What Is the Cost of Granite Countertops?
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One of the most elegant and durable countertop materials available today, granite is featured in 64% of new homes. Many existing homeowners also choose granite over ceramic or quartz countertops when remodeling their kitchens.
Granite countertops are among the most expensive options, costing much more than ceramic tile or laminate. Among higher-end options, though, granite presents a surprisingly affordable average cost. The price range for granite countertops varies widely from higher-cost styles to cut-rate prices.
This guide will discuss the total cost of granite countertops, the natural stone’s benefits and drawbacks, and how it compares to other options.
How Much Do Granite Countertops Cost?
On average, granite countertops cost between $40 and $60 per square foot. The price depends on granite type, installation complexity, and other factors. Labor prices also vary based on location, product availability, and cost of living, which all help determine the installer’s bid.
When compared to other luxury options, granite countertop prices look surprisingly affordable:
|Type of Countertop||Price per Square Foot||Estimated Installation Costs||Maintenance Costs|
|Laminate||$15–$40||$8–$10 per square foot||Low|
|Tile||$18–$35||$15–$25 per square foot||Moderate|
|Solid Surface||$35–$85||$50–$120 per square foot||Low|
|Granite||$40–$200||$35–$85 per hour||Moderate|
|Bamboo||$40–$95||$50–$125 per hour||Low to Moderate|
|Recycled Glass||$50–$125||$30–$80 per hour||Low|
|Engineered Quartz||$55–$155||$50–$200 per square foot||Low|
|Butcher Block||$55–$200||$5–$15 per square foot||Moderate to High|
|Soapstone||$60–$185||$55–$125 per square foot||Low|
|Porcelain||$60–$100||$15–$50 per square foot||Low|
|Marble||$75–$250||$35–$45 per hour||High|
|Reclaimed Wood||$115–$300||$25–$75 per hour||Moderate to High|
Materials make up about 40% to 50% of your budget, so granite countertops for a small kitchen may run far less than for an average-size kitchen. When determining how much granite you need, remember to add the square footage for your kitchen island if you have one.
Granite’s longevity as a countertop material depends on keeping it sealed. An unsealed countertop can show stains, particularly if you have chosen a textured or highly polished granite. Your installer should seal the product upon delivery, and you will need to reseal it about once per year after that.
Once sealed, granite is relatively easy to maintain. Dust your countertops with a soft cloth every week, and wipe up spills using plain water, mild detergent, or a cleaner that’s pH balanced for granite.
To determine when your countertop needs resealing, splash a few drops of water on it. If they bead up, your product is in great shape. If the granite absorbs the water, however, resealing is in order. You can hire someone to reseal your countertop or purchase a can of granite sealer and follow the instructions to do it yourself.
Factors That Affect Granite Countertop Prices
The price for new countertops varies based on granite type, installation complexity, and other factors.
The cost of granite countertops depends on the type of granite you choose. All granite is a type of igneous rock, but it comes in various grades and colors.
High-quality granite features distinctive patterns and vibrant or rare colors and may be quarried in the Mediterranean. High-end options can cost more than $100 per square foot installed.
Less expensive, commercial-grade granite typically comes in gray, black, or white and has been quarried in India, Brazil, or Canada. These budget options start at $30 per square foot installed.
Mid-grade granite falls between these two in both cost and aesthetics. Mid-range options range from $40 to $70 per square foot installed.
Countertop size will have the biggest impact on price. The larger the countertop space in your home, the more expensive it will be to replace it with new countertop material.
In modern American kitchens, the average countertop space is about 30 square feet. This number varies widely, according to a home’s floor plan. Larger homes often include more countertop space.
Assuming you own a larger-than-average kitchen, your granite countertop could cost anywhere from $2,000 to $4,500. A smaller countertop can cost as little as $1,200, while a truly expansive one can cost more than $6,000.
In general, the thicker the countertop, the higher the price. That’s because thinner granite is usually considered a lower quality stone. While you can purchase other countertop materials in three sizes, granite comes in sheets either 2 centimeters (cm) or 3 cm thick.
Countertops that look like a thick slab of granite are typically not as thick as they appear. These granite counters are created by using a feather miter to fashion a dramatic edge. For these impressive pieces, it’s all about the edge profile.
The cost of granite countertops also varies depending on your chosen edge profile. Typical edge profiles are straight, bevel, bullnose, ogee, eased, and custom. Each option has a unique look and feel, so choosing the one that best fits your style is essential.
If your existing countertop features a small or thin-edge profile, installing granite countertops with a deeper edge can be tempting. This rarely works because the edge impacts the drawer fronts in the cabinetry below your countertops. If you want your kitchen counter to look like a granite slab, talk with your installer about your options before investing in the materials.
Number of Cutouts
A countertop cutout is a hole cut into the countertop to accommodate a sink or cooktop. The cutout cost will depend on the size and shape of the hole and the countertop material.
The more cutouts you have in your granite countertop, the more expensive it will be. The average cost for a basic sink cutout is $200, but it can range from $100 to $500. This charge comes on top of the fee for sink installation.
When you start budgeting for your kitchen remodel, material costs are only one consideration. The price of installation for your countertops can double your final cost. You may save on labor costs if you install your kitchen countertops yourself.
A complex installation could put the job out of the average homeowner’s ability. At a minimum, you will have to remove the existing countertops, dispose of them properly, cut your new granite countertops, install them, and craft the edges and corners.
Benefits of Installing Granite Countertops
Granite countertops add a touch of elegance to a kitchen or bathroom vanity. Besides the aesthetic appeal, upgrading to granite may add value to your home when you decide to put it on the market. Granite countertops offer practical benefits, too, such as the following:
Durability and Heat Resistance
Granite is one of the hardest stones on earth, making it an ideal material for countertops. The stone’s durability comes from its unique composition. Granite is made of interlocking crystals resistant to scratches, chipping, and staining. So if you try to slice it with a knife blade, you will not leave a mark.
Granite is also exceptionally heat-resistant by nature. Since the stone was formed by heat and pressure from magma beneath the earth’s crust, it will not scorch if you set a hot pan on it.
Ease of Cleaning
Granite countertops are easy to clean, a big plus for busy families or anyone who loves to cook. Spills wipe up quickly, and the surface is resistant to etching from most acidic substances.
Granite is a porous substance, so it can stain. As a best practice, blot stains immediately and clean the kitchen counters‘ surfaces with a soft cloth or sponge.
Also, be wary of most common household cleaners. Chemicals in many of these substances can eat away the finish, leaving your granite kitchen countertops exposed to stains. Don’t use softer cleansers like grout cleaner when cleaning granite countertops as these can dull the stone’s shine. Instead, try a mild soap-and-water solution or a custom-made cleaner for granite.
Increased Home Value
Home sales begin in the kitchen. Consequently, 30% of real estate agents recommend investing in a kitchen upgrade before listing your home. Granite countertops are one of the most affordable and eye-catching updates you can make.
Granite has been a staple in new and updated American kitchens since the 1990s, when quarrying and shipping the stone became more affordable. Today, the stone has become the go-to choice for home builders and buyers.
Variety of Colors, Patterns, and Finishes
Granite countertops come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, so you can find something to match your taste and style.
Buyers can choose between polished or matte finishes, black granite or white granite countertops, and neutral tones or dark leathered granite designs. Granite even comes with different veining patterns and swirls, which can contrast nicely with your cabinets, backsplash, or floor style.
Granite vs. Quartz
Both quartz and granite offer attractive, durable options for kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities. While either can be a good choice for upgrading your kitchen, the differences between the two come down to more than mere aesthetic preferences.
Granite and Its Benefits
Granite is a hard stone that has been quarried, cut, and polished for use. Because of the way it is formed under the earth, no granite slab looks exactly like another. The inclusions of different minerals make the granite’s colors, patterns, and swirls distinctive.
Quartz and Its Benefits
Quartz countertops are made from 95% ground quartz and 5% polymer. Quartz looks like a smooth stone, making it easy to match your kitchen. It is harder and slightly more durable than granite, and since it does not have to be quarried, it may be more environmentally friendly.
DIY vs. Professional Installation
The cost of granite countertops ranges from $2,000 to $4,500, with the average homeowner spending around $3,000 on materials and installation. The price varies based on several factors, including the type of granite, the size and shape of your countertop, and whether you install it yourself or hire a professional.
If you’re handy with tools and have some experience with home improvement projects, you may be able to save money by doing the work yourself. Most homeowners opt to hire a professional for the installation, as it is a complex project that requires specialized tools and knowledge.
How to Choose a Granite Countertop Installer
Keep in mind a few key factors when choosing a granite countertop installer. Be sure to ask your potential installer the following questions:
- What experience do you have with the type of granite I’ve selected?
- What kind of warranty do you offer on your installment?
- Do you only work on basic edges, or can you work on this special edge?
- Can you fabricate a leathered edge or only a polished one?
Will you apply sealant, or does that cost extra?
Granite is an excellent investment; it is durable, easy to care for, and adds beauty and value to your home. Granite countertops also come in stunning colors, textures, patterns, sizes, and finishes. They add warmth and strength to your home’s appearance. They are not, however, easy to install.
While wooden or laminate countertops may be ideal for your inner DIYer, granite countertop installation is best done by professionals. You will pay for the service, but if you choose a quality craftsman, you run less risk of damaging your stone.