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Choosing the Correct Countertop Thickness: 2cm vs 3cm

Choosing the Correct Countertop Thickness: 2cm vs 3cm

October 10, 2018

How thick should your countertop be? It seems like a minor detail, but this decision will impact several aspects of your project, including the labor required to install your surfaces, their durability, pricing, aesthetic, and other factors.


How thick should your countertop be? It seems like a minor detail, but this decision will impact several aspects of your project, including the labor required to install your surfaces, their durability, pricing, aesthetic, and other factors.

The most common material thicknesses are 2cm and 3cm. There are benefits to both options, and your decision should ultimately depend on the application of your slab. Many fabricators have a certain thickness that they prefer to work with due to comparative durability or ease of installation, but the advantages to each option may surprise you, so take the time to consider your lifestyle and preferences to help guide your decision.

Overview – Thick vs Thin Surfaces

Here are some considerations when deciding between a thinner profile vs a thicker one.

Durability

As expected, a thicker material can withstand more weight. For countertops, tabletops, and other horizontal applications, this means there’s less concern about damage from setting heavy items on the surface. If you’re designing an eat-in kitchen with a breakfast bar, opting for a streamlined profile will require additional reinforcement, like brackets, to minimize the chance of breaking or cracking for the overhang. However, if the countertops don’t include an overhang and the kitchen doesn’t get as much traffic, this would be less of a concern, especially considering the enhanced durability of many modern surfaces.

Bulk

One of the benefits of a thinner cut of stone is that it won’t add as much weight or bulk to your application – a big benefit for those renovating. If you’re using the stone as a wall covering or surround, a thinner option can be applied over wallpaper or existing material without losing much space, which saves the homeowner from having to tear out the old tile or wallpaper and haul away the waste. Although the extra half-inch between a 2cm and 3cm slab may not seem substantial, in projects like kitchen backsplashes, you wouldn’t want the tile to come too far out and lose precious countertop space. This is less of a consideration when used for countertops, but it’s still a factor to keep in mind.

Weight

Heavy material can put extra wear and tear on your home or surfaces, especially if used throughout a room. Older homes may be particularly sensitive to the installation of heavy materials, especially if the home’s foundation has already begun to deteriorate. A thinner application means that there is less weight to account for.

Edges

If you’re using a 2cm slab as a countertop, a thin strip of the material will be applied around the countertop’s perimeter before the profile is cut in order to make it appear thicker. This is a popular look, but be sure your client is aware that the seam will be visible. For thicker profile options, since the edge does not need to be laminated, they can be fabricated into a broad range of edge profiles to customize your look. While many of the simpler options or more rustic edges can be used for any thickness, many of the stacked, ornate edges require a thicker countertop to create drama and glamour.

Price

Less material can save money on your material costs for the project, and transportation costs, since 2cm slabs require less space and don’t put as much wear on vehicles. Labor costs may go down as well, depending on the stone. That said, one concern for thin slabs of fragile stones is that they may require more care – and therefore more fabricators – to prevent damage. With thicker options, the installation process can actually be simple, since stronger slabs don’t need to be handled with as much deliberate care. Once installed, 2cm countertops often require some sort of decking, like plywood, to provide extra support, which adds an extra step to the process.


Featured Surface: Antolini Natural Stone

Antolini Luigi & C is the top producer of quality natural stone, leading the way in technology, quality, and customer service. With more than 60 years in the natural stone industry, the Verona, Italy-based company is a worldwide distributor of natural stone.

Antolini merges a respect for the history and story of each slab with openness to outside-the-box thinking that allows the company to grow and advance with new technologies for the natural stone industry. “Constantly evolving, the company has always supported new technology and development in natural stone processing – without forgetting the importance of quality,” Antolini’s story states. That commitment to technology enables Antolini to offer high quality stones that are perfected using their exclusive methods.

Natural stone is available in either 2cm or 3cm options.

2cm

2cm natural stone surfaces are ideal for vertical applications such as backsplashes, fireplace surrounds, wall cladding, shower surrounds, and more. These uses don’t require the surface to withstand a great deal of weight or heavy wear, so the decreased durability from a thinner stone won’t compromise safety or longevity.

When used for countertops, a streamlined profile helps create a contemporary, minimalistic aesthetic. It also uses fewer resources, both in transport (since more slabs can be carried at the same time) and overall material cost.

3cm

This is the classic, luxurious profile for stone countertops and other horizontal applications, including tabletops, bar tops, stairs, shelves, and more. The added thickness can withstand heavier weight, making it well suited for applications that experience plenty of traffic. Thicker surfaces offer additional opportunities for elegant and ornate edge profiles, which can add interest to any room, and offers the perfect finishing touch to a surface. Homeowners who truly want to make the most of their stone are more likely to opt for the 3cm thickness.

2cm Countertop Edge Closeup

2cm versus 3cm Natural Stone Thickness


Featured Surface: Cambria Quartz

Cambria quartz offers the best of natural stone, enhanced for modern life. Each of the 150+ designs are perfected by Cambria to embrace the beauty of natural quartz, with enhanced durability. Cambria products are harder than granite or marble, rated a 7 out of 10 on the Mohs scale, so their surfaces are unlikely to crack or scratch. They’re also heat-resistant, nonporous, easy to clean, and virtually maintenance-free. There is no need to use special cleaning solutions or have the surface sealed – a little soap and water will keep your counters looking brand new. In fact, due to Cambria’s durability, the surface can be used throughout various applications in a residential or commercial space – from tabletops, to fireplace surrounds, and beyond.

Cambria’s surfaces are consistently perfect, making them convenient for future renovations or add-ons to a home or office. As a property owner may want to make changes to their current home or office layout, they need not worry about finding a matching slab of marble or granite to suit their new surface space; Cambria slabs are consistent and can always be matched exactly, so there is uniformity among each surface. An additional benefit to this consistency is that you can be certain that your sample will look the same as a larger slab used for your countertop. Take a sample to any home or business and get a better look at how it works with the light, paint colors, cabinetry, and your overall design aesthetic, without worrying about being surprised by the final product.

Here are the thickness options for Cambria quartz, as well as the preferred applications for each.

2cm

As with natural stone, this option allows you to use Cambria all over your home without adding weight. Cambria products are ideal for a wide variety of applications, from walls and floors to kitchens and baths. Plus, when using a highly durable surface like Cambria, concerns regarding durability are largely put to rest, since the surface is harder than granite or marble and thus can stand up to heavy traffic and use.

2cm Edges

Cambria Shale Edge

Shale Edge | Stone Featured: Dunmore™ by Cambria

Cambria Seacliff Edge

Seacliff Edge | Stone Featured: Windermere™ by Cambria

Cambria Summit Edge

Summit Edge | Stone Featured: Daron™ by Cambria

3cm

Although Cambria quartz already features enhanced resilience, the thicker slabs give additional peace of mind. They also allow for a broader array of edge profile options, including the more dramatic options of Cambria’s nineteen total choices, many of which require a thicker slab.

3cm Edges

Cambria Ledge Edge

Ledge Edge | Stone Featured: Wellington™ by Cambria

Cambria Treeline Edge

Treeline Edge | Stone Featured: Berkeley™ by Cambria

Cambria Basin Edge

Basin Edge | Stone Featured: Princetown™ by Cambria


Featured Surface: Neolith Sintered Compact Surfaces

Neolith Sintered Compact Surfaces are the result of years of research by parent company TheSize, in Spain. Profound dedication to innovation has resulted in technologies that make Neolith unmatched in the industry. Among the most important of these is the Sintering Technology, which subjects 100% natural materials to very high pressures and temperatures, creating unprecedented physical and mechanical features.

Neolith surfaces are made from three groups of elements: minerals from granite (quartz and feldspar) that provide the product with hardness and strength; minerals from glass and silica that provide chemical stability; and natural oxides that offer chromatic properties. All of Neolith’s surfaces combine the very best natural raw material with state-of-the-art sintering technology, to create high-tech, durable slabs that are resistant to scratching, stains, extreme temperature changes, moisture, high traffic, chemicals, and UV rays.

Neolith is a lightweight material, weighing only 7 lbs/sq ft in the 12mm thickness. This makes transportation much easier for fabricators and installers.

Neolith Recommended Countertop Thickness

NEOLITH® recommends the use of 12 and 20 mm thick slabs for countertops. These thicknesses make it possible to create several types of edging that match different design styles.

Neolith Recommended Radius for Edges

NEOLITH® recommends a radius of at least 2 mm. The greater the radius, the better it will bear any impacts, but there will also be more base color in the slab. In areas with a high risk of impact (sinks, for example), a 2 mm radius edging is recommended as this is the best option for the look and durability. The edging shown here can also be applied to angles.

Neolith Recommended Edge for Durability

NEOLITH® recommends using the following edge for NEOLITH® countertops. It is the perfect compromise between esthetics and functionality.

Edge Diagram 1

– Diagram recommended by Neolith

The edge is formed by a 2 mm bevel and by two rounded edges with a radius of 0.5 mm. The radius is barely visible but increases the edge impact resistance.

In high impact risk areas (sinks and dishwashers, for example), the edges could be as follows:

Area with a high risk of impact

Edge Diagram 2

The greater the radius, the better it will bear any impacts. Remember that the greater the bevel, the more base color in the slab.

The edges can be wet or dry polished using standard granite or marble discs.

Neolith Recommended Edges for Countertops

Rounded Edge

Neolith Rounded Edging Example

Round edging, R 2 mm


Angled Edge with Bevel

Neolith Angled Edging with Bevel

Angled edging with Bevel, 2 mm


Inverted Mitered Edge

Neolith Inverted Mitered Edge

Inverted mitered edge example

Due to the signature thinness and lightweight nature of Neolith, mitering the edges won’t add a great deal of weight or bulk that might put strain on cabinets. This option is ideal for designs in the Classtone collection, like Neolith’s Estatuario, Calacatta, or Blanco Carrara designs, to make the most of the natural stone look.

When you’re deciding on the perfect quality countertop for your space, visit the Mid-Atlantic’s largest distributor of natural stone surfaces, MARVA. Our team of highly trained Galleria Consultants can help you decide on the right design, thickness, and application for your next project. Start your journey to natural stone today.

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