Stainless steel is the ideal surface for diverse kitchen chores and food preparation and a stainless steel benchtop can enhance the look of your kitchen with its smart, clean characteristics. As a material, stainless steel is highly popular due to its hygienic, corrosion-free and durable nature. An easy cleaning process makes stainless steel a highly desirable surface for commercial and residential use.
Stainless steel is available in various different gauges ranging from 14 – 20 with the lower gauges being thicker, stronger, and more expensive. Most restaurant kitchens, for example, use 14-gauge steel whereas 16 – 18 gauge steel is perfectly fine for residential use. The most commonly used type is 304 stainless steel as it can be welded without affecting its strength or durability. The most popular finish for countertops is brushed finish, however, a variety of alternative finishes are available such as satin, antique matte, and mirror polish.
If you are prepared to spend the time and effort on doing some of the work yourself, it is possible to get a brand new kitchen benchtop that is modern and durable and at the same time save a fortune. By doing the measurements and installation yourself you can cut down the cost significantly allowing your local sheet metal shop to fit the stainless steel benchtop according to a plywood template you provide.
DIY Guide for Making a Stainless Steel Benchtop
• Step 1
Take accurate measurements of the benchtop you wish to cover.
If it is an island base measure the width and length of the top and add one and a half inches to the measurement for an overhang around the perimeter.
If it is a sink benchtop, you will have to remove the sink first before taking exact measurements.
• Step 2
Purchase a piece of plywood according to the size you have measured and cut it to fit the benchtop. If necessary, cut out the section where the sink fits in.
• Step 3
When you are satisfied that the piece of plywood fits snugly, take it to your local sheet metal shop where they will cut and bend a piece stainless steel in your preferred gauge (usually 20 gauge for residential use) to perfectly fit onto the piece of plywood.
• Step 4
Carefully place the custom made plywood benchtop on top of the base. If it is an island base, centre it accurately by making use of a stick ruler or tape measure. If it is an island base, stabilize the benchtop by applying pressure. If you have a partner get him or her to sit on the benchtop to prevent it from moving while you are inserting the screws.
You can use adhesive to secure the plywood to the base.
Using 1-1/4 inch wood screws attach the benchtop to the base with a cordless screw gun, making sure that the screws are no longer than the depth of the base to prevent them from popping through the top.
If you have used adhesive, put some weights on the top and let everything settle overnight before using it.
If it is a sink top, use clamps on the corners and edges to ensure it sticks properly.
All in all, installing your own stainless steel benchtop is a fairly easy project that anyone can do. It does not take long and the result is extremely satisfying. A stainless steel benchtop is super easy to clean and maintain. All it needs is a soft cloth to bring out the shine. And, compared to other benchtop materials, you don’t have to be as careful as nothing will cause it to stain and water won’t leave lasting spots. You can even put hot pans directly from the stove onto it without any damage. It won’t chip like some natural materials and it is non-porous so stains can’t permeate and become permanent.
The clean look of stainless steel works well in both contemporary and traditional style kitchens and by doing the installation yourself you can save a lot of money. Stainless steel reflects light so it will brighten your kitchen, especially if it needs extra light. If you would like to mute the sound in your kitchen, choose a lower gauge steel closer to 14 as it will mute most of the clanging noises associated with kitchen work.