What Is the True Cost of Countertops?
Freshen up one of the busiest areas of your home with new countertops. The cost of countertops ranges from $825 to $4,356, with the national average at $2,652.
- Kitchen countertops have a typical cost range of $825 to $4,356 and a national average cost of $2,652.
- Several factors can affect the total cost, including the size and material of the countertops, the edges and corner treatments chosen, the installation location, the cost of labor, and the home’s geographic location.
- A homeowner may need to have new countertops installed if they notice excessive wear and tear, stain or burn marks, smoke or structural damage, mold or mildew, or if their countertops are outdated.
- A handy homeowner may be able to install a basic countertop made of tile or laminate by themselves. However, a professional is recommended to install heavier materials like marble or granite due to the difficulty of working with these materials.
Installing new kitchen countertops is a way to boost the functionality of a kitchen space and the value of a home. Kitchen counters are available in a number of materials, finishes, and edge treatments to match any budget. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the cost of countertops ranges from $825 to $4,356, with many homeowners spending $2,652 on average. Depending on material and square footage, the price to install kitchen countertops can be as low as $400 or skyrocket to as high as $8,000. Homeowners who install a laminate kitchen counter will spend considerably less than those who opt for marble or granite. Kitchen countertop pricing can vary for a number of reasons, including material and geographic location, but overall pricing is based on square footage, typically between $10 to $70 per square foot, with larger countertops costing more than smaller ones made of the same material.
Labor costs typically run from $10 to $30 per square foot, but they can go higher depending on countertop material. Homeowners should also keep in mind that some types of countertops weigh hundreds of pounds and require a team of professionals for installation, which will drive up labor costs. Some homeowners may choose countertop materials based on aesthetics, and others make their decisions based on functionality. Since each type of countertop has its own benefits, price ranges, and advantages, it’s important for homeowners to consider their decor preferences, lifestyle, and needs before deciding on what type of countertops will work best in their home. Below are some important factors that influence the cost of countertops, different types of kitchen counters, red flags that indicate a need for new countertops, and some important questions to ask about countertop installation.
Factors in Calculating the Cost of Countertops
There are several factors that affect the cost of countertops. Prices can differ from the national average due to countertop material, countertop size, edge and corner treatments, installation location, local labor prices, and geographic location.
The type of countertop material can impact the design aesthetics and overall cost of the installation project. Before homeowners decide on materials, key considerations include appearance, durability, longevity, maintenance, and cost. Each countertop material works well for kitchens in general but may not work the best in every kitchen. Price is based not only on individual material but on the grade, color, and manufacturer. There are many materials suitable for kitchen countertops, and each of them is discussed in detail below. Among the lower-priced materials are laminate and butcher block, while the more expensive materials are recycled glass, copper, and zinc. The pricing of some of these materials can overlap depending on style and color.
The two biggest factors that impact countertop cost are the material and the amount of it needed. The average price range per square foot can run from $20 to $200 including labor, but there can be a significant fluctuation in price due to material style, color, and fabrication type. Below are some average price ranges for kitchen countertops by size, including installation.
- 10 square feet: $200 to $2,000
- 20 square feet: $400 to $4,000
- 30 square feet: $600 to $6,000
- 40 square feet: $800 to $8,000
Edges and Corner Treatments
Countertop edges are available in an assortment of shapes and sizes and can vary according to thickness, material, and construction. Countertops that are 2 centimeters thick can have a 2-centimeter or 4-centimeter edge, while countertops that are 3 centimeters thick usually have a 3-centimeter edge. Except for the eased edge, which is generally included with the price of the countertops, edge costs are charged by the linear foot and are an additional fee. Homeowners should keep in mind that edges that are thicker than the countertop material are called built-up edges and will drive up the price even more for installation. Below are some popular countertop edge treatments, their features, and average prices, including installation.
- Eased edge countertop. An eased edge is the most common type of countertop edge. Slightly sanded down to create a rounded shape at the top 90-degree edge, it’s usually included with the price of the countertop. This type of edge is easy to care for and popular among homeowners who don’t want hard, sharp edges to their countertops.
- Beveled edge countertop. A beveled countertop edge costs from $10 to $15 per linear foot. It features a 45-degree angle on the top edge, which can add a contemporary and modern look to the countertop design. This is also an easy-to-clean countertop edge, since there are no nooks or crannies where food and debris can collect.
- Rounded/half bullnose edge countertop. Half bullnose edge countertops run from $10 to $15 per linear foot. This edge has a squared-off bottom edge and a rounded top edge. This smooth countertop edge is also easy to maintain.
- Full bullnose edge countertop. Sometimes called a pencil edge, a full bullnose countertop edge costs from $10 to $15 per linear foot. In this style, both the top and bottom edges are fully rounded, creating an area that’s easy to clean.
- Ogee edge countertop. An ogee edge ranges in cost from $20 to $25 per linear foot and features an S-cut. This decorative countertop edge is square at the bottom and is commonly used on thicker countertops. It is possible to carve an ogee edge into thinner 2-centimeter countertops, but the edges will need to be built up, resulting in additional costs.
- Mitered edge countertop. Mitered edge countertops vary in price from $20 to $25 per linear foot. This type of edge has a square top edge and then cuts back dramatically after a short drop. Commonly used in offices, it creates a hard, modern appearance.
- Dupont edge countertop. Dupont edges feature a 90-degree angle at the top edge and quarter-round cut on the bottom edge. Ranging in price from $20 to $40 per linear foot, it’s one of the most expensive countertop edge options. This style needs to be carved in a countertop that is 3 centimeters or thicker, and it’s common for thinner countertop edges to be built up to achieve this look.
Countertop corner treatments cost from $55 to $135 each, with the average cost at $60. If a homeowner doesn’t want a 90-degree square corner, the corners can be sanded to achieve a softer look. A ¼-inch radius has only a small curve, while a 1-inch radius highlights a more significant curve to the countertop corner.
Countertops can be installed in various locations for both indoor and outdoor kitchens. Some materials work better in an outdoor environment, while others are negatively impacted by wet weather and freeze/thaw cycles. The final cost for countertop installation depends on the material and the amount.
- Indoor kitchen countertops cost. The average cost for kitchen countertops ranges from $825 to $4,177, with the national average at $2,200. This price can increase depending on the material and amount needed. Many kitchens need approximately 30 square feet of material for countertops, but the square footage can change for smaller kitchens or larger kitchens that feature one or more islands or work stations.
- Outdoor kitchen countertops cost. The price to install an outdoor kitchen countertop runs from $480 to $4,000. Many outdoor kitchens need about 12 to 20 square feet of countertop space, but that measurement can be different for larger or smaller areas. Natural stone, solid surface, and recycled glass countertop materials work well in an outdoor setting, while laminate and concrete do not.
Labor costs for installing countertops usually run from $10 to $30 per square foot but can be higher or lower depending on the material. Labor prices and natural stone countertop sealing are typically included with the cost of the countertop material, but some countertop contractors will add them to the bill as a separate charge. Homeowners will want to double-check with the installation company regarding labor and sealing costs and whether these are included with the installation estimate. Kitchen countertop installation typically takes between 2 and 5 hours to complete.
There can be significant differences in the price of materials depending on the home’s geographic location. Major cities and densely populated urban areas have some of the highest costs for countertop installation and labor. For natural stone materials, the cost will be more if they need to be shipped from a long distance rather than from a local quarry.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When planning for the cost of countertops, homeowners will benefit from knowing about any additional costs and considerations that can affect the overall cost of the installation project. These can include countertop repair or resurfacing, sink installation, cutouts, old countertop removal, and additional plumbing or electrical work.
Countertop Repair or Resurfacing
If a countertop is in overall good shape but there are some areas that need attention, repair or resurfacing may be the best option. Countertop repair costs about $350. The most common reasons for countertop repair are surface etching and damage from water and heat.
Countertop resurfacing costs from $100 to $1,200, depending on the countertop material and square footage. If the majority of the countertop is stained or scratched, resurfacing may fix the problem for less money than replacing the countertop.
Sink Installation and Cutouts
The cost to install a kitchen sink ranges from $300 to $500. In addition to the cost for a sink, cooktop, faucet, hardware, and outlets, there is an extra charge for cutouts in the countertop material. For a sink cutout, a countertop installation professional may charge an additional fee, which is typically around $100. An undermount cooktop cutout costs an average of $200. Cutouts for plumbing and hardware will also drive up the cost of countertop installation.
Old Countertop Removal
Kitchen countertop replacement involves the removal of the old countertops. While some countertop contractors may include the removal service in the installation cost, others may charge from $50 to $300, depending on the size of the countertop and plumbing considerations.
Additional Plumbing or Electrical Work
A common portion of a kitchen remodeling cost is updating the plumbing. From replacing a faucet to changing the location of the sink and appliances, additional plumbing work can cost from $4,000 to $8,000.
If new electrical work is needed as part of a kitchen renovation, homeowners will want to contact an electrician at the beginning of the process. Electricians commonly charge from $50 to $100 for labor, and they can coordinate with the contractor to keep the project on track. If mistakes were made by attempting a DIY installation or upgrades are needed in the middle of the project, fixing the problems and tearing out the existing electrical work mid-project will cost significantly more.
Installation Cost by Type of Countertop
There is a wide variety of countertop materials that are available for installation. While these materials are appropriate for kitchen use, not every material works in every home. Below are common kitchen countertop materials, their characteristics, and their average price ranges.
Acrylic countertops are a budget-friendly alternative to quartz and granite. Able to mimic the look of natural stone, acrylic countertops cost from $1,300 to $3,300, or $13 to $30 per square foot, including installation. These 100-percent resin countertops are nonporous, easy to clean and maintain, and extremely durable.
Wooden butcher block countertops cost from $10 to $35 per square foot, while solid wood countertops are a little pricier at $18 to $38 per square foot. Wooden countertops create a natural organic look, but they need to be sealed on a monthly schedule to maintain the look and appeal of the material. The price of wood countertops varies according to the type of wood, with bamboo being the cheapest option. Different types of wood, including maple, oak, cherry, and walnut, along with various finishes, can be combined to create a unique look.
Ceramic countertops work best in kitchens that don’t see heavy use. Since they scratch easily, ceramic is recommended for backsplashes and areas that don’t need to stand up to daily wear and tear. Compared to other tile materials, such as porcelain, ceramic is less expensive at a cost of $1 to $15 per square foot, depending on quality and size.
At an average cost of $3,300 to $7,200, or $50 to $100 per square foot, concrete countertops can be customized to any color, shape, texture, finish, and edge treatment. They can be poured into a mold right in the kitchen or made off-site and transported for installation. Concrete is susceptible to cracking and chipping, but sealing the material can help prevent any issues.
Copper countertops cost from $100 to $300 per square foot. This pricey material is easy to clean and comes in different gauges, or thicknesses. The thicker the copper, the more expensive the installation. Copper countertops are made by molding thin sheets around a wooden base, in a similar fashion to how stainless steel countertops are constructed. Homeowners can expect to pay between $5,500 to $9,625 for a 55-square-foot copper kitchen countertop.
Durable granite countertops can cost from $15 to $140 per square foot for a whole slab and $10 to $35 per square foot for prefabricated pieces. A popular countertop material, granite contains quartz, mica, feldspar, and silica. These countertops are unique because each piece of granite has its own texture, pattern, and color. The wide range of pricing is due to the quality of the stone and its rarity. The rarer the granite, the more significant the increase in price. Homeowners can search for “granite countertops near me” to find the most accurate pricing in their area.
Laminate (sometimes called the brand name Formica) is a budget-friendly countertop material that ranges from $800 to $1,650, or $8 to $27 per square foot. Laminate countertops can successfully mimic other materials and come in a number of patterns and edge treatments. These countertops can also have integral backsplashes and undermounted sinks as part of their installation. One drawback is that laminate is prone to scratching, fading, chipping, and heat damage.
Limestone countertops cost from $1,100 to $5,500, or $10 to $70 per square foot. This porous and fairly soft natural stone comes in colors that range from golden brown to pale gray and can fit in nicely with neutral design styles. Regular sealing is required to protect limestone from scratches.
Beautiful marble countertops cost between $15 and $190 per square foot, which is a very wide range—but quality marble can be found in the $25 to $60 per square foot range. This natural stone is made primarily of calcite, which makes it significantly softer than granite. Also prone to etching and scratching, marble needs regular sealing to prevent staining. From black to white to gold and red, marble is available in numerous color choices to match any kitchen design.
Porcelain countertop tile can cost from $3 to $28 per square foot on average, but the price can skyrocket to $55 to $120 per square foot depending on quality. Made of compressed clay dust that’s fired to intense temperatures, porcelain has superior resistance to scratches, stains, and heat damage. Porcelain tiles can mimic other materials and come in an array of styles and colors.
Quartz countertops cost from $15 to $100 per square foot. Engineered quartz countertops are made from 93 percent natural quartz combined with pigments and resins, and they don’t require sealing. Durable quartz is resistant to stains, scratches, and heat, and comes in a variety of styles, finishes, and colors.
While quartz is an engineered material, quartzite is natural stone. Quartzite countertops can cost from $55 to $210 per square foot. Compared to other natural stone countertops, this durable material is less likely to etch or stain. Quartzite can mimic marble and comes in various styles and colors. As with granite, however, the rarer the stone, the more expensive the price tag.
Recycled glass countertops cost about $3,700 on average, or $45 to $135 per square foot for slabs, depending on color and size. Choosing recycled glass tiles is a more budget-friendly option, ranging from $10 to $40 per square foot. These countertops are made in one of two ways: with crushed glass or solid glass. In the former method, the crushed glass is adhered together by using resin. Solid glass countertops are poured into a mold and are available in an array of styles, designs, and colors. Recycled glass countertops are also resistant to scratches, stains, and heat damage.
Recycled Paper Composite
Recycled paper composite countertops are made from resin and recyclable fibers. They’re lighter than other countertop materials and more durable than wood. The average cost for recycled paper composite countertops runs from $3,050 to $5,500, or $45 to $70 per square foot. This countertop material is resistant to scratching, staining, bacteria, and heat damage. It doesn’t emit radon gas, is food safe, and is free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Homeowners will want to keep in mind that these countertops do require specialized maintenance and sealing, which can add to the long-term cost.
The cost of slate countertops ranges from $1,100 to $5,000, or $30 to $90 per square foot. Known for its dark gray and green hues, slate is easy to clean, and it’s resistant to stains and moisture. Made from sandstone, certain types of slate can be brittle, so large slabs can be difficult to find. Slate countertops can come in three finishes: Cleft, cascade, and honed. Cleft, also called “natural” or “textured,” retains the naturally rough texture of slate and is the cheapest type, but it can trap dirt and be harder to clean. Cascade is slightly smoother, though some natural texture remains. Finally, honed slate is smooth and can be left with a naturally matte finish or polished to make it glossy.
Ranging in cost from $20 to $120 per square foot, natural soapstone is commonly used in smaller kitchens. Since slabs are usually available in smaller sizes, countertops longer than 7 feet will have visible seams. Many slabs are black with hints of blue and green, or they’re dark gray. Over time, the material develops a patina, and many homeowners will oil the surface to encourage even development and avoid blotches. Soft and made mostly from talc, soapstone is prone to scratches but is heat- and stain-resistant.
Solid surface countertops (also known by the brand name Corian) cost from $20 to $130 per square foot. They are nonporous but are prone to scratching, staining, burning, and melting. This molded countertop material can be designed in a variety of colors, styles, and finishes. It’s not moisture-resistant, though, so it’s not recommended for use in bathrooms or other areas that experience humid conditions. Corian is one of the best-known solid surface brands, though there are many others on the market.
Stainless steel countertops run from $50 to $250 per square foot, depending on gauge, or thickness. As with copper countertops, stainless steel sheets are wrapped around a wood base and are available in an assortment of styles and finishes. Stainless steel is durable and low maintenance, but it scratches easily.
Tile countertops cost from $2 to $50 per square foot, the overall price depending on the material and quality of the tile. Tile is available in standard, designer, specialty, or imported materials. Homeowners who are interested in experimenting with designs, patterns, and colors typically look to tile for their kitchen countertops. The average price to install a tile countertop is about $1,500, but more expensive materials can drive up the cost of the installation project.
Travertine countertops cost from $1,150 to $3,600, or $11 to $35 per square foot. This type of countertop is available in tiles or slabs and resembles limestone, but with darker hues featuring deep veining and an attractive luster. With polishing and careful maintenance, travertine makes an ideal kitchen countertop material.
Zinc countertops cost from $120 and $200 per square foot. Zinc is a soft metal countertop material that develops an attractive patina over time. Also formed from thin sheets around a wood base, these countertops come in various gauges, or thicknesses. The thicker the sheet of zinc, the more expensive the countertop installation.
Do I Need to Install New Countertops?
What are the signs that a home needs new countertops? Some red flags include excessive staining, scratching, or other signs of wear and tear. If there is structural damage or mold or mildew growth, the countertops need to be replaced as soon as possible. Some homeowners prefer to replace their countertops if they are old and outdated and no longer match the design aesthetic of their home.
Excessive Wear and Tear
If the signs of daily wear and tear have taken hold and countertop repair is not an option, it’s time for a replacement. Countertops that are cracked, worn, or discolored are showing their age. This is the time to invest in a countertop upgrade.
Stains or Burn Marks
When stains or burns on the countertops cannot be removed, it might be time to replace them. To keep a kitchen looking its best, homeowners may want to install new countertops that can withstand spills or hot pots and pans placed on the counter. If the countertop is porous, sealing is recommended to avoid permanent staining.
Smoke or Structural Damage
A kitchen fire can result in smoke and structural damage, even if it is extinguished quickly. The intense heat and smoke can cause enough damage to warrant a countertop replacement. It’s recommended that homeowners check their homeowners insurance policy to see if countertop replacement from smoke or fire damage is covered.
Presence of Mold or Mildew
Undetected water damage can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can cause serious health issues, especially with people who have a history of asthma or other respiratory illnesses. Countertops should be replaced immediately if mold or mildew is detected.
When countertop materials, styles, designs, and colors are merely trendy instead of classic, they can make a kitchen look outdated in a hurry. Homeowners may want to choose countertop materials that stand the test of time and will outlast trends.
Countertop Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Many experienced DIY-ers with the correct tools and equipment prefer to tackle the installation of tile or laminate countertops on their own. Other countertop materials, such as soapstone, marble, granite, quartz, and concrete, are challenging to install. Unless a homeowner has the tools, experience, and confidence to install kitchen countertops, it’s best to leave this job to the pros, who will install these materials efficiently and correctly. Quartz countertop slabs can weigh between 20 and 25 pounds per square foot, a large slab of marble can tip the scales at approximately 550 pounds, and granite slabs also surpass several hundred pounds. The best countertop installers have the correct equipment and expertise to move and position heavy materials. The price of DIY installation can more than double if countertops are dropped, bumped, or cut incorrectly and require replacement materials. Some homeowners prefer to tear out and dispose of the old countertops to save on labor and disposal costs. If the homeowner chooses to do this part of the job themselves, they will want to check for gas, electric, and ventilation lines before starting the project and then remove the old countertops in a way that will not damage the cabinets.
How to Save Money on the Cost of Countertops
The cost of countertops can quickly add up, and the additional fees and considerations can cause the installation project to be more expensive than originally planned. Buying cheap countertops is one way to save money, but there are other ways to save without compromising on quality or specific features.
- Get multiple estimates. Get at least three estimates from reputable countertop contractors in your area.
- Choose carefully. When deciding on countertop material, consider what will work the best for your home, your lifestyle, and your budget.
- Consider tiles. If you’re interested in a specific countertop material but buying solid slabs is outside of your budget, tiles are an excellent alternative. Tiles are a good way to get the look of a countertop material, such as granite, for a reduced price.
- Go local. Buying natural stone countertop material from a local quarry can save a significant amount of money on transportation costs.
- Mix and match. If you like the timeless look of marble, opt for using the material in one area of the kitchen and a more budget-friendly material for the rest of the space.
- Stick with the standard edge. Deciding on elaborate countertop edges can drive up the cost of installation. Choosing simple edges that are included with the price of the countertop material can save money.
- Keep an open mind. If you discover your first choice for countertop material exceeds your budget, keep looking. Some countertop materials can mimic the look of more expensive materials for significantly less.
- Shop around. Look for better pricing for sinks, faucets, and other plumbing fixtures. While countertop companies may offer these items for installation, they may be more expensive than from other sellers.
- Do some of the work on your own. Removing and hauling away the old countertop material can save on additional labor costs.
Questions to Ask About Countertop Installation
Asking a countertop installation professional the right questions can help minimize miscommunication and get the best results. Below are some questions to ask about the cost of countertops and countertop installation.
- Are you licensed?
- Are you insured?
- Do you offer free estimates?
- How much do you charge for countertop installation?
- Do you have any countertop industry certifications?
- Do you have any professional accreditations?
- How long have you been in business?
- Will you provide references?
- Do you have examples of your work?
- What types of countertops do you install?
- How long will the installation take?
- Who will install the countertops?
- Do you provide slab viewing?
- Do you sell sinks and plumbing fixtures?
- What countertop finishes do you offer?
- Can I select the parts of the slab for my countertop installation?
- Do you handle plumbing?
- What is your cleanup policy?
- What warranties do you offer?
- Do you have a repair service?
- What is your payment plan?
- How can I leave a review?
Before hiring a countertop installation company, homeowners will want to be sure they have all the information they need regarding the cost of countertops and countertop installation. Below are several frequently asked questions about countertop installation and the cost of countertops to help guide the decision-making process.
Q. What is the average square footage of countertops in most kitchens?
On average, kitchen countertops measure 30 square feet. This number can change for a small galley kitchen or for larger kitchen spaces that feature one or more islands.
Q. What’s the most durable kitchen countertop material?
There are many durable countertop materials. Homeowners will want to make their decision based on the function of the kitchen, the frequency of its use, and their budget. Quartz is considered the most durable countertop material, closely followed by granite, laminate, tile, and solid surface or Corian. Each of these materials has its own benefits, advantages, and price ranges.
Q.How do I change my kitchen countertops on a budget?
There are a few ways to update and change kitchen countertops on a budget. One way is to use a countertop paint kit. These kits offer a simple way to change the look of the countertops without the expense of replacing them. Installing butcher block countertops can also add a natural look to the kitchen without breaking the bank; they can be a budget-friendly alternative to laminate countertops. Buying recycled or previously used countertops can also save a lot of money on materials. Some people replace their countertops when they get tired of them and donate them to secondhand stores. Homeowners who like the look of granite can look for remnants to save money. Another good way to change kitchen countertops on a budget is to shop around for free or reduced-cost installations. Some countertop companies offer discounted or free installation during their slower months.
Q. How long does it take to install countertops?
Countertop installation can take 1 to 3 days to complete, depending on the size of the kitchen and the complexity of the installation. This time frame also includes disconnecting and reconnecting any plumbing lines as needed.
Q. Is quartz cheaper than granite?
Comparing quartz and granite is commonly done to determine which material will work the best. Quartz is usually cheaper than granite, but the price depends on the color, quality, thickness, edge treatment, and any needed cutouts. The cheapest type of granite can be less expensive than quartz, with the average prices ranging from $15 to $100 per square foot for quartz and $15 to $140 for granite. For an average-size kitchen that needs 30 square feet of countertop, quartz ranges from $2,100 to $3,000, and granite runs $1,800 to $8,100.
Q.Which countertop is the lowest maintenance?
There are a few kitchen countertop materials that are considered low maintenance. Laminate is a budget-friendly option that’s easy to clean, nonporous, and doesn’t need to be sealed. Recycled glass countertops are nonporous, smooth, and resistant to heat and staining. Solid surface or Corian countertops are another low-maintenance option. They can be easily cleaned with soap and water and are resistant to staining. Stainless steel countertops don’t need sealing or refinishing and are also heat and stain-resistant. Another low-maintenance material is quartz. Long-lasting quartz countertops are nonporous, stain-resistant, and easy to clean.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, Fixr, The Home Depot