The edges of your kitchen countertops are more than just decorative features: They serve as the last line of defense between countertop spills and your kitchen floor. Of course, the key to preventing spills and drips on any type of surface is to use caution and avoid placing containers at precarious angles. However, there are several solutions that can specifically help contain spills on the countertop.
Built-In No-Drip Edge
Also known as a marine edge, a no-drip edge has a raised surface or bump that runs along the outer perimeter of a countertop. This raised surface can block fluids from spilling over and dripping onto the kitchen floor. Manufacturers commonly incorporate no-drip edges into the design of post-formed countertops, which are prefabricated laminate counters with particleboard substrates.
Built-in no-drip edges come in a number of styles. For example, a pass-through no-drip edge has a raised top surface that directly adjoins the flat, front-facing surface of the counter's edge. This creates a sharp, angular look. With other styles of no-drip edge, however, the raised top surface flattens out before meeting the flat, front-facing edge surface, which creates a more gradual look. Still other no-drip edges styles -- like a bull nose no-drip edge -- have rounded rather than flat front-facing surfaces.
Adding a No-Drip Edge
If your kitchen counters lack built-in no-drip edges and you do not want to replace them, an alternative solution is to add no-drip edges to the existing countertops. To do this, you must cut out a continuous rabbet, or step-shaped recess, along the front top edges of the counters. You can then secure a no-drip edge into the rabbet with glue and use clamps to hold the edge in place until the glue dries. The downside of adding a no-drip edge to your countertops is that it will have a disjointed appearance in comparison to more uniform, built-in no-drip edges.
Drip grooves are continuous cuts or channels that run along the bottom surface of the edge of the counters. The grooves are typically located half an inch to an inch in front of the kitchen cabinets, below the countertops. Unlike a no-drip edge, a drip groove does not prevent spills and drips from reaching the floor. Instead, the groove prevents liquids that do flow over the front edge of the counter from following the underside of the countertop and reaching the underlying cabinets. By preventing spills and drips from reaching the cabinets, the drip groove helps prevent damage from rot or mold. While you can purchase countertop edges that have built-in drip grooves, you can also add the grooves using a rotary tool.
Selecting Porous Countertop Materials
A porous countertop edge, such as one that consists of wood or concrete, absorbs spills and drips better than nonporous edges, such as those made of laminate or marble. However, while this absorption may help prevent spills and drips from reaching kitchen floors, it can also cause bacteria to become trapped in your countertops.