It may surprise you to learn that counter heights are not set by building codes in your area. These design standards are actually set by studies that indicate the most comfortable dimensions for people of average height. Because they are determined using statistics, stock cabinets, windows, doors and other building elements use the same standards in determining height.
The industry standard for kitchen countertop height is about 36 inches above the floor. In fact, this standard is so universal, cabinetmakers build all cabinets to a height of 34-1/2 inches as the average countertop thickness is about an inch and a half.
Studies have shown that countertops that are about 36 inches above the floor are the most ergonomic, but it is also a compromise. Some tasks may be easier with a lower countertop while others may be easier with a higher countertop. It is also important to remember that this height is based on a person who is between 5’3” to 5’8”. If you are much taller or much shorter, this height may not be as ergonomic.
Although 36 inches is the most common height for a countertop, you do have the option of adjusting the height. If the majority of your family is over 6-feet tall, you may find a higher countertop works better. If your family tends to be shorter than 5’3,” a lower countertop may work better. However, this could mean that your cabinets will be more expensive as they will either need to be custom built or base stock cabinets will need to be altered. In addition, the change in height may make it more difficult to sell your home later.
People with Disabilities
If you or someone in your family is disabled, a 36-inch countertop may be impractical. You can have counters specifically designed for a disability, such as open base cabinets that allow you to roll a wheelchair beneath them. Countertops can be lowered to between 28 and 34 inches to accommodate a wheelchair but be sure that the width of the open section below them is at least 36 inches wide so that the wheelchair fits under the counter easily.
If you are considering a kitchen remodel, contact us today to learn more about custom countertops and cabinets. You can reach us by phone or complete the easy form online to learn more.