How Much Do Granite Countertops Cost? When homeowners are considering granite countertops for their kitchen or bathroom, price is always something to take into account. This beautiful material is not cheap, but there are factors in every project that determine whether the granite kitchen countertops cost will be moderately expensive or very expensive. Let’s explore those factors.
Granite Kitchen Countertops Cost Factors
As we’ve noted in other posts, granite countertop prices for the material and installation range from about $100 per square foot up to $250. That’s a broad spectrum! Here are the factors that affect the price you’ll pay for granite counters.
The grade of the material: There are typically four grades of material: closeout/clearance, builder’s grade, premium and designer. Each vendor uses their own specific labels, but those terms give you an idea of what you’ll find.
Clearance granite is usually fairly plain without much of the veining that differentiates one slab from another. Builder’s grade is often granite of the same quality as clearance, but it just hasn’t been moved to the closeout category yet. These are pre-fab slabs for off-the-shelf installation rather than custom cut countertops.
Don’t write off clearance and builder’s grade. It can be very beautiful material, and those who desire a more understated look will love it.
Premium and designer grades are the expensive stuff. They are used in custom jobs where slabs are specifically fabricated for the project. You’ll find lots of veining and color in this stone, and that makes it rarer. One look at it, when compared with plainer grades, and you’ll understand the higher cost.
The complexity of the job: The number of seams, corners and the type of edge are the factors that determine the degree of installation difficulty. The fewer of these there are, the less the labor part of the job will cost. U-shaped counters with multiple seams and an edge that’s difficult to cut are the costliest.
Who is installing the countertops: Obviously, the cheapest option is to do it yourself. Of course, you’ll only save money if you do the job properly without damaging the material in the process. Depending on the grade of the material and complexity of the work, labor can account for up to 50% of the total cost, though 20% to 25% is more the average.
Using a licensed contractor supplied by an interior designer generally costs the most. In between DIY and designer, your granite countertop installation options include a skilled handyman and the supplier of the material. Only consider hiring an installer that is experienced, licensed and insured.
Who you work with: Working directly with the supplier of the material costs less than getting your countertops through a custom builder or interior designer. The savings might be as much as 25%, though 15% is average.
Granite Kitchen Countertops Prices Overview
These prices are by the square foot of finished countertop:
- Pre-fab slabs, easy, DIY: $45 to $85
- Pre-fab, easy, handyman: $75 to $115
- Custom slabs, easy, custom edge, supplier installed: $95 to $150
- Custom slabs, moderate, custom edge, supplier installed: $115 to $175
- Custom slabs, moderate, custom edge, designer-sourced installation: $140 to $200
- Custom slabs, complex, custom edge, designer-sourced installation: $175 to $250
When choosing granite, you’ll find the lowest prices when you receive several estimates from contractors and suppliers. Be sure to see the material each is offering at that price. Take pictures of each when possible in order to compare the grade of each side by side. For an overview of granite countertops, see our guide Pros and Cons of Granite Kitchen Countertops.
Granite countertops were up and coming a decade ago, but they continue to be one of the most popular choices for kitchens and bathrooms today. Homeowners considering granite countertops will have a wide variety of colors, patterns and designs from which to choose. Knowing the facts about granite before you buy will help you make the right choice one that will last for years to come.
Cost to Install Granite Countertops
Once you?ve chosen granite tiles or slab granite for your kitchen or bath, it?s time to start the countertop installation. Some of the additional costs involved in this process include:
- Labor: $300 – $500
- Edging: $200 – $300
- Materials (excluding granite): $400 – $600
- Seams: $200 – $300
With the price of the granite material included, it could cost anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000 to have a granite countertop installed. This cost may also include a backsplash and cutouts for your sink or bar area. It depends on your installer, so be sure your ask when you getting a quote from your countertop professional. If you have a slab granite countertop installed, it will take anywhere from one to two days. If you have granite tiles installed professionally, it could take up to a day depending on dry time.
Where to Buy Granite Kitchen Countertops
When considering where to buy your granite tiles or slabs, it?s important to note that home improvement stores offer a limited supply. Local fabricators and contractors have access to a wider variety of options and may charge less for granite in bulk than a retail outlet. Here are three reasons to go with a fabricator instead of a local home improvement store:
Choices: Home improvement stores have a maximum of about 30 styles of granite. These are considered commodity choices because they?re uniform. Local fabricators, on the other hand, have access to hundreds of unique options.
Installing the Granite: Local stores don?t personally install your countertop; they outsource it to a third party. This leads to a lot of confusion and hassle if something goes wrong. If you go with a local fabricator who has a contractor on-hand, you?ll have no problem handling any issues that come up.
Layout: Local suppliers often take the time to personally lay out and pattern your countertop to your specifications. A big-box store usually just goes with a pattern.
Granite Kitchen Countertops Pros and Cons
Whether you should install slab or tile granite countertops depends on your project, your budget and what you?re looking to accomplish. You can purchase slab granite countertops for $50 to $60 per square foot, while you can get granite tile for $10 to $40 per square foot.
Slab granite is better for kitchens with a modern, contemporary look or small kitchens with a simple layout. Granite tiles are best for complicated counter layouts and difficult spaces. Tiles can also be a good DIY project to save money on your remodel; however, tile is not for everyone. Some drawbacks to granite tile include:
- Cheap-looking in upscale kitchens
- Grout must be sealed apart from the tile
- Grout has to match tile exactly
- Grout has to be resealed on a regular basis
- Must have a hidden countertop under the tiles
- Must be scrubbed to remove food from the grout
Installing granite tiles involves laying them in a particular way, adding the grout in between and allowing the grout to dry for several hours. Granite slab, on the other hand, requires professional installation because of the weight of the slab. It usually takes about a day to install a granite slab countertop. Slab granite also requires re-sealing on occasion, but it does not require maintenance on a regular basis like granite tile does. A granite slab is also easier to clean, which makes it better for kitchen function.
Most homeowners choose to install a granite slab countertop, unless they?re looking for a quick solution. Granite slab countertops last longer, are easier to install and come with less maintenance. While they?re less expensive, granite tiles can cost more money in the long run. If you are looking into granite countertops for your kitchen you may want to keep the following granite kitchen countertops pros and cons.