Expensive Countertop Material To Avoid If You're Balling On A Budget

With countertops, there are many materials to pick from, and your final decision will be determined by the look you're going for, the material's durability, and how much you have to spend to make it all a reality in your kitchen. This is because countertop costs go beyond the material and also involve the costs and requirements of the installation and any subsequent customization. Based on this, we think it's best to avoid materials like quartz and granite if you're on a tight budget.

If you're building or renovating a kitchen, expect the bulk of your budget to go towards the cabinetry, appliances, and countertops, because these will make or break it. They determine how functional and livable the space is and whether it's dated or modern. Top-notch countertop materials like quartz and granite are so expensive because they are made from luxurious natural stones that can instantly upgrade and elevate your kitchen. If you aren't able to splurge on this, don't worry, because there are other more affordable countertop materials to consider like laminate, slate, solid surface, soapstone, and wood or bamboo.


You can expect to pay around $55 to $155 per square foot when it comes to quartz countertops. They are expensive mainly because they are produced by mining high-quality quartz and mixing it with other materials in a specific, complex process. The final product then comes out as super-durable because it's nonporous and scratch-resistant. When it comes to the installation, quartz countertops can only be put in by experienced professionals, which further adds to the final cost. If you're not able to pay for both the material and the labor, you should avoid quartz for your countertops.

At $8 to $40 per square foot, consider laminate as an alternative to quartz. While it can't offer the same level of durability, modern laminate countertops can still help you achieve a high-end kitchen because they can mimic quartz very well. They also cost less to install and are easier to cut and modify, if needed. This is especially helpful because quartz isn't simple to cut and it will cost extra if you want your countertops to have a special edge type.


This is probably the most expensive countertop material out there at about $45 to $200 per square foot, and a lot of it has to do with the production and transportation. Granite is mined from just four countries around the world, so the process of mining the stone, cutting it into slabs, and then shipping it to its final destinations makes it very costly. While it is possible to install new granite countertops yourself with the right knowledge, tools, and expertise, it might not make up for the cost of the material if you're balling on a budget. It's worth it to consider a similar, but more affordable, option like slate or solid surface.

Slate has the attractive quality of coming in unique slabs like granite and can be depended on for durability. Solid surface also offers a similar appearance to granite and can be easily modified. It gives you the option to have an integrated or fully built-in sink, unlike granite, which isn't as flexible. Slate costs around $20 to $60 per square foot, while solid surface costs around $35 to $70.