Countertops give you a nice working surface for preparing or cutting food, and they also work well for storage. Your countertop installation cost will depend on whether you want them to be decorative to enhance your kitchen decor or strictly functional, and they’re the perfect thing to do during a kitchen remodel to help keep your costs down. You can choose from a broad range of materials when you pick out your counters, and each one will impact your countertop installation costs. You could pick a material for the functional benefits or purely for aesthetics. Your personal tastes and lifestyle will also influence your countertop installation costs, and this allows it to have a broad range.
The average countertop installation costs will range from $1,500 to $4,500. On average, you’ll spend $3,000 to install 30 square feet of countertop space in your home. Some installation types and materials will cause the costs to fluctuate. Additionally, your countertop installation top will depend on whether your contractor has to remove an existing countertop, shape or sand it, preparing your cabinets, and sealing or polishing the installed countertops.
You’ll pay between $15.00 and $70.00 per square foot for materials, and you want to add another $10.00 to $30.00 a square foot for labor costs. Since they’re difficult to install correctly and heavy, it’s best to factor in calling in a professional.
This brings your total per square foot for your countertop installation cost between $25.00 to $120. However, it can be well worth it since your countertops can be a functional centerpiece in any bar area, bathroom, or kitchen. You want to consider what the countertops will endure every day when you pick out your materials to ensure they last, and they need to withstand nicks, scratches, frequent heat, and moisture.
Picking the countertop that best suits your budget and lifestyle will ensure that you get a look that enhances your home. We’re going to break down the biggest countertop installation cost factors below, and you can use this guide to create a working budget for this project.
Installing new countertops can be a big project to undertake, especially if you have an odd-shaped kitchen. You’ll want to consider all of the relevant factors before you take on this project to help keep your countertop installation costs low while boosting your home’s value. DSC_8531 by Daniel Hatton / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Understanding the Biggest Cost Factors for Countertop Installation
Your countertop installation cost will depend on a large range of factors. Knowing what these factors are can help you create a feasible budget for your project. You could install them when you add a new bathroom, during a minor kitchen renovation, or if you just want to update a small area in your home.
One of the biggest factors that impacts your countertop installation cost is the materials. Your materials can start at $5.00 a square foot and easily go up to $500 a square foot. The color, rarity, and material availability will all contribute to your total price.
The size and shape of your counters can cause the countertop installation cost to fluctuate too. A kitchen island or a larger peninsula will need a bigger single countertop piece. You’ll use this in a different way than you would with smaller counter runs. The type of edging and how much edging you need will factor in too. Built-up or decorative edging will make the countertop look thicker, but it’ll also drive up your prices.
Your counter’s thickness will also impact the cost. Most countertops range from ¾-inch and 1 ¼-inches thick, but you can custom-request them in a thicker size. Thinner counters have a lower cost associated with them than thicker options, even if they’re the same material and size.
If you need cut-outs in your counters for drainboards or sinks, and whether or not you want a backsplash installed as part of your countertop will influence the price. Color can also drive your countertop installation costs up because some are more rare than others.
Choosing Your Material and Price Points
Your material choice will impact your countertop installation costs, and it’s one of the first things you should decide on to lay the foundation to budget for your project. You have to weigh durability with maintenance, and don’t forget to include cost and appearance when you make your decision. Some materials may do better in the kitchen or laundry room than the bathroom, so make sure your location is a deciding factor too.
- Concrete ($75.00 to $200/square foot) – There are many options for you to customize your concrete countertops, and you can pour it into place to get the exact shape and thickness you want. Concrete is also very durable, but it does best in non-humid environments since it can be porous.
- Copper ($100 to $175/square foot) – Copper is extremely durable and comes in many thicknesses. However, copper can increase your countertop installation costs by a significant amount since it comes made to order and it is an expensive material.
- Glass Slab ($60.00 to $150/square foot) – Glass gives you a very unique appearance, and it comes in several thicknesses. You can pick out different options or colors, including clear or tinted glass. It’s made to order, so it can be more expensive.
- Granite ($35.00 to $500/square foot) – Granite is an extremely durable countertop material, and it is available in several colors and thicknesses. It’s more expensive as it’s cut to order, but it can last for decades with proper care.
- Laminate ($5.00 to $30.00/square foot) – Laminate is very readily-available, and it’s an inexpensive choice you can use to keep your countertop installation costs low. It’s very quick and easy to install, and it comes in dozens of colors and patterns.
- Marble ($57.00 to $200/square foot) – This is a classic countertop material that comes in several colors. It has a softer appearance to it, and your contractor will cut it to order to get a good fit.
- Quartz ($55.00 to $200/square foot) – Quartz is very durable, and it’s a great choice for people who want a low-maintenance option for their countertops. It does get cut to order, and there are many colors available.
- Quartzite ($75.00 to $500/square foot) – You’ll get several choices and colors with this product, and it’s also available in several thicknesses. Like quartz, this product gets cut to order too.
- Recycled Glass ($55.00 to $200/square foot) – This is an eco-friendly option that gets cut to order. However, it’s very durable while being low-maintenance, and it can be more cost-effective than some options for smaller areas.
- Slate ($75.00 to $150/square foot) – This is a more cost-effective pick that can help control your countertop installation cost. Slate has a unique texture with a darker coloring that is very classic and chic.
- Solid Surface ($50.00 to $150/square foot) – Solid surface gets made to order, and it allows you to customize your thickness and colors to suit your kitchen.
- Soapstone ($75.00 to $150/square foot) – For anyone who wants a very durable countertop that is very low-maintenance, try soapstone. Your contractor will cut it to order to fit the space, and you can tailor your thickness to your needs.
- Stainless Steel ($80.00 to $150/square foot) – This is a very durable option that comes in many thicknesses. However, it’s possible to scratch or smudge this material, and this increases your upkeep and maintenance.
- Tile ($10.00 to $70.00/square foot) – Tile is a classic countertop material choice that is made to order. You can choose from dozens of designs and colors to help tailor your choice to suit your design aesthetic.
- Wood ($20.00 to $300/square foot) – Wood is made to order, and there are many options available. It has many thicknesses, and it can lend a rustic look and feel to your kitchen.
- Zinc ($80.00 to $150/square foot) – Zinc is an extremely durable choice that your contractor will make to order to fit your kitchen. You can choose from several thicknesses and patterns to create a unique look and feel.
Granite is a very popular material for your countertops because it comes in different shades and hues, and it can have a shiny finish to make it look elegant. Dark Baltic Brown Granite Countertop with Sink by Granite Charlotte Countertops / CC BY 2.0
Comparing Various Material Prices
Since the total material type you can pick out for your counters is long, many people don’t try to make comparisons. However, there are several you can make to help you narrow down your choices, including maintenance, brand, and color.
It’s popular for people to compare quartz and granite. Quartz is a man-made material that has pigments, natural quartz, and resins in it while granite is a natural stone that features many styles and color options. Granite is harder to maintain than quartz, but quartz has a more uniform color. It lacks a lot of variation that real granite can bring to the table. For 30-square feet of granite, you’ll pay between $3,000 to $3,500. Quartz is slightly more expensive at $3,500 to $3,800 for 30-square feet.
Granite and laminate are another frequent comparison. Laminate is readily available and inexpensive, and this can help keep your countertop installation cost low. Granite can take two or three weeks to install. Laminate has a more consistent coloring, but granite can survive years longer than laminate can. Granite quill cost around $3,000 to $3,500 for 30-square feet, and laminate comes in between $500 and $1,200.
Quartz and marble are a favorite comparison. Granite is a much harder stone than marble, and marble is mostly calcite. Marble also requires more maintenance to keep it looking nice where quartz and granite do not. It also costs around the same to install marble as it does quartz.
Finally, butcher block or granite counters are a popular comparison. Butcher block counters use wood in their makeup, and this gives you pattern and color choices. They need frequent treatment to keep looking nice, and granite needs sealing. You can cut on your butcher block countertop without damaging your knives, but granite will dull them. Butcher block is also less expensive than granite at $1,300 to $1,800.
Picking a Counter Type
The counter type refers to how your counter gets formed or presented. This can also impact your countertop installation costs. There are multiple types of counters available, and some allow you to pick from more than one material. They include but are not limited to:
- Cast-In Place – You can customize this type to fit your needs, and it has a fast installation process. You get the choice of different thickness, colors, and patterns to make it suit your area. There are also accessories available.
- Curved – Anyone who has a smaller or more cramped kitchen can maximize their space with curved countertops. It comes custom-made to your kitchen’s shape and design, and they give you a very aesthetically-pleasing design.
- Modular – If you want a budget-friendly option that is readily-available, try modular counters. They have many options and colors available to choose from, and the countertop installation costs are lower because they have a fast install process.
- Organically Shaped – You can request this option in several thickness, but it is more expensive because it comes customized to your bathroom or kitchen.
- Precast – Precast counters have a very fast installation process that can reduce your countertop installation costs, and they come in different thicknesses. You can work with a contractor to customize them to your space.
- Slab – This is a single piece of material, and the colors go straight through the design. You have different thicknesses and materials to choose from, but it’s very heavy and has a difficult installation process.
- Tile – You can find tile in a huge range of price points, and it comes in different thicknesses with many options available. There are dozens of colors and designs you can pick out, and tile is very easy to clean and maintain.
- Two-Tone – You can get two-tone material ready made or customized to suit your area, and it comes in several thicknesses. You have a broad range of design options that allow you to customize it to suit your tastes.
- Wrapped Counter – This is a very inexpensive option that you can choose to have new, or you can choose to have it installed right over your existing counter.
Your counter type factors into your countertop installation costs because some are more time-consuming and difficult than others to install. Also, the pattern, color, edge, and thickness will all impact how difficult the installation process is.
Price Points for Appearance
How your countertop looks is one of the main reasons you pick one material over the other. Every type of counter comes with a slightly different look, and this is why you want to pick and tag the exact piece you want to use. Man-made counters use dye lots to create the looks, and this means that there will always be color or tone variation from one piece to the next. Granite or marble can have extreme pattern or color variations.
The edge will impact how your countertop looks. Many counters come equipped with a few edge choices. An eased edge is one of the most common, and it’s usually included in your countertop installation costs. It’s a square edge that has a softening along the top to prevent the counter from having sharp corners.
Decorative edges like bullnose, ogee, dupont, and hall bullnose will have a higher price tag associated with them. Most decorative edges come priced per linear foot, and they can increase your countertop installation costs by $10.00 to $30.00 a linear foot.
Depending on which material you choose, you may have to pick out a finish. For wood, this could be a type of stain. Matte, honed, or glossy are the three most popular types of finishes. Glossy is very highly polished, but it can show fingerprints. High gloss can disguise material flaws, so it’s popular for granite. Matte or honed finishes are better for softer stone materials like marble because it tends to dull or etch. Honed granite can show oil from fingerprints, and etching will show up less on matte finishes.
Steel or zinc is prone to scratching, and they can benefit from having a brushed finish. This finish will help disguise scratches or fingerprints from the surface. You could incur an additional charge for different finishes, but the finish usually has no impact on the final countertop installation costs.
The coloration or pattern of your counter can come in several descriptions. A solid pattern means that there is a single color without any variation from end to end. Flecked or granulated comes with one or more colors in a very tight pattern from one end to the next. Veining is a swirled color pattern that can change in position and thickness over your counter. Typically, the more varied your pattern or color is, the more it’ll increase your overall countertop installation costs because the material price will go up.
Labor will also factor into your countertop installation costs. The exact type of installation process and labor required will depend on the type of counter you pick out. Some get custom-made to your space while others come prefabricated. Other counters will be made off-site and brought in, but others will get cut or poured right in your kitchen, like concrete.
For any material that you choose to have custom-made to your exact specifications, the contractor will create a template by gluing thin balsa wood strips together in the shape of your counter. It works well for odd-sized kitchens or custom shapes, and they’ll transfer this template to the material before cutting it to get an exact fit.
When it comes to installation, they’ll have to remove the old counter and reinforce the cabinets if necessary before they can bring your new counter in and install it. If you picked out a natural stone for your counter that needs sealing, they’ll usually do this as part of the process without raising your countertop installation costs.
Typically, the countertop installation costs will get included in with the material pricing. This isn’t always the case, so you do want to ask any contractor you work with when they give you quotes. Your countertop installation costs for labor can range from $10.00 to $30.00 per foot, and the size of the job, your location, and the material will all factor in. Installation can take between two to five hours to finish after they take measurements and create templates.
Templating Appointment Prices
Before you order your countertop, many companies want you to have an in-home consultation, or a templating appointment. The contractor will come to your home and make a balsa wood template of your counters out of thin strips. They’ll take this template and use it to create the correct shape and size of the counter you need for your space.
They’ll also make note of cut-outs, edging, stove or sink placement, and seams. Even ready-made options should have a template so that your contractor can source the correct sized pieces for the space. They typically include templating and this visit in your countertop installation cost when they quote you. It could take an hour or two at $10.00 to $30.00 an hour.
Optional Cost Factors
There are several options factors that you can choose to get, and they can increase your countertop installation costs. You have to look at your budget and decide whether or not it’s feasible to add them when you create your plan.
A lot of countertops come with a four-inch backsplash already included in their countertop installation costs. If they don’t and you want one, be aware that it’ll raise your costs by the amount of square footage you need to cover. So, if you want $40.00 material and you have five feet to cover, you’ll pay an extra $200. It’s not necessary to the life of your counter, but it can add a decorative effect.
If you’re getting a new counter, why not replace your old cabinets with new ones at the same time? For a set of six upper and lower cabinets, you can expect to add around $3,600 to your countertop installation cost, and the material and style will factor in.
If your goal is to make your new countertop the focal point of your room, install under-cabinet lighting. You can also install new light fixtures that will illuminate your entire room and show off your new additions, and this costs between $100 and $200 a square foot. It’s very popular with concrete countertops.
Depending on the material, asking for a sink cutout can add $100 per cutout. This doesn’t include the cost of the sink itself, and this can range from $100 to $1,000. You’ll also need a plumber to install the sink, and this can range from $45.00 to $65.00 an hour.
Where to Find Countertop Installation Experts Near You
If you’re looking to control your countertop installation costs but you still want to bring in experts, shop around and get a few quotes. The following will help you search your local area for companies that excel in installing new countertops:
Frequently Asked Questions
Knowing which questions to ask when you talk to contractors will help you get a clear view of your price points for this project. It’s a good idea to get a few quotes and ask each contractor you contact the same set of questions. Countertops by NatalieMaynor / CC BY 2.0
1. What is the most budget-friendly countertop material?
Laminate is the least expensive type of countertop material, and costs start at around $5.00 a square foot. However, it may not hold up as well as other choices, and this means you’ll spend more trying to keep it looking nice.
2. How do you calculate the square footage of your counters?
Countertops get sold by the piece or square foot. To get an estimate, you’ll want to divide your kitchen or room into smaller rectangles or squares. Measure each in inches, and multiple the depth by the length. Add everything together and divide by 144-inches. This will give you the total square footage.
3. Is it a good idea to replace the cabinets and countertops at one time?
A full kitchen remodel can easily cost thousands of dollars. If your room’s last big upgrade or remodel was 10 to 15 years ago, it could be a good investment to replace the cabinets at the same time as the countertops. Installing new cabinets can change the feel of the room, and it can add value to your home if you ever want to sell.
Your countertop installation cost has a variety of factors that goes into giving you a total price point. Being able to estimate this point allows you to create a working budget and decide if you can swing the price. We’ve outlined the biggest considerations for you, and you can use this guide to find out a rough countertop installation cost for your upcoming project.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.