The question “what’s the cost of kitchen countertops” is a little like asking “what’s the cost of a car?” The answers are as varied as could be imagined, since kitchen countertops prices involve a vast array of differences, depending on materials used, square footage, installation and labor costs and basic design.
Since this article will discuss most price ranges existing in kitchen countertops cost, it’s probably a good idea to get the entire spectrum of kitchen countertops cost as an overview.
Average Cost Of Kitchen Countertops
Again, this is a bit like asking the average price of a car or a house, but the average range for kitchen countertops prices begins around $900 for the least expensive stone (and certainly no one expects to make a cutting surface countertop out of anything less expensive such as wood, tile or resin, although laminates of these are successful), and up to $6000 for the most expensive concrete, stainless steel or metal. This is a very rough estimate which can be affected by the market prices of materials, the hours for labor (which can be highly variable), the under-counter surfacing (usually a support of granite or resin) and the square footage of the kitchen surface to be covered; this last will always include a few odd measurements, such as corners, triangular pieces and rectangular cuts that will bring the price up.
Usually, also, kitchen countertops prices will remain high because they’re best installed by professionals; unless one is an utterly practiced and incredible do-it-yourself, one should probably not install one’s own kitchen countertop.
Kitchen Countertop Replacement Costs vs. Cost Of New Kitchen Countertops
Kitchen countertops costs are so high for most consumers that no one seriously considers replacing an entire countertop unless there is extensive damage; the cost of a new countertop is comparable to the same price range of $900 to $6000 and up, labor inclusive. However, there may be pieces or sections of a countertop one wishes to replace and that may not make the kitchen countertops prices so prohibitive.
In general, to price the replacement of a part of a kitchen countertop, one has to consider the square footage that needs to be replaced (add at least ½ that price to the existing price if it is a special rectangular or triangular cut) and the material to be used. A square foot of granite or a natural resin (an engineered blend of quartz and natural stone) runs anywhere from $5 to $160, depending on the material to be used. If one has a laminated countertop, whether a tile or wood finish, the average cost of a square foot of laminate replacement is between $8 and $30.
Tile countertops are the least expensive replacement piece: they can be as inexpensive as $1 per square foot, up to $250 at the higher end. Wood is similarly low on the scale of kitchen countertops cost, pricing at $30 per square foot up to $125 for higher grade materials.
Solid surface countertops (which are cut as one unit and replaced as one unit) cannot be easily cut to fit in order to replace a piece, since the entire slab of material is dependent upon its own structure; if, for example, one had a granite slab countertop with damage to one section, it would compromise the structure to cut out the damaged section and replace it; in addition, the aesthetic quality of the countertop is ruined by adding a newly joined piece.
Kitchen Countertop Options
Countertops for kitchens can be made of anything from tile to stone (including granite, concrete and resins—the latter are known as “created” or “engineered” stone, since they are manufactured with a blend of quartz and natural stones). Kitchen countertops cost runs generally from tile being the cheapest to stainless steel and concrete being the most expensive. The most popular surfaces are discussed below in terms of their pricing.
Kitchen Countertop Materials
Kitchen countertop materials generally are chosen based on their durability and aesthetic qualities, as well as their kitchen countertops cost ranges. Lower end pieces such as Laminate or solid surfaces have a typical price average of $25 per square foot, with an entire kitchen surface available at an average price of $1000 to $2500; the higher end materials such as granite, resin bases (quartz, for example), marble and concrete, average about $75 per square foot, with the average price of a kitchen countertop running about $3000 to $4000. The highest end specialty material countertops of copper and stainless steel can run to $6000 average and higher, at about $150 per square foot.
Cost By Type Of Material
Quartz countertops are created with real stone in combination with manmade compounds that fuse together, giving the surface and beauty of real stone with more durability and consistency than is possible with sheer granite or another untreated surface. Quartz countertops cost between $4 and $150 a square foot, but the average cost is $60 per square foot. Estimating a typical countertop size and space in an average home, that runs between $1800 and $2000. This figure assumes the normal cost of the material, of cutting the piece (done at the factory or, if the consumer is lucky, there is a pre-cut piece he can select) and one day labor to install. Quartz countertops probably remain the most frequently selected choice because they have the most reasonable prices for the cost of kitchen countertops, and they boast excellent long-lasting qualities.
Concrete countertops come custom-made, and are excellent (if more expensive than quartz) for high-end use. More expensive homes are usually architected with the concrete countertop in mind, since its prices are a premium to marble, granite and other natural stones. Concrete can also be crafted with unique colorings and designs, so its aesthetic value is thus greatly enhanced.
The standard cost for a concrete countertop is between $65 and $135 per square foot (assuming a regulation 1.5 inch thickness); its installation is between $40 and $50 per hour (figure at least a day for this installation). The kitchen countertops prices range for concrete is between $2500 and $7000 for an entire countertop. There is one substantial savings in that the consumer pays no shipping costs; virtually all countertop contractors install the products they make in their own area of marketing.
Granite countertops average between $50 and $200 per square foot; the typical kitchen countertops cost incurred for a granite installation is $4500 to $6000. However, it should be noted that granite countertops are contraindicated by many architects and designers; sheer non-laminated granite countertops will crack and fissure easily if too much pressure or heat is applied, and hot surfaces touching granite (such as a frying pan taken from the stove to set on the countertop) will dull the stone surface.
Corian, a manufactured polymer material made by DuPont, is less expensive than granite or quartz, because its manufacture is less costly and because it is more easily cut and shaped by installers for a faster installation. Corian is usually priced by the countertop rather than the square foot, since it is made to order in most cases. It ranges from $2200 (for an Abalone surface) to $3000 (the average cost of a Burnt Amber surface) to $3400 (the higher end Lava Rock surface).
Marble countertops are the high end of kitchen countertops prices, and rightfully so, since marble is the most durable of stone surfaces, and comes in the most attractive spectrum of colors for numerous aesthetic and decorator effects. It is definitely a “rich man’s” countertop, as the pricing keeps it out of most consumers’ affordability. Materials alone begin at $2600, ranging up to $4500, and with installation, the total kitchen countertop costs of a marble surface run from $3000 to $5000 in the lower end ranges, without any special designs or installation.
Soapstone has excellent durability and can be long-lasting with the right care and treatment; in addition, the neutral colors give them an edge over more splashy and exotic countertops, since they will fit well into most home designs. The low end price for soapstone slabs is between $70 and $100, although customized ones are available as high as $300 per slab. Assuming a standard 30 square feet for kitchen countertop, that can range (with installation) between $3000 and $4500. With its delicate feel and mild colorings, soapstone is often preferred, since even their lower end products are well made, and they give good value in the spectrum of kitchen countertops cost.
Laminate is among the most inexpensive of all kitchen countertops, along with tile; its thick surface gives good durability for the money, and the fact that tile, wood or resins can be laminated offers the home designer a chance to get good-looking countertop surfaces for very little money. In terms of kitchen countertops prices, Laminates are a fairly cheap $7 to $30 square foot, with entire surfaces in terms of typical kitchen area costing as low as $300, up to $900.
Inexpensive Kitchen Countertops
In terms of the cost of kitchen countertops, the least expensive kitchen countertops prices are for tile, averaging $20 per square foot and $2500 for a typical kitchen; a close second is laminate, which averages $25 per square foot and $3000 for a typical kitchen countertop.