Hello, readers! Welcome back to the Stonehouse Countertops’ blog. We’re happy to have you here! You’ll find everything you need to know about the maintenance and care of various custom countertop materials on this blog. We also provide comprehensive deep dives into various aspects of the design and installation process. Our goal is to equip you with the information you need to commission the perfect countertops for your space. Our last article explored the differences between natural stone and laminate. If you’re currently deciding on a material for your countertops, we recommend giving the last article a quick read!
The process of commissioning and installing countertops can be an expensive one. Seemingly minor adjustments and aesthetic preferences can rack up extra costs and, before you know what’s happened, you’re over budget. There are numerous ways to save money when renovating your kitchen, outdoor patio, or commercial space. Today, we’ll detail how to cut costs while still achieving the countertops of your dreams. Keep reading for everything you need to know about saving money during the countertop process!
The first step in any financial literacy course is always drafting a budget and there’s a good reason why this is the first step. “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” right? A budget can act as a vague map. Before you begin your journey, you’ll want to know where you hope to end up. If you aren’t willing to spend above a certain amount of money, then you can and should keep this number in mind. This number will inform each step you take subsequently and help you rule out certain options down the road. You don’t need an uber-specific budget with categories and multiple price thresholds (although you’re welcome to develop one if you have the time). Your budget can be as simple as three numbers: your overall max budget, how much you hope to spend, and how much you hope to save. The next few sections will assist you with the last one.
Cost Effective Materials
Which material you decide to use in your project will be the most influential decision in regard to the final price tag. Your choice of material will most likely be based on three factors: affordability, design, and availability. Most people place design at the forefront of their decision-making, but this isn’t advised. Many materials can resemble each other while varying greatly in their price points. Design is an important aspect, but staying within your set budget is more important.
Below is a list of materials and their average price ranges per square foot.
|Granite||Between $32 and $75 per square foot|
|Cultured Granite||Between $35 and $62 per square foot|
|Marble||Between $40 and $100 per square foot|
|Cultured Marble||Between $30 and $100 per square foot|
|Quartzite||Between $60 and $120 per square foot|
|Quartz||Between $50 and $120 per square foot|
|Soapstone||Between $55 and $100 per square foot|
|Laminate||Between $20 and $50 per square foot|
|Butcher’s Block||Between $32 and $200 per square foot|
As you can see, there’s a marked difference in price between natural stone materials and their engineered counterparts. Cultured granite and cultured marble are the result of combining unsaturated polyester resin, recycled stone particles, fillers and pigments. Neither material is necessarily composed of granite or marble, respectively, but they are made to resemble the natural stone. If you crave the appearance of granite or marble, you may be able to cut costs by choosing a cultured option.
If you’re set on the unique look and feel of real granite countertops, keep in mind that granite is priced according to its grade. The grade of granite reflects its availability, its shipping cost, and its distinctiveness, if not its quality. Each of these aspects directly affect the price of the resulting granite slab. Shop around for a lower grade of granite if you’re hoping to find cheaper prices. You could also look into the possibility of using granite tiles, which are simple to install and
There’s a sizable range in price between the low-end of a certain material and the high-end of a certain material. For example, you may assume that Butcher’s Block is outside of your price range, as the material can be found for prices nearing two-hundred dollars. However, if you find a Butcher’s Block supplier offering $35 per square foot, you could end up paying less than you would for laminate priced at $45 per square foot, though laminate is considered the “cheaper” option. Do your research. Chances are you’ll be able to find the material you want at a price point which works for you and your budget.
DIY or Professional?
You might assume installing countertops yourself is the best way to save money. And, you’d be wrong. Amateur professionals make amateur mistakes, which can end up becoming quite expensive. Certain materials—such as laminate or tile—are DIY-friendly and minor mistakes won’t necessarily bust your budget. Other materials, however, must be cut to precise measurements. A simple miscalculation in measuring your space can result in subpar results. Professionals are skilled at handling heavy materials, leveling surfaces, and ensuring the product lasts for many years. In the long run, you’re better off investing in a professional to install your countertops.
You’ll want to visit at least two or three companies and request estimates based on the rough measurements you’ve taken of your space. The reason you want as many quotes as possible is because some companies will charge for select services while others will not charge for the same services. Such services include the demolition and clean-up of previous countertops, sink and cooktop cutouts, plumbing hook-ups, and certain edge treatments. If you can find a professional who is willing to perform these services at no extra cost, then you’ve saved yourself some money right there! Only seek quotes from established, fully-insured companies. You can research the best suppliers in your area using the Natural Stone Institute website. Finding a reputable company with good rates can save you almost a thousand dollars!
Requesting itemized lists has become all the rage in recent times and with good reason! Hidden costs can leave you with a bill that’s vastly outpaced your budget. An itemized list can give you an accurate picture of where your money’s going and give you the power to decline products and services you just don’t need. As well, this list allows you to compare the prices of individual services and possibly outsource tasks. Printing out an itemized list shouldn’t be a problem for whichever company you plan on working with to obtain your dream countertops.
Buying Fixtures Separately
This tip can be tricky to execute, as some companies will not allow you to buy fixtures like sinks and faucets separately. However, if this is an option, you should opt out of the fixtures offered by your countertop supplier and opt for pieces which fit within your budget. You can often find used or wholesale fixtures at much lower prices.
Countertop suppliers will often offer remnants, which are the excess materials from other completed projects. Remnants can be smaller than your average slab and might not fit into your design plan. However, if you’re on a strict budget this is a wonderful option for finding expensive materials at a more affordable price.
Of course, prefabricated countertops—countertops which have been cut and polished before being sold—are a less expensive option than custom countertops. These countertops fit onto your standard, store-bought cabinets and are affordable at low-to-medium price ranges. These countertops eliminate a measure of choice, in regard to finish and edging, and aren’t a good option for spaces with unusual dimensions. However, this is still a great way to save money in the countertop process.
Saving money doesn’t have to be hard and you don’t need to give up your ideal countertops. With a bit of effort and research, in addition to staying within your budget, you can find massive savings! As always, we here at Stonehouse Countertops are happy to help! Equipped with information, you’re now able to make the choice best suited to you and your needs. At Stonehouse Countertops, we are willing and able to work with you to your specifications. We offer a wide range of different materials and always have someone on hand to answer your questions! Don’t hesitate to reach out for consultation or for help forming a plan. We want to ensure your vision becomes a reality! Check back into our blog for more information on custom countertops and material maintenance. Until next time, thanks for reading!