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What Are Countertop Corbels?

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  • Written By: Christian Petersen
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A corbel is an architectural or structural element that is used to support an overhanging ledge by transferring the load of the overhanging horizontal surface to the vertical surface of the wall or other supporting structure. A countertop corbel is specifically designed to be used for this purpose with countertops, particularly in home design and most often in kitchens. Countertop corbels may be decorative, functional or both and can take many shapes. A typical basic shape is of a right triangle, with the right angle situated where the vertical and horizontal surfaces meet. The corbel typically extends outward and downward from this point with the downward element usually extending further than the horizontal element and is attached to both the horizontal and vertical surfaces by mechanical means, adhesives, or both.

Countertop corbels can provide an important structural element to the overhanging countertops that are often found in homes or other buildings. Bars, pass-through windows, and other counters with pull-up seating often use corbels. While the appearance of countertop corbels can vary widely, the basic principle is the same for all such supports. Countertop corbels are essentially L-shaped brackets that are attached to the vertical surface under the counter with the right angle of the L situated at the point where the counter and the vertical surface meet. The weight of the overhanging counter is transferred to the part of the corbel attached to the vertical surface.

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Shapes and designs for countertop corbels also vary widely. The simplest are basic L-shaped brackets, but they can be elaborate decorative elements with scrolling, carvings, decorative wrought iron, and an almost infinite variety of color combinations, shapes, and materials. The specific design elements of countertop corbels are most often chosen according to an overall design or architectural theme of the space in which they are found and can add a pleasing accent to the look of a room in addition to functionality.

Wood, stone, metal, and cast materials, such as resin or concrete, may be used for countertop corbels. They are often painted or finished to match the counter or other structural elements in the area where installed. Corbels may also be coordinated with bar stools or chairs intended for use at the counter.

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