Countertop Installation Cost Factors
Choosing the right countertop for your kitchen will help tie everything together. When you’re deciding on what to do, here are the main factors that’ll affect your project’s final cost.
The material you choose for your countertop will largely affect your costs. You might decide to go with a budget-friendly option like laminate countertops which is $8 to $27 per square foot or go with something classically luxurious like marble, which ranges between $15 to $190 per square foot. There are also other options that fall in between the spectrum, like wood, corian, stainless steel, and granite.
To understand how much you should set aside for your countertop installation, you should first figure out the size of your countertops. Generally, the depth of kitchen countertops is 25.5 inches while kitchen islands can range between 24 inches to 48 inches deep.
Also, the average countertop is 30 square feet. Your countertops may be bigger or smaller, but either way, it's good to start by measuring your countertops.
Edging and Corner Treatments
Different countertop edges and corner treatments for your countertops can offer visual appeal as well as practical advantages. Here are the most common options available.
Beveled edges are 45-degree angles along the top of the counter. Adding beveled edges to your counter costs $10 to $15 per linear foot. The angled edge makes it easier to wipe the surface while offering a pleasing, modern look.
The dupont edge, also called the “bird’s beak,” looks like the namesake with a curved quarter round-cut at the bottom and a sharp, 90-degree cut at the top. It adds an extra pop of luxury to countertops and costs $20 to $40 per linear foot.
The full bullnose has a rounded top and bottom for a sleek, contemporary appearance. It costs $10 to $15 per linear foot.
The half bullnose has a rounded top and a square bottom. This option ranges between $10 to $15 per linear foot.
Mitered edges have a seamless and simple look that costs $20 to $25 per linear foot. The two pieces of the countertop are cut at 45-degree angles and are joined together. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a modern edge that doesn’t distract from the beauty of countertop materials.
Ogee edges have a 90-degree edge on the bottom with an S-shaped cut at the top. It’s an eye-catching option that costs $20 to $25 per linear foot.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Countertops
While indoor countertops are usually around 30 square feet, outdoor countertops are typically 12 to 20 square feet. Depending on the materials you choose, it may be more affordable to install outdoor countertops than indoor ones.
Keep in mind that you don’t have as many materials options for outdoor countertops. The best materials to install outside include granite, quartz, soapstone, and concrete.
Depending on where you live, the cost of countertops could be higher or lower than average. For example, if you’re in an urban area, your countertop project is likely to cost more than if you live in a rural area.
Because installing countertops is labor-intensive and requires expertise, you can expect labor to make up about half of your project costs. This can vary depending on your countertop materials and custom requirements, like adding edges and cutouts.
Cost of Countertops by Material
Which countertop material you choose to install can not only change the look of your kitchen but greatly affect the cost of a kitchen remodel.
Granite is a super popular countertop material thanks to its durability and variety of textures and colors. Granite countertops cost around $2,000 to $4,500 to install based on quality and size. For whole slabs, you'll usually pay anywhere from $15 to $140 per square foot, while prefabricated pieces typically cost $10 to $35 per square foot.
Due to small slab sizes, soapstone seams are often visible when your countertop is longer than 7 feet, so you’ll commonly see it used in smaller kitchens. It's also fairly soft, making it prone to scratches, so it's not a great choice for kitchens with a lot of traffic.
Because it's an all-natural stone, soapstone's colors are limited to the beauty of Mother Nature, so most of these countertops are dark gray or black with a blue or green tint. Soapstone countertops cost between $2,700 to $4,200 to install, or $20 to $70 per square foot.
Marble isn't quite as hard as granite, but it's still pretty durable, making it a fine choice for busy kitchens. Quality is a major factor affecting the price of marble, which ranges from $15 to $190 per square foot, but you can usually find quality marble around $25 to $60 per square foot.
In general, marble countertops cost about $3,000 to install. This material comes in many different color options, including stark white, jet black, red, and gold, so it's easy to find just the right fit for your aesthetic.
Stain-resistant and a breeze to clean, slate countertops are a particularly great choice for households full of little ones. But if you do have kids at home, you'll want to make sure that the edges of your slate countertops are sanded down during installation since they can get pretty sharp.
The cost to install slate countertops is around $1,100 to $5,000, or $30 to $90 per square foot.
Limestone comes in neutral hues ranging from pale gray to golden brown and usually costs around $1,100 to $5,500 or about $10 to $70 per square foot to install. It's a fairly soft and porous stone, so you'll want to seal it regularly to help prevent damage from scratches and stains.
Travertine countertops usually come in stone slabs or tile and cost between $1,150 and $3,600, or $11 to $35 per square foot. Travertine looks similar to limestone, but it's typically a bit darker, with deep veins running through it, which can feature a variety of different hues. To maintain travertine's shine, you need to polish it occasionally.
Quartz vs. Quartzite Countertops
Quartz and quartzite are often mistaken for each other, but they have distinct differences. Quartz is an engineered stone comprising small crystals bound by resin, while quartzite is a solid, all-natural stone. Because quartz is bound by resin, it's highly durable and doesn't require sealant. Quartzite, however, is more porous, so it requires regular sealing.
Quartz countertops cost around $15 to $70 per square foot, while quartzite costs $55 to $75 per square foot.
Coming in all kinds of colors and styles, Corian is a great choice for anyone with very specific style preferences. Plus, it's nonporous, so it doesn't require sealant, but it's not very moisture-resistant, so it's not recommended for humid climates. The average cost to install Corian countertops is $4,000, or $20 to $75 per square foot.
A more budget-friendly alternative to natural stone, acrylic countertops can mimic materials like quartz and granite while costing much less. Typical acrylic countertop installation costs $1,300 to $3,300, or $13 to $30 per square foot. Acrylic is also ideal for high-traffic kitchens thanks to its durability and how easy it is to clean.
Laminate is a relatively affordable countertop material, typically ranging from $800 to $1,650 or $8 to $27 per square foot. However, there are pros and cons to laminate countertops. If you have a bustling kitchen, then laminate might not be the right fit since it tends to chip, fade, and show scratches faster than most other materials. It can also be damaged by high heat, especially if it's not sealed adequately.
Ceramic or Porcelain Countertops
Because both ceramic and porcelain break and scratch fairly easily, they work best in kitchens that see minimal use. If you love to experiment in the kitchen or regularly prep meals for a family of five, then a more durable countertop material, like granite, might be a better choice for you. Ceramic or porcelain tiles work well for backsplashes that undergo less wear and tear rather than heavy-duty countertops. Ceramic is slightly less expensive than porcelain, costing $1 to $15 per square foot compared to $3 to $28 per square foot for porcelain.
You can use many different stains and glazes on concrete, which means concrete countertops come in nearly endless colors. The material is prone to cracking and chips, but a good sealant can help prevent them. Concrete countertops cost an average of $3,300 to $7,200, or $50 to $100 per square foot.
The warm appearance of wood makes it a good fit for rustic or otherwise organic aesthetics, but you'll need to seal this type of countertop monthly to maintain it. The price of wood countertops varies by the type of wood you get, with bamboo being the least expensive, but a 55-square-foot wood countertop installation typically costs between $1,550 and $3,800, or $18 to $38 per square foot.
Stainless Steel Countertops
Stainless steel countertops are low-maintenance and durable, making them a popular choice in commercial kitchens. However, they scratch easily, so you'll want to keep that in mind if a pristine appearance is paramount. It typically costs $3,900 to $7,200 to install stainless steel countertops or around $60 to $100 per square foot.
Thanks to copper's antimicrobial properties, copper countertops have been growing in popularity. They're also a cinch to clean, so they lend themselves well to busy residential and commercial kitchens. They are, however, pretty pricey, ranging from $5,500 to $9,625 for a 55-square-foot countertop.
Recycled Paper Composite
Recycled paper composite countertops are composed of various fibers and resin, making them more durable than wood but lighter than most other solid surfaces. The cost to install this countertop ranges from $3,050 to $5,500, or $45 to $70 per square foot.
Recycled Glass Countertops
Heat-resistant but prone to scratching, recycled glass countertops run the gamut of appearances, ranging from smooth and consistent to unique and striking, depending on how the recycled pieces are melted down and poured. This type of countertop costs $3,700, on average, or $45 to $135 per square foot.
Cost of Countertops by Type
Once you decide on your countertop material, you can move on to figuring out which type of countertop you want. From precast, slab, to modular options and more, your project costs will vary depending on what you decide you want.
A cast-in-place countertop costs between $50 and $125 per square foot. With cast-in-place countertops, a pro pours concrete into a mold on-site in your kitchen. This method helps ensure a perfect fit.
A precast concrete countertop costs between $60 to $150 per square foot. With this method, a contractor will precast the material off-site, let it cure, then deliver and install it in your home.
The cost of a countertop slab really depends on the material. Typically, a granite slab costs between $40 and $60 per square foot, while a marble slab runs closer to $60 to $100 per square foot.
Modular granite countertops cost $25 to $40 per square foot. This type of countertop is made of thin, mismatched, polished sections that require reinforcement.
Tile countertops range from $2 to $30 a square foot. On average, installing a tile countertop costs about $1,500. The price again depends on the material, so the final project can start at $500 for basic ceramic or porcelain or $3,000 for marble.
Additional Factors Influencing the Cost of Countertop Installation
Several factors affect the overall cost to install countertops, so keep them in mind while putting together your budget.
Removal and Disposal of Old Countertops
The typical flat-rate cost to remove a kitchen countertop is $50 to $300, depending on the counter’s size and any complex factors, like plumbing workarounds. This cost may not include the disposal fee, which is usually around $20 to $25.
Sink Cutouts and Installation
In the case that your countertop installer doesn’t include sink cutouts into the installation costs, expect to pay an additional $100. You should also factor in another $300 to $500 for the kitchen sink installation.
If you decide to restore or refinish a countertop, it’ll cost between $300 and $500, with an average of $400. In this process, you’d clean the countertop before sanding it, then add a base coat and apply a sealer.
If you decide you want patterns or other custom design work on your new countertop, that’ll cost extra. The exact price depends on what intricacy of the pattern you want. A pro can give you an accurate estimate before making your creative vision come to life.
Additional Electrical Work
Your countertop installation may require electrical work, especially if it’s a brand-new installation or if you’re planning on adding modern amenities like a pop-up outlet. An electrician usually charges $50 to $100 per hour.
Cost to Install My Own Countertop
Knowing how to install countertops requires a fair bit of knowledge and skill, so it's not recommended as a DIY project unless you have some experience with it. But you can help your professional installation go faster by making sure to clean up as much as possible beforehand so your installers can jump straight into the job.
DIY vs. Hiring a Pro
DIYing the job will save you money compared to hiring a pro since labor costs range from $10 to $30 per square foot. However, some countertop slabs weigh as much as 200 pounds or more, so it's a big—and sometimes impossible—job for one person.
In most cases, you should hire a countertop contractor near you to get the job done for you. The labor costs you pay will be worthwhile, especially since making a mistake with countertop installation is potentially very costly. For one, if you damage the countertop, you would need to order the materials twice.
Cost of Common Countertop Add-Ons
Here are common countertop add-ons to keep in mind as you create a budget for your countertop installation.
Whether you’re installing a brand-new countertop or updating an old one, choosing a matching backsplash is an important part of creating a cohesive kitchen. Installing backsplash costs $600 to $1,300 depending on materials.
No kitchen countertop is complete without a cooktop. Cutouts for a cooktop is $110, while cooktop installation costs $70 to $155.
How to Save on the Cost of Countertops
Countertops can be a big investment, so you may be wondering how you can save some money.
The easiest way to potentially save money is to shop around and get several estimates. But be thoughtful about who you decide to go with in the long run, and don’t make your decision solely based on pricing. When choosing who to hire to replace countertops, consider things like other homeowners’ testimonials and the company’s credentials.
Also, you can save money by taking a look at the different grades of materials available. For example, if you want granite countertops, you can choose a lower grade that may be more affordable.
And if you decide that your project is way past your budget during the planning phase, you might opt for a more budget-friendly material.
Additionally, if you’re willing to do some work yourself, you might want to do the demo and get rid of the old countertop before the installers arrive to shave some money from the installation cost.
Kelly Weimert contributed to this piece.