Watch any homebuying television show, and you’ll quickly recognize that granite is among the most popular picks for countertop materials. And the reality is that there’s a good reason why prospective homebuyers (and existing homeowners remodeling their kitchens and bathrooms) want granite countertops. This natural stone is beautiful to look at, comes in various colors and designs, is extremely durable, and is also heat- and scratch-resistant.
So, what’s not to love about granite countertops? The answer for at least some buyers is the price. The functional and aesthetic advantages granite holds over alternatives like laminate and solid surface countertops can impact the budget—but it still comes out less than other high-end finishes like marble or quartz. If you’ve had your eye on a new kitchen or bathroom, chances are you’ve found yourself wondering, “How much do granite countertops cost?” Read on to find the answer to that question and a few factors that can impact the price.
What factors determine what granite countertops cost?
In order to understand exactly what granite countertops cost, it’s a good idea to get a better sense of the factors that influence the price tag. Here are a few of the most significant variables you should keep in mind.
Color – Whether it’s at a big box store or your local granite yard, one walk around the place will tell you all you need to know about color. Some granite colors, like black or tan, tend to be the most prominent. As a result, these shades are typically less expensive—and the reason is simply supply and demand. When granite is mined from the earth, those colors tend to be the easiest to get. Because black and tan slabs are plentiful, granite suppliers buy them at a lower wholesale price and pass those savings on to the retail customer.
On the other end of the spectrum for what granite countertops cost is slabs that include golds, reds, and blues. Because these slabs are harder to come by, there is less supply available to purchase, which drives up the cost.
Pattern consistency – While homeowners prefer some materials to have a consistent look or pattern—like tile on the floor—an inconsistent pattern in granite is often viewed as a positive. An abundance of striations, a term used to describe the variable lines and marbling in the stone, will add to the granite countertops cost. The more “exotic” the look, the higher the price.
Granite level – While some companies may have more, there are generally three different levels of granite. Level 1 is considered entry-level or commercial-grade granite, with Level 2 coming in at a mid-grade quality, and Level 3 the best of the bunch. The pattern consistency we talked about earlier is one of the things that determines the granite level, but other factors include thickness and the country of origin. When comparing granite countertops costs for the three different levels, Level 3 is easily the priciest.
Slab or tile – When we think of granite, most of us picture one large, seamless stone covering the countertops in our kitchen or bathrooms. And that’s certainly the most visually pleasing look, but it’s not the only way to buy granite—especially if you’re battling budget constraints. Granite tile provides the same durability as a granite slab and at a fraction of the price. If you use granite tiles, it’s important to remember that tiles should be laid closely together (though evenly spaced) to minimize the use of grout. Additionally, both the grout and tile should receive treatment from a proper sealant.
Wholesale or retail – If you’re looking for information on granite countertops costs, you’re probably also looking for tips to help with the budget. One of the ways that some people save on their granite countertops is through a wholesaler (rather than a retailer). Not only are you likely to save money on the stone itself, but buying wholesale gives you the option to also hand select your fabricator and installer, which means you may be able to save money there as well. This process may require a few extra steps, but it could be worth it if it means you’re able to buy your dream granite slab at an amount you’re comfortable spending.
Finish – Despite what some may think, not all natural stone is finished the same way. Polished is the most common finish for granite, but other choices like honed, leather, or even flamed all offer a unique appearance. They also provide unique price points because of the extra work required to complete the new finish. For instance, manufacturers must take a honed slab and add texture with dimples via diamond-tipped brushes to get a leather finish.
How much do granite countertops cost?
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of the type of granite countertop you like and at least a rough estimate of where it falls on the spectrum of prices. Depending on the type of granite you select, including color, level, and thickness, you can expect to pay anywhere between $35 to $100 per square foot. In most cases, that price will include the materials, fabrication (cutting of the granite), and installation.
Some other things to keep in mind with granite countertops costs is that you may end up needing to spend a little extra on some things you weren’t counting on. These add-on fees might include the removal and haul away of the old countertop, sinks and installation, and a backsplash.
Final thoughts on what granite countertops cost
Even though granite countertops are considered a luxury item in kitchen and bathroom design, there are ways to work natural stone into even the smallest budgets. As mentioned, selecting a readily available color like black, a builder-grade level, or even using granite tiles, can keep granite countertops costs down. No matter what color granite you choose, you can rest easy knowing that your new countertops are durable and should last for years to come with proper care and maintenance.