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Countertop Costs

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011

Choosing a new countertop is one of the biggest considerations when planning a renovation project. What you choose depends upon many factors, including your personal style and budget. Starting with the price of new countertops is a good way to narrow down the options.

Budgeting for kitchen countertop costs

The prices below are estimates based on a countertop of 30 square feet. For a true estimate that takes into account your chosen materials, style and the size of your kitchen, consult a local kitchen contractor.

  • Tile countertops can be either the cheapest or the most expensive option, depending upon the style you choose. Simple tiles can run between $1 and $30 per square foot, or $30 to $900 for a typical kitchen. A quick survey of home improvement stores shows that best-selling tiles include those within the $4 to $10 range. Elaborate and hand-carved or painted tiles can cost $255 per square foot or more.
  • Stone countertops are much the same as tile in terms of price: You can find affordable options or go with the high-end and luxurious. Slab stone countertops run between $25 and $100 per square foot, or between $750 and $3,000 for the whole job. Marble and limestone cost between $50 and $100 per square foot. Expect between $60 and $70 per square foot for slate. Stone tiles can be much cheaper, at a cost of $6 to $20 per square foot, for a price of $285 to $600 for a typical kitchen.
  • Laminate countertops are popular for starter homes and those on a budget. Expect to pay between $7 and $30 per square foot, or between $210 and $900 for a typical kitchen. Popular laminate options at home improvement stores run between $100 and $300.
  • Wood countertops offer a rustic look but require more maintenance than other countertops, which can make them more expensive in the long run. However, the initial cost can run between $30 and $105 per square foot, for a total cost of $900 to $3,150.
  • Solid surface countertops are a popular option for the mid-range remodel. Expect to pay between $40 and $80 per square foot, or $1,200 to $2,400 for a typical kitchen.
  • Specialty materials such as stainless steel, concrete or copper can be among the most expensive materials you choose. Expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $200 per square foot, or $2,250 to $6,000 for the whole job.

The cost of your countertop typically includes the cost of installation; however, check with the contractor to be certain. Additional costs could include backsplashes, unusual curves or edging, custom coloring or custom finishes. Expect some maintenance costs with materials such as granite and concrete, as they require regular sealing. Wood countertops often require sealing and other maintenance to keep them looking their best.

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