You might have read our previous blog about Kitchen Finishes. In that post we gave a brief overview of some of the major finish options. We also gave you an idea of how the different finishes might affect the cost of your kitchen remodel. In this post we will dive into the specifics of countertops. Countertops range in price from low, mid, to high. We’ll explain the advantages and disadvantages of the different types that fall into each price range, so when it’s time for your kitchen remodel, you’ll have a head start on selecting the perfect countertop! As a side note - though price point does indicate the general quality of the surface, with a bit of creativity it is possible to achieve a high end look with less expensive materials.
The least expensive countertop you would find is laminate coming in at the installed price of about $30 per square foot.
Some advantages of laminate countertops are that they have almost unlimited styles and are easy and inexpensive to change. A disadvantage would include that they are relatively easy to damage like scratch, melt, and chip. Additionally, the finish can be worn off, they have visible seams, and sinks cannot usually be under mounted, which can lead to a caulked sink rim that can become quite dirty and worn. Despite these drawbacks, laminate can be paired with decorative edges and beautiful backsplashes as well as quartz sinks that have crisp, clean rims that minimize dirt, grime, and mold.
Next is the mid-price range. There are two types of countertop that fall in this range, acrylic and cultured stone. Starting at the bottom of the price range, acrylic countertops can be about $60 per square foot and a cultured stone countertop is less common, but it would be in about the same price range.
An advantage of acrylic is that it’s seamless and scratches and minor dents can be repaired. Also, because of its seamless nature, acrylic countertops can have integral sinks which is when a sink is made out of the same material as the countertop. Some disadvantages of acrylic are that it can scratch, melt, or crack.
ACRYLIC WITH INTEGRAL SINK
On the other hand, cultured stone is very durable and has many unique design choices. A few disadvantages of cultured stone, though, are that hot items can burn marks into it, it does have seams, and sheet goods are not available as large as other alternatives.
Last is the highest price range. Quartz, natural stone, and uniques fall into this category.
Quartz countertops are a very popular choice and have a rapidly expanding range of styles and colors which range in price from $75 to $95 per square foot. Some advantages of quartz would include that it is very durable, almost indestructible, there’s many different styles and colors and they are always expanding, and it can accommodate under mount sinks. Some disadvantages of quartz would be that some styles replicated natural stone, it’s very difficult to repair, and it has seams which are not always easy to position in an inconspicuous spot.
Next is my favorite, natural stone, which includes granite, marble, and soapstone. These materials can fall into the $100 to $120 per square foot range. Some advantages of the natural stone is that it is also extremely durable. Additionally, there are a wide range of styles and colors – as many as Mother Nature can produce – but along those lines, you can’t duplicate Mother Nature so your countertop is one of a kind. A few disadvantages of the natural stone would be that it has the widest price range of the “high end” products, has seams, can crack or chip and it's very difficult or impossible to repair. Also, it should be sealed although this is not as big of a concern as advertised.
The final style that falls into the high category is the uniques which include materials like concrete, wood, and stainless. The advantage of these materials is that they are very customizable. There are craftspeople experimenting with new ideas every day. Also, they often times have a patina or lived in or on feel. This patina can also be a disadvantage depending on your preferences. Another fun aspect of using the uniques is that you can mix and match different surfaces for function or aesthetic. A disadvantage of the uniques is that they are often times hand crafted, so a controlled sample for the finished product can be difficult to acquire. Also, depending on the surface, it might be easier to damage and difficult to repair. These materials have quite a range and can fall anywhere between $70 to $145 per square foot.
WALNUT BUTCHER BLOCK
CONCRETE AND STAINLESS STEEL
So that's what we know about countertops, now you can officially call yourself a pro! When it's time to remodel your kitchen you'll be educated on what countertop is best for your needs and your budget. If you want to know more about kitchen finishes subscribe and stay tuned for our next blog all about flooring!