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Everything You Need To Know About Kitchen Countertops: An Interview with Tom Mather of Mather Countertop Systems

By Tom Mather

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Mather Countertop Systems is a second-generation counter fabrication shop specializing in thermoformed laminate, unique Corian (solid surface materials), as well as Granite, other natural stones, quartz, wood, bamboo and other materials. We do things other companies don't, won't or can't. I've been doing this myself for over 40 years and most on our staff have been here 15 years or longer. We are easily the most advanced countertop shop in the state. In some cases, the northeastern United States. We feel that quartz is the superior alternative to granite, but we provide everything. Laminate tops can be the most underrated material out there, especially the way we fabricate. Solid surface is making a well-deserved comeback.

What are the top things that a homeowner should consider before they choose a new countertop surface for their kitchen or bathroom?

The actual layout is important in determining the best material to use, but that's why you want a professional designing your new tops. Material recommendations are also defined by your cooking and usage habits. Do you, for instance, use a lot of sauces and other liquids? Do you roll dough, etc. One thing missing today that was common years ago is the sense of budget. There are truly good alternatives if you do not have the budget, or if the budget must be flexible amongst your other needs. We can help you out with that. Another factor to consider is if you want a countertop only replacement or if you are redoing the cabinets as well. It is hard to recommend a heavy top to sit on very old cabinets, or an expensive top if the cabinets will need to be replaced in a couple of years.

What countertop materials will give you the best quality? Are those materials also the most expensive?

In some cases, yes. Entry-level quartz will be more expensive than entry-level stone, but generally performs better. Also, if you choose a solid-surface (Corian) top, you will pay less for a set on splash than you will for a continuous coved splash, but the coved splash is a truly amazing option that you can't even get with quartz or stone. There are scratch-resistant laminates out there that give you a very high performance surface for a fraction of the cost for premium materials, like granite or quartz. We specialize in high-end laminate tops with rolled cove splashes. These are phenomenal tops for less. You can see examples on our website. On the other hand, many green or eco friendly tops may cost far more than other, better options.

What are the main advantages of working directly with a countertop manufacturer versus buying remade countertops from a hardware store?

Let me give you one example: You have a choice of installers - the one from the big box store may have two or three other installs to do that day. They can't make a profit at what they pay them if they don't. We will have yours and yours alone. If you run into a problem, do you want the one who needs to get out of there quickly, or the one who gives you the whole day and wants your referral?

Do any popular countertops have special requirements when it comes to maintenance and repair?

Almost every one. Some do not have much scratch resistance but can be resanded easily and are nonporous. Others need to be resealed periodically. Others should not be used outdoors due to ultraviolet light damage. All of these are premium materials. Ask us. We will let you know.

What advice would you give to homeowners in the Connecticut area who want to remodel their kitchen?

Always do your homework. Never believe everything you read on the Internet. Remember: To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. If you are a stone-only shop, stone is the best. If you are a laminate-only shop, why would anyone pay more? Ask us questions. That's what the better of us are here for. Importantly, you should feel confident in the people you talk to. If you don't, perhaps they are not the company for you. Don't think the guy who just came over from the paint department will give you the best countertop advice. How long have we been around? In our case, we are closing on 60 years. We must be doing something right.

To contact and/or find out more about this company, please visit their services directory profile.

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