fabricators that say they do residential counters. Keeping my fingers crossed!!!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 9:11AM
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There are pics of my counters here:

scroll down to Open-Shelf Eurosplash Kitchen

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 9:43AM
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Amanda, do that lower area for your sink! It's the only thing I didn't incorporate and I kick myself for it. I had planned on that and forgot and then it was too late. We're ok because I have a raised shelf right behind the faucets, which will keep the water close, and if it runs, it will go towards the sloped board, but still...I love that look and don't think it would be too "professional" at all!!!

The countertop guys haven't called so my GC called them. They said they're too busy to install this week. He said that wasn't ok and they'd be hearing from me. I'm going there first thing this morning. I have a time crunch with the tile guy and the counters are either going in today or tomorrow or I'll tell them I'm putting in granite and they can keep the counters (ok I wont do that but I do need them installed).

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 12:45PM
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Regarding price, I was chatting with the owner of a metal fabrication shop a few weeks ago. With increased demand around the world and everything else that's going on, prices have been going up, and up. Here in Georgia he'd have had (i.e., then) to bid a nicely constructed counter at $40 to $50 per square foot, but since prices are all over the place for sheet stainless he'd have driven back to the shop hoping his profit margin didn't disappear between quote and order.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 5:33PM
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As far as cost, it also makes a difference how large a sheet you need for your job. One of our countertops was 127" long, which necessitated a 12' long sheet to avoid a seam. The larger sheets apparently cost more per square foot. In addition, where the stainless steel is manufactured also makes a difference. Our fabricator insisted on Japanese steel, which he said was the highest quality. We were, like, sure, what do we know? In the end, we ended up paying about $70-$75 per square foot, fabricated and installed.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 6:39PM
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I only need 2 6' long sections. I understand prices going up and all, but $6000 for 2 6' long sections is ridiculous to me.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 6:43PM
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For those of you that purchased a separate sink and had the sink integrated into the stainless, is there any sort of seam or is it completely flush? Can you see where the welding happened? I have found one place that will do this but I want to know what I should expect from the sink being welded. Thanks

tofu dog-excuse my ignorance, so the counter that came to your house was just the stainless and then they installed it over the plywood or was there some other material that the stainless was applied to? Hope this makes sense. Thanks

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 1:30PM
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I don't know if this info helps anyone: the one fabricator I've found so far would only integrate with his sinks that he fabricates in-house, or with a Franke sink of 14 (or 16) gauge, but nothing else. He couldn't vouch for some low/lower quality sink to be integrated with the stainless steel counters that he fabricates.

I don't know about sink seams yet.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 3:07PM
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Our integrated sink (see photo posted earlier above) is a Julien sink welded into our countertop. We can't see an obvious seam, just a nice smooth brushed edge. Even where two runs of countertop meet in the corner, we do not see a weld--it's flush & smooth, just a line.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 4:54PM
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gizmonike, wondering if it was ok with you for me to send a pic of your sink/counter to a fabricator I have found. i want to make sure mine would look the same as yours. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 4:58PM
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Our sink was an off-the-shelf, 18 gauge undermount sink. Our fabricator welded it into the countertop, and you really can't tell that they were ever separate. No seams, nice clean lines. You can judge for yourself!

It's true that you can't integrate just any sink. It has to be a certain thickness and quality in order to weld it onto the countertop, and the sink manufacturers' specs don't necessarily tell the whole story. The sink may have been made out of 18 or 16 gauge steel, but after it's stamped and stretched into shape, it may no longer be that thick. When we first met up with our fabricator, he was complaining about having just welded a Franke sink into a countertop, because there was so little material to work with, the sink having been thinned out quite a bit during manufacture. The sink we ultimately went with happened to be in the fabricator's shop already, so we bought it off him, and he knew he could weld it.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 5:01PM
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Thanks tofu dog. One of the fabricators I've found said they use blue foam insulation as the substrate. No idea if that's good or not. They just emailed me a couple of photos of sinks they welded into countertops and they look pretty seamless. He said he's about $100 sq/ft. I live in the NYC suburbs, so I'm not surprised. But that's better than the $6000 I was quoted from someone else.

Is there a slight lip on your edge or is it flat?

Watch, after all this DH will tell me he doesn't like SS counters!!!

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 6:45PM
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