Countertop edging is one of those decisions that is often overlooked when planning for a new kitchen! At the very last minute, the client is choosing a countertop edge that they think they like. We prefer to start the conversation early in the process because it is an important detail in your kitchen design.
Though there are many options for countertop edge profiles, we will discuss some of the most common.
As in design in general, we’ve seen countertop edge choices move to more simplistic styles in recent years. We don’t see this trend moving toward more complex edges anytime soon.
In 2020 and 2021, the most popular edge by far is an eased edge. This design has a simple ⅛” rounded edge on the top, and the bottom edge is square. Or, the bottom edge may also have an ⅛” rounded edge, which we would call a Double-Eased Edge. Some people refer to this as a Straight edge.
We’ve seen the Beveled edge grow in popularity more recently. This profile is a ¼’ or ½” cut taken at a 45-degree angle off the top edge, with a square bottom edge. It maintains very clean lines but allows the light to reflect off a surface cut at a different angle than the top and edge of the material. You can also have this same cut made on the bottom edge as well. We prefer to keep the bottom edge squared!
A half bullnose edge has a ¼-½” rounded top edge only, while a full bullnose edge matches that rounded edge on the bottom as well. We don’t prefer this edge in our kitchens, as we think there are other edge profiles that escalate the look and feel of your kitchen.
A Thumbnail edge is similar to a bullnose, but with one main difference that’s actually hard to describe. You almost have to feel it to really understand the difference. The thumbnail edge that we prefer has a distinct edge on both the top edge and bottom, with a very rounded middle. Rather than rounding the whole edge, the fabricator will bring the stone to a point on both sides, and only round the middle portion. We really like this look! It’s a great balance between the Eased edge and the bullnose edge.
For those who want a bit more jazz in the edge profile of your countertop, here are a few options. Again, we are seeing less of these in clients’ homes. But for more traditional kitchens, these are great options.
An ogee edge maintains a sharp top edge, then moves out approximately ½” with a cove cut. Then, at the end of the cove cut, there is a ½” rounded edge, and then it finishes with a square bottom edge.
A double ogee is exactly what it sounds like, instead of one cove cut in the edge, this design is duplicated and then the bottom portion is rounded toward a square bottom edge. This profile usually requires a build-up of the stone.
And Ogee bull is a standard ogee edge with a rounded bottom edge that matches the bottom of a bullnose edge profile.
Other Considerations: Buildup on Edge, and radius ends.
One way to escalate your kitchen is to make your countertop thicker, or what we would call building it up. Most countertops are 1 ¼” (or 3CM) thick. A built-up countertop will typically be 2 ½” (6CM) thick or more, which is double that of the typical countertop. This is accomplished either by doubling up the countertop at least 4” deep (not along the whole slab) or mitered along the edge to create a top as “thick” as desired.
Many times this is done only on the island and does not have to be applied to the entire kitchen.
We love this look, and highly recommend it if you like the look!
How we treat the corners of your island and other exposed ends of your countertops is also a consideration. If you do not request a certain radius, your fabricator will likely default to what they think is best. Sometimes, clients elect a radius corner of ¼” or so, which is basically a sharp 90-degree angle. Most clients prefer a “softer” corner of about 3”. This is not only an aesthetic decision, but ensures you do not smack your hip as you walk around your kitchen.
The edge detail of your countertop is an important and often overlooked aspect of designing your kitchen. Both aesthetics and functionality should play a role in your decision.