Countertop Cost Guides

Countertops are the ambassador to the rest of your kitchen’s décor. Your flooring, backsplash, cabinets, wall color and appliances are all accented — and introduced — by your choice of countertops. So how do you tie your kitchen together with the perfect countertop material? By knowing exactly which kind of countertops work best for your kitchen — and its looks. Here’s a quick guide to the materials, costs and designs that will help you make the perfect decision when it comes to your new countertops.

What to Consider

Budget

The modern world of countertops is vast, both in terms of available looks and price points. In order to sift through your options and make the right decision, it’s important that you start out with finalizing your budget. Understanding how much you have to spend will narrow your options and help you make calculated decisions.

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  • Install Countertops Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $1,874 - $4,086
    Average cost:
    $2,904
    Low cost:
    $400
     
    High cost:
    $7,000
  • Repair Countertops Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $207 - $506
    Average cost:
    $346
    Low cost:
    $100
     
    High cost:
    $850
  • Install Laminate Countertops Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $789 - $1,611
    Average cost:
    $1,170
    Low cost:
    $400
     
    High cost:
    $2,500

Fortunately, you don’t need to have a material or design in mind in order to finalize your budget — that will come later. Instead, think about how much you can comfortably spend on new countertops. It’s also important to factor in the possibility of resale value. You may not plan on selling your house right now, but you might in the future — and choosing exotic or highly design-oriented countertops could harm the resale value of your home.

Kitchen Countertop Materials

Advances in manufacturing and material science have produced a suite of countertop materials that look great and don’t cost a fortune. Here’s a look at some time-honored materials — and some new alternatives that are changing the way homeowners look at countertops.

Laminate: Today’s laminate isn’t the bubbled Formica countertop you had growing up. In fact, there’s an almost endless supply of attractive laminate options that look like a wide variety more expensive countertop materials (for a fraction of the price). What’s the cost? Our True Cost Guide shows a median price of $3,000-$4,000 (prices depend on the size and quality of laminate).

Marble: Like granite, marble is a classic choice for high-end countertops. But, unlike granite, marble is highly susceptible to stains and etching, which can be pretty upsetting after shelling out the cash to have it installed. What’s the cost? Our True Cost Guide shows a median price of $4,000-$7,000 (prices depend on the size and quality of marble).

Quartz: Silestone or CaesarStoneCaesarstone (the brand names typically associated with quartz) are the “plug-and-play” alternatives to marble and granite. While quartz is still expensive, it doesn’t require the sealing or constant maintenance that other materials do. What’s the cost? Our True Cost Guide shows a median price of $5,900-$14,000 (prices depend on the size and quality of quartz).

Butcher Block: In terms of value, it doesn’t get much better than butcher block. While upkeep is a must with these countertops (oiling is required every six months), the price-to-impact ratio makes them extremely attractive to many homeowners. What’s the cost? Our True Cost Guide shows a median price of $1,700-$3,100 (prices depend on the size and quality of butcher block).

Solid Surface: It’s all fun and games until something gets scratched — a lesson many solid surface (or Corian) countertop owners found out the hard way. While solid surface has been a popular choice in the past (and still looks great today), many homeowners have turned to other alternatives because of the potential scratching. What’s the cost? Our True Cost Guide shows a median price of $2,200-$5,000 (prices depend on the size and quality of Corian).

Stainless Steel: If you’re a serious cook (or just like the sleek look), stainless is a great choice. While stainless is practically indestructible (wine, beets and acidic liquids are no match), avoiding scratches and smears (finger prints and small crumbs become immediately apparent) can be difficult. What’s the cost? Our True Cost Guide shows a median price of $2,000-$7,000 (prices depend on the size and quality of stainless steel).

Granite: Granite is still king for a reason: it looks great, it doesn’t require massive amounts of upkeep and when compared to other natural stones (slate, soapstone, quartz), its costs are reasonable. While granite’s popularity has been waning slightly, it’s adoration among homeowners still soars (prices depend on the size and quality of granite).

Composite: Composite, or eco-friendly, countertops are made from materials like recycled paper and are bacteria, stain, heat and scratch resistant. In addition to durability, these countertops also don’t emit radon gas, are free of VOCs and food safe. Composite countertops do require some sealing and specialized maintenance. What’s the cost? Our True Cost Guide shows a median price of $90-$130 per square foot.

Matching with Kitchen Cabinets

It’s also important to consider how your countertops will match with your cabinets. Most homeowners choose one of two approaches: Matching and contrasting designs:

Matching: A matching cabinet-countertop combination isn’t an exact match in terms of color. Instead, many homeowners blend similar color tones like light gray countertops with light or white quartz countertops. A matching aesthetic gives your kitchen a feeling of continuity and can open up small spaces.

Contrasting: Contrasting designs rely on the interaction between two complementary materials to create an engaging, dynamic aesthetic. For example: Slate countertops in an all-white or gray kitchen will expand its depth — and help hide messes. If you’re considering darker cabinets, stainless steel, solid surface or even laminate countertops in a lighter shade will give your kitchen an exciting dash of elegance.

Adding Resale Value

Choosing the right countertop material will add to the value of your home and increase its appeal on the market. On the other hand, loud, trendy and eclectic countertops can diminish your investment and turn away potential buyers. When you’re looking for new countertops, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a professional. A countertop pro or interior decorator/designer — even a realtor — will understand current trends and help you choose a material that will complement your home’s décor and value.

Countertop Installation: Average Cost: $2,667

Installing countertops is a difficult and time consuming job. Unless you have experience with countertop installation, it’s a good idea to hire a professional. Also, certain materials require specialized installation and treatments before they’re safe to use.

If you’re working with a smaller budget, tackling the demolition and removal of your old countertops is a fairly simple job. It’s a good idea to check for electrical, gas or ventilation lines that might run near your countertops before you tear anything out. Also, if you’re only removing your counters, be careful not to damage your cabinets. Certain materials like granite, concrete and tile are difficult to haul away, so it’s a good idea to hire a professional removal service before you begin demolition.

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