Kitchen Design Budget: We Breakdown The Cost of Natural Stone Countertops
Renovating or remodeling any room is costly, but kitchens and bathrooms rank among the most expensive revamp because of the cost of natural stone countertops. It’s important to spend time shopping around to get the best price possible for your budget.
Cost of Natural Stone Countertops
“How much will the stone countertops cost?”, is the first question many homeowners ask when putting together a kitchen design budget. Even before considering the cost of natural stone countertops, you should sit down and figure out your kitchen budget. Next, decide which tasks you’re willing to delay. Things like waiting to paint or adding a new appliance can help get the countertop renovation done first.
Identifying areas where you can flex, delay or DIY other aspects of your kitchen remodel you should be able to afford the stone countertop you desire.
Believe it or not, where you live impacts the cost of your stone materials and installation. The square footage, design, installation costs, and sealing are impacted by your location. Don’t take the costs you see online too literally. The best rule of thumb is to get a quote from at least three licensed professionals in-person.
Here are common questions regarding the cost and installation of natural stone countertops we hear at Academy Marble.
Q: Do I have to buy my stone from a fabricator?
A: No, you can actually save time and money by buying from a wholesaler. Local fabricators may have around 30 stones for you to choose from. Local wholesalers will often have 100 or more.
Q: Can I save on installation costs by doing it myself?
A: Do-It-Yourself installation is usually not a good idea. Stone countertops are fragile, especially during transport. Unless you know how to install countertops, taking special consideration so natural tensions don’t crack, you’re likely to break the expensive piece of stone you just bought. There’s less risk to letting professionals handle the installation. If they break it during installation, they pay for the replacement, not you.
Q: How much does natural stone, on average, cost?
A: The cost of natural stone countertops can vary wildly, depending on the type of stone, quality, coloring and veining, fabrication, and installation. The factors that affect the cost of countertops are the grade of the material, the complexity of the job, labor costs and where you purchase the countertops.
Q: What can I eliminate to save costs?
A: Some suppliers or fabricators consider the cost of installation as part of the package price. Ask for a breakdown of the cost of natural stone countertops so you can see possible money savings- like on the tear out of existing counters and the leveling of cabinets for the new counters. Other ways to cut costs are to simplify the edging and the number or type of stone cutouts.
Q: What else will I have to pay for when getting a natural stone countertop?
A: The stone is just one part of the cost of having a natural stone countertop. Depending on your kitchen (new or a remodel or renovation), the cabinets, a tear out and disposal of existing counters, or the installation of new cabinets the cost will vary. You can often save money by tearing out your existing countertops yourself, and having a contractor level and prepare them for installation.
For a free calendar on costs, from lowest to best, visit this website. Enter your zip code to find an average cost for natural stone in your area. Add 7-15% on top of the calculator’s estimate. Prices fluctuate according to the season. Remember the calculator offers just a rough estimate.
Only by visiting stone fabricators in your area and speaking with a salesperson can you find out what discounts, costs, and options are available for you. Prices can range from $1,795 for a basic stone, to $3,500 for the best stone, depending on the square footage, type of stone, fabrication and other costs.
- Try to get prices and quotes for natural stone in late Fall, early winter. Expect aggressive pricing discounts by waiting for a contractor’s down season.
- As a general rule of thumb you should get quotes from a minimum of 3 different contractors.
- Shop different stone fabricators for different prices. Prices will vary according to the fabricator’s overhead and expenses.
- Visit every supply house or fabricator that sells the countertop you want. Try to negotiate a better price with each supplier. You can often save 15-20% on the total cost of natural stone countertops.
- Ask the salesperson what’s included in the price. Leveling, edge fabrication, seam joining, fixture cutouts, and a sink cutout should automatically be included with the cost of the installation. You may pay extra for cutouts for sink fixtures and spray hoses or other features.
- A backsplash for your counter will cost you extra. So will a detailed edge fabrication or a thicker slab. Contractor rates can vary from one season to the next and you may have to pay up to 15% more for complex installations.
Cost of Marble: $40-$100 per square foot
Cost of Installation: $218 – $400 total
Maintenance costs: Moderate to High
- Consider installing marble tiles instead of a marble slab.
- Choose more affordable grades, shades, and colors of marble
- Use remnant pieces and fill-in with butcher block or tile
- Ask about pre-installation sealing which can lower your maintenance costs
- Marble comes in multiple thicknesses. The thicker the slab, the higher the cost.
Cost of Granite: $40-$200 per square foot
Cost of Installation: $218-$400 total
Maintenance costs: Moderate to High
- Consider Installing granite tiles instead of a granite slab.
- Use a wooden edge rather than the granite’s slab edge to protect against expensive-to-repair chips in the stone.
- Choose more affordable grades, shades, and colors of marble.
- Use remnant pieces and fill-in with butcher block or tile.
- Ask about preinstallation sealing which can lower your maintenance costs
Cost of Quartz: $50-$100 per square foot
Cost of Installation: $218-$400 total
Maintenance cost: Low-to-moderate
- Unlike marble or stone, the cost of labor for installing quartz tiles may eat up any money you save, unless you install the tiles yourself.
- Choose more commonly used or popular colors.
- Think about the design. Seams, rounded corners, special edges can be more costly. Ask your salesperson for a breakdown of the cost of finishing.
- Standard quartz costs less than premium or designer grades. Ask to see each.
Silestone is usually the most expensive quartz. Caesarstone, Zodiaq, and Viatera are less expensive but can be just as beautiful.
Cost of Quartzite: $60 to $250
Cost of Installation: $218 to $400
Maintenance Cost: Low-to-Moderate
- Simplify your design: Quartzite must be cut with diamond blades, unlike Quartz, which is poured into a mold. The process to cut quartzite takes time and skill. The more complex the job, the more the cost of quartzite will exceed that of quartz per square foot.
- Look for less exotic colors. The more exotic, the more expensive.
- Find a reliable stone yard or supplier that is a “one-stop shop.” That means they do their own design, fabrication, and installation ‘in-house.’ Using one place for every service makes things much simpler and reduces the likelihood that mistakes will be made.