5 ways to do stainless steel counter tops in your kitchen

stainless steel sinksOur recent story on Stacia’s one-piece, custom kitchen stainless steel sink and counter top reminded us about just how many stories we’ve covered on stainless steel counter tops here on Retro Renovation. This topic was begging for a round up — so without further adieu — here are 5 ideas for how to incorporate a stainless steel counter top in your mid century kitchen.

BE AWARE UPDATE: A reader commented that his contractor would not install a stainless steel countertop in his kitchen — the contractor said that the building code would not permit this metal countertop in residential uses. I am not an expert. Consult with your own properly licensed professional(s) to assess this issue so you can make your own informed decisions.

retro-modern-stainless-steel-drain-board-sinkAbove: #1 — Completely custom, all one piece, including integral sink: That’s what Stacia ordered.

stainless-steel-countertop#2 — DIY stainless steel counter to with drop-in sink — Remember reader Linn’s fabulous DIY stainless steel counter top — that she installed herself saving thousands of dollars? She used a drop in stainless sink along with her custom counter instead of a custom one piece like Stacia. Linn even has very detailed instructions showing how to install a stainless steel counter top and save yourself hundreds if not thousands of dollars over on her blog The Home Project.

elkay-stainless-steel-drainboard-sink#3 — Elkay stainless steel drainboard sinks. Of course — being the researcher she is — Pam found that you can still buy 8 different kinds of new Elkay Lustertone drainboard sinks for your mid century kitchen remodel. These tend to be a bit on the pricey side so save your pennies — or you can always try to hunt down a vintage Elkay sink to save some big money.

drainboard-sinks-metal-and-porcelain-3We can even see one of these new Elkay sinks in action — thanks to reader Joe’s sink project. Joe replaced his badly worn porcelain drainboard sink — which had already had one failed resurfacing attempt — with a new Elkay stainless steel drainboard sink. The results are just stunning.

ikea-bolhomen-sink#4 — Ikea stainless steel drainboard. For those who are trying to replace their kitchen drainboard sinks on the cheap and cheerful, why not try Ikea’s line of BOHOLMEN stainless steel sinks. A cross between modern and retro — with an affordable price tag. But, you will need to mount the faucet in the counter top (not a good idea if you have laminate) or on the backsplash.

#5 — Edge flat stainless steel with stainless steel edging. And yes, even Pam has incorporated stainless steel counter top into her kitchen — as she shows us in her counter top video. The stainless steel segment starts at minute 5:00.

So there you have it — 5 great ideas to incorporate a little bit of retro appropriate bling (in the form of stainless steel) — into your kitchen countertop.


Of course, even if you don’t want a stainless steel counter top, you can consider a stainless steel sink. Yes, they did them in the way back time machine mid century days. One of our all-time favorite kitchen woddities: the fabulous Elkay stainless steel kitchen Console with built in florescent light. Water + electricity? A shocking combination for sure — watch out!

See all our stories about ideas for retro kitchen counter tops here.

  1. RC Paulsen says:

    I planned to replace the porcelained steel countertop/sink in my kitchen with stainless steel. The building inspector told me the local building code didn’t allow stainless steel counters in residential kitchens because they present a shock hazard. The rationale was that the steel could become energized by a faulty ungrounded appliance. I asked why stainless is allowed in commercial kitchens, and he told me the ones in restaurants are grounded. I told him I would happy to run a grounding wire to the breaker box, or to an outdoor grounding rod, but he said he wouldn’t allow it. Anyone planning to install stainless countertops would be wise to check their local building codes ahead of time.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Thanks for your comment, RC. READERS: I am not an expert. Consult with your own properly licensed professional(s) to assess this issue so you can make your own informed decisions.

  2. Melissa says:

    Historical Pam, Do you happen to know if there were stainless countertops used in the 30s and early 40s with the early steel cabinets? If not, what was the countertop of choice in the early 40s.

    1. sherree says:

      Hi Nina, we were just at IKEA a few weeks ago and there are several drainboard sinks available there (I think 4). Try looking on their website.

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