7 Countertop Materials You Can Actually Afford

When you're planning a kitchen remodel, a lot of thought and worry goes into the budget. And a hefty chunk of that budget will go to big-ticket items like the countertop. Materials like natural stone, granite and marble add classic style, but you won’t find many bargains. Fortunately, a tight budget can still buy you great countertops.

Before you decide on a countertop material, think seriously about your lifestyle. Busy families might want to opt for something low maintenance and particularly durable. If you’ve got an obsession with baking, marble could be worth the splurge, for its ability to maintain cool temperatures. If you really want to save money, you should consider DIY-ing your countertops. There are several materials, like concrete and tile, that lend themselves to DIY projects. Even laminate and wood can be an attainable DIY project for many. Before deciding on your new countertop, click through these 7 affordable materials that have tons of panache—without the cash.

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  1. Paint


    Sure, paint can make over your wall on the cheap—but did you know it can do the same for your counters? There are several products on the market to get the job done—usually for under $100. You can paint laminate, tile, solid-surface counters, and cultured marble. To DIY properly, first prime, then paint, and finish up by sealing; the savings will balance out your time and effort.

    Related: How To: Paint EVERYTHING


  2. Laminate


    Modern laminate counters just keep getting better and better. Thanks to advanced printing techniques, laminate countertops can now mimic stone or wood—and they're harder than ever to tell apart from the real thing! Though laminate usedto be notorious for scratching, new sealants make that a thing of the past.

    Related: Trending Now—Laminate Countertops


  3. Concrete


    For modern, industrial flair in your kitchen, it's hard to beat concrete counters. They offer the same solid, earthy feel that natural stone does but at a fraction of the cost—especially if you can DIY. Dazzling stains and finishes give concrete counters a vibrancy that goes way beyond dull gray and allow the material to suit nearly any kitchen design.

    Related: Cement Your Place in DIY History with These 9 Easy Concrete Projects


  4. Tile


    If you want the durability of natural stone but don't have the budget, consider tile. Tile comes in a variety of colorful or natural-toned designs and can save you significant cash over custom-cut slabs of stone. Add interest by using more expensive tile as borders or accents in conjunction with plainer, more affordable styles.

    Related: How To: Install Tile


  5. Wood


    While marble or granite can give off a cold look, wood or butcher-block counters add warmth to a kitchen. Wood has the added benefit of being significantly cheaper than stone. Bamboo and maple are popular choices, but a range of other woods are available as well. If you opt for wood countertops, remember that they require oiling every two to three years.

    Related: 12 Wow-Worthy Woods for Kitchen Countertops


  6. Stainless Steel


    Although stainless steel isn't a cheap choice as a full, custom-made countertop, a freestanding stainless steel worktable can double as a kitchen island and countertop, and save you heaps of cash. Many freestanding stainless steel counters offer storage beneath, so you can openly display items for easy access.

    Related: How To: Clean Stainless Steel

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  7. Solid Surface


    Solid-surface acrylic countertops are scratch and stain resistant, which helps you save money on maintenance. Corian carries a higher price tag than many solid-surface countertops but you're likely to save over granite or marble. And there are plenty of other countertops of this kind that offer similar durability for less.


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