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A Guide to Buying or Building Bar Tops

A Guide to Buying or Building Bar Tops

Bar tops are essentially countertops, but are higher than and not as deep as a kitchen counter. Bar tops can be made of as many different materials as can be chosen for a counter, but because of the nature of a bar top some choices may work better than others.

The classic bar top that you will see in most bars is made of wood. These bar tops can be either a solid wood surface or a butcher block style. They are usually finished with a sealant to prevent water damage. Solid wood bar tops can be expensive, while butcher block is a little more affordable. Wood makes a beautiful bar surface that gleams when polished and creates a warm pub atmosphere. The downside to wood is that it can scratch and stain, and may need to be refinished regularly due to such damage.

Another popular choice for bar tops are solid surface, natural stone options like granite and quartz. Granite has recently become the top choice in kitchen counters due to its durability, beauty and easy cleaning. These same factors make it a great choice for a bar top. Granite and quartz are cut in slabs, and because of the relatively small surface space required by a bar top, a remnant from a larger project may be available at a low cost, making this generally expensive choice much more affordable.

Created solid surface bar tops such as Corian are a beautiful and easy to clean choice as well; however, the cost of such surfaces is very high, and many places have a minimum charge that goes beyond what you should pay for a piece the size of a bar top. Corian also scratches, and does not withstand heat, so you can’t put anything hot on top of it.

Another option for a bar top is stainless steel. This is a very hardy and easy to clean material, but does lend a somewhat industrial air to the room, which may not be what you are seeking. Laminate surfaces such as Formica can be used, but the finished edges aren’t usually the best look for a bar. Finally, bar tops can be built using tile, which offers a wide variety of looks and styles, but does mean grout that requires cleaning.

In some cases, you can build your own bar top if you have the right skills and tools. Wood bar tops are relatively easy to cut, sand and stain. If you have skill with laying tile, you might find this the best way to create your bar top. How the bar is installed depends on the place you plan to put it – whether it will meet a wall on one or both ends, or if it is freestanding. Securing the bar top can be done via an underlying piece of plywood, or brackets underneath.

Bar tops come in all styles, colors and materials to suit every budget and décor. Whether you buy or build your bar top depends on what sort of look you want to achieve.

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