Installing a brand new countertop in the kitchen and/or bathroom enhances the aesthetic appeal of your home. In turn, a more attractive home décor translates into higher home value. So far, so good.
The decision to add a countertop is an easy one to make until you factor in the cost of the home improvement project. Kitchen and bathroom countertop installation projects run into the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, especially if you decide to hire a contractor to complete the home improvement project.
Engineered materials such as laminate and concrete cost less than natural stone countertops. However, adding a natural stone countertop maximizes the return you get on your home improvement dollars.
If you are thinking about installing a natural stone countertop, you should review the five best natural stone countertops, as well as understand how each natural stone will impact your home improvement budget.
With a drum roll, here are the five best natural stone countertops and how much they cost.
Along with marble, granite has long been considered the standard for high-quality natural stone countertops. If your budget allows for it, granite can become the elegant focal point of your kitchen or bathroom. The growth in the supply of granite has lowered the price per slab to a more affordable level. Nonetheless, granite runs between $45 and $200 per square foot. Maintenance for the natural stone is about average for natural stone and if you use a newly introduced sealer, granite is virtually maintenance-free. For a more affordable version of a granite slab, you can opt to go with granite tiles.
With more than 3,000 different color options, granite gives homeowners the ultimate in interior décor flexibility. You can make a granite countertop the design focal point of the kitchen or the bathroom, as well as seamlessly blend the design of a granite countertop to match every other design element in the kitchen or in the bathroom. Granite is highly heat resistant, which makes a granite countertop ideal to install with a range built within the countertop.
Waterproof and heat resistant, marble handles just about anything you can throw at it in the kitchen or the bathroom. The stunningly beautiful natural stone does the best job of boosting the value of your home. Unique veining makes each slab of marble unique, which like granite, gives you incredible room décor flexibility. Because of its high cost, marble is most often used as a natural stone for a section of a kitchen or a bathroom countertop.
Marble cost from $75 to more than $250 for each square foot. In addition, maintenance costs are high for a marble to ensure the natural stone retains its brilliant glow under a chandelier or next to a window that invites the sun inside. By choosing more affordable colors and grades of marble, you can save a little money on your home improvement budget.
Constructed with 93% quartz particles, quartz is actually defined as an engineered stone because it also contains seven percent polymer resins that bind the stone together. Quartz is engineered with polymer resins to give it rugged durability that is on par with natural stones such as granite and soapstone. The non-porous surface prevents stains and scratches from lowering the bar for appearance. Low maintenance engineered stone does not require regular sealing, which keeps maintenance about as low as it gets for countertop material. For do it yourself’s, quartz is considered the best stone of any kind to use for a countertop installation project.
Quartz runs between $55 and $155 a square foot, per Marble.com, making the engineered stone rank on the lower end of the cost scale for kitchen and bathroom countertops. You can choose quartz tiles, which cost substantially less than quartz slabs. Just remember installing quartz tiles requires more labor, which can offset the savings of using quartz tiles for your countertop installation project.
Because of its composition that includes the exoskeletons of shells, algae, coral reefs, and calcium deposits, limestone gets a bad rap when it comes to delivering a durable countertop surface. However, limestone represents a more affordable natural stone options that when sealed properly, handles frequent use as well as more expensive natural stones like marble and granite. Lighter tones and mostly neutral colors make limestone the perfect material for a countertop that is exposed to sunlight throughout the day. If you have any doubts about the durability of limestone, look no further than centuries-old structures that include the Parthenon and the Lincoln Memorial.
Limestone costs between $55 and $125 for each square foot. If not properly sealed, limestone can run on the high end for maintenance costs. A properly sealed slab of limestone resists the types of damage caused by strong impacts that diminish the quality of inferior natural stones. You can opt for a non-premium grade of limestone to save money, as well as solicit several highly competitive bids from contractors to save money on installation costs.
With low maintenance costs, soapstone is a good fit for homeowners operating on low home improvement budgets. Cleaning the natural stone requires just the wiping of a damp washcloth. Architectural soapstone produces a rock hard surface that resists dents and cracks. The natural stone does not stain, which is another way the countertop material delivers low maintenance costs.
Typically, darker gray in color, soapstone costs around $60 per square foot on the low end, with the highest price per square foot for the natural stone running at $185. Just like granite, you can save money on soapstone countertops by purchasing soapstone tiles. Soapstone is an easy natural stone to sand out any impact damage and it does a good job of repelling heat.
To get a fairly accurate estimate of the cost of a countertop installation project, we recommend using a countertop cost estimator tool. Big box home improvement retailers offer such a tool as a free service to help you install a countertop and remain within your home improvement budget.