Replacing a countertop can get expensive. The driving factor of the cost of a countertop is the price of the material so if you choose the material carefully, you can have a countertop installed without breaking the bank. Can you get granite countertops at a lower cost? Well, here are the most cost-effective countertop materials.
Ceramic Tile Countertops
Although ceramic tiles are common for backsplashes, they can be installed as countertops too. Ceramic tiles are stain-resistant and waterproof and make cleaning easy for the most part. Moreover, you are not limited to a few options when it comes to the designs, patterns, and colors of ceramic tiles.
However, there are some downsides to using ceramic tiles for your countertop space. The tiles themselves are super easy to clean but the grout lines are a pain in the neck when it comes to cleaning. Also, due to these grout lines, the surface won’t be perfectly smooth and many home buyers don’t like kitchens where ceramic tile countertops are installed.
Another disadvantage of ceramic tiles is that they can crack on slight impacts as well. After a crack, you can repair it or replace the tile with a new one.
That being said, ceramic tiles are one of the cheapest materials you can find for kitchen countertops.
Laminate countertops are also known as Formica countertops because Formica was the company that introduced these counters. Modern laminate countertops have improved a lot from their old counterparts due to technological advancements.
Laminate countertops are made with kraft paper and resins to form a thin and durable layer. Another solid layer is bonded to that layer for the formation of a laminate surface.
Modern laminate countertops are also known as high-pressure laminate where plastic resins and cellulose layers are mixed in high heat and pressure to create a solid surface. These countertops are considered more durable than traditional laminate counters.
Laminate countertops are cheap yet stain-resistant due to the use of resins. You can clean a laminate countertop with soapy water. But be careful and avoid using abrasive cleaners because they will scratch the surface.
Furthermore, laminate counters can be made to look like any countertop material. There are laminate countertops that look like granite, marble, quartz, steel, wood, and other materials.
Moreover, these countertops are lightweight so they are easy to install. It can help you save on the installation costs as well.
On the flip side, laminate countertops don’t add value to your house because they are not as durable as granite or quartz. They are also prone to scratches and heat damage. Moreover, the counters will delaminate if moisture penetrates into the surface.
All in all, if you want the cheapest countertop but can’t stand ceramic tiles, select laminate countertops.
Granite Tile Countertops
Granite is the most popular countertop material and granite slabs are commonly used for a smooth and durable surface. However, if you don’t have the budget for granite slabs and want granite as your countertop, you can choose granite tiles.
Granite tiles are much cheaper than even the lowest-cost granite slab. This is because granite tiles can be made with smaller pieces of granite. However, you would need to deal with grout lines if you install granite tiles. So, cleaning can become difficult due to this reason.
Moreover, any granite countertop whether slab or tile requires sealing so you would need to seal the tiles as well. You would also need to refill the grout lines every few years if you use counters a lot.
An advantage of granite tiles is that you can install them yourself if you have some knowledge of countertop installation. But if you go for professional installation, it costs almost the same as granite slab installation.
If you don’t want granite, you can choose tiles of any other stone as well that is available in tiles.
Solid Surface Countertops
Engineered stone countertops have two basic types solid surface and quartz. As quartz is a premium countertop material and priced in the same range as granite, you should look into solid surface countertops that are cheaper and have some advantages.
Keep in mind that solid surfaces cost more than laminate or ceramic tile countertops but they have many benefits that laminate and ceramic tiles can’t provide. Moreover, it costs similar to granite tiles and has some benefits over them as well.
For instance, there are no seams in solid surface countertops whereas ceramic and granite tiles, infamously, have seams that make cleaning difficult.
Moreover, solid surface countertops have a non-porous surface. Even though ceramic tiles are non-porous, the grout lines create the same problem that non-porous surfaces do. On the other hand, granite tiles can be sealed but they also have grout lines. Lastly, laminate can resist moisture but if the surface becomes damaged, moisture will enter the surface and damage the countertop.
In addition to that, you can easily repair solid surface countertops by sanding them out whereas laminate countertops can’t be repaired. Plus, solid surface countertops are more impact resistant than ceramic tiles and laminate countertops.
But solid surfaces have some problems as well. They are susceptible to heat damage. Hot pans can discolor or even cracks the surface. Granite tiles are better in heat resistance than solid surface counters.
Also, solid surface countertops are soft and more susceptible to scratches than granite tiles. So, you must use a cutting board for chopping food. However, to be fair, the suggestion of using a cutting board is valid for every material mentioned in this blog.
The accessibility and variations of wood allow for cheaper butcher block countertops that look beautiful and cost much less than granite and quartz. You don’t need to rely on brands for having a wood countertop because a woodworker can create a durable countertop for you and if you have some woodworking experience you can create one for yourself. This will drastically reduce the cost of your countertop installation.
Butcher block countertops provide a rustic appeal better than no other material. Still, they match any kitchen style. However, they are high-maintenance countertops. Even if you seal your wood countertops, any spill must be cleaned immediately.
Low-Cost Granite Slabs
As granite is so popular, many homeowners only want granite as their countertop. If granite tiles don’t work for you yet you can’t splurge on a high-quality granite slab, look for cheaper and low-cost granite slabs.
They won’t be as durable and long-lasting as premium granite slabs, but they would still last for many years given that you care for them well. However, as with any granite slab, you should not try DIY installation because it can result in damage to the slab. Hiring an installer will increase the overall cost of your countertop installation, but it will be for the best.
To keep your granite slab in good condition, avoid putting hot pans on it, use a cutting board, and clean it with cleaners made for granite cleaning. Moreover, cheaper granite slabs are less durable so make sure to never sit or stand on the countertop.
You don’t have to spend a fortune for purchasing a countertop material. Look into the above-mentioned countertop materials that are budget-friendly and fairly durable. For installing a granite countertop, get in touch with a granite contractor Potomac for low-cost granite slabs or tiles.