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Over the past two decades, few kitchen features have become more in-demand than granite countertops. Introduced in the 1980s as an alternative to marble, granite countertops became easier to cut and ship in the 21st century, making them a mainstay in kitchens around the world.
Whether you’re renovating your kitchen for a modern look or constructing a home from the ground up, you’ll find that not only are granite countertops relatively affordable, they’re also practical.
According to Angi, the labor and material price tag to install granite countertops today, on average, is $3,250. But the cost of granite ranges greatly, depending on the variety of the rocky substance, and the form it comes in — anywhere from $5 to $60 per square foot. Figure on an additional $35 and $85 per hour, at least, for professional fabrication and installation.
Let’s look at the costs for different types of granite countertops — both for the rock itself and for the labor to install it — along with the factors that influence granite prices, and some options for financing the project.
- As natural countertop substances go, granite is relatively affordable, if not exactly economical.
- .The average cost to install a granite countertop is $3,250.
- Granite comes in a variety of colors, is durable and low maintenance.
- Granite countertops must be sealed and periodically resealed, and should be installed by a pro.
- Financing options to pay for granite countertops include a home equity loan, home equity line of credit (HELOC) or personal loan.
Granite countertop cost breakdown
Granite countertops are made up of natural minerals, like quartz and feldspar. They are sourced from natural granite stone that comes from quarries around the planet, and then cut in various ways.
Cost per square foot, material alone
Cost per square foot with installation
|TILE: Tiled granite countertops involve placing square pieces of granite on the counter surface. They are the most affordable option and provide a basic visual appeal. However, the visible seams resulting from the grout work used to connect the tiles are a drawback.||$5-$15||$20-$60|
|MODULAR: Modular granite is larger than tiled granite and consists of mini-slabs. It is commonly used for backsplashes and smaller surfaces like edges and corners. This option is favored by DIYers as it offers a compromise between cost and the granite aesthetic, although it is thinner and some seams are visible.||$25-$40||$20-$90|
|SLAB: Slab granite is the traditional and most luxurious form of granite used for countertops. It involves large pieces of granite that are cut and fabricated off-site and then delivered to your home. Due to their weight, slabs typically require professional installation, which contributes to the higher price.||$40-$60||$75-$135|
Factors impacting granite countertop costs
Along with the way the granite is cut, several other criteria will affect what you pay for granite countertops, including:
- Granite quality: Since there is no universally accepted grading system for granite, manufacturers and retailers typically rely on their own grading criteria. In general, commercial-grade granite contains scattered small minerals with minimal color variation, mid-grade granite offers more vibrant colors and patterns, while high-grade granite showcases unique combinations of hues and configurations.
- Origin: The source of the granite can significantly impact its price. Granite imported from China tends to be more affordable due to lower labor costs, whereas imports from Brazil and Italy command higher prices. Additionally, the distance between your location and the original source of the granite affects shipping costs, as granite is a heavy material.
- Color: The rarity and distinctiveness of the granite’s colors contribute to its cost. For instance, highly sought-after colors (Blue Bahia from Brazil, anyone?) can fetch much higher prices than normal before installation expenses.
- Size: The dimensions of the granite slabs, including length, width and depth, affect the price. Thicker countertops are considered higher quality and more durable, thus commanding a higher price.
- Edge details: If you desire intricate edge designs for your countertops, expect to pay more. The additional work required by the fabricator to achieve detailed edge styles such as oversized radius, bullnose and eased edges, results in a higher cost.
Benefits of granite countertops
Granite is a natural stone — and a versatile one. “Because they are made from different types of minerals, granite countertops come in a variety of colors that can suit most people’s needs,” says Mallory Micetich, home expert at Angi.
Additionally, granite is a durable and hard material that resists heat, scratches and stains when sealed properly. It’s built to withstand daily use, is low-maintenance and is less prone to crack or chip compared to other materials.
Also, as natural countertop substances go, granite is relatively affordable, if not exactly economical.
Granite countertops vs other types of countertops
While the cost of granite isn’t cheap, it can be more affordable than other countertop materials. Here’s a breakdown of some alternatives, according to Mallory Micetich, home expert at Angi.
|Material||Pros and cons||Cost per square foot installed*|
|Quartz||Man-made from natural rock mixed with resins, quartz countertops are durable, easy to maintain and highly customizable.||$40-$100|
|Quartzite||Not to be confused with man-made quartz, this is 100% natural stone. Available in a rainbow of colors, it creates countertops that are dense, durable and stain-resistant. But quartzite tends to be one of the most expensive countertop materials.||$80 – $210|
|Solid surface||Also known as manufactured stone, solid surface countertops are an affordable and aesthetically pleasing option. However, these countertops are not heat-resistant and don’t often have a great resale value.||$70-$130|
|Concrete||Concrete countertops are extremely durable and customizable. But they are also expensive and prone to cracking.||$55-$175|
|Marble||Marble countertops are unmatched when it comes to beauty. However, they tend to absorb liquids and stain easily.||$70-$230|
|Wood||Wood and butcher-block countertops are a great affordable option. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to seal your wood countertops regularly to prevent water damage.||$30-$280|
|Soapstone||Soapstone countertops are beautiful and nonporous, but they also damage more easily than other types of countertops.||$70-$120|
|Stainless steel||Stainless steel countertops are nonporous and easy to clean. However, they also show fingerprints and scratch easily.||$50-$250|
|Ceramic tile||Ceramic tile countertops aren’t the most popular option for kitchens, but they are affordable, heat-resistant and easy to repair.||Prices can vary significantly depending on the tiles you choose|
Installing granite countertops
While it’s possible to attempt a DIY installation of granite countertops in your kitchen, bathroom or elsewhere to save money on labor costs, it’s not recommended.
“You should always hire a professional to install your granite countertops,” advises Micetich. “Granite is very heavy, with most slabs weighing hundreds of pounds. It also requires specialized equipment and skills to install properly. If you install granite countertops incorrectly, you will probably need to do costly repairs down the road.”
Other things to consider when calculating the cost of granite countertops
Your mileage may vary when it comes to the final price tag on installed granite countertops. And it’s easy to overlook some of the other factors that can influence the total cost.
“Expect to pay $4 to $7 per square foot to remove your old countertops,” says Micetich. “Also, budget an extra $100 per sink for sink cutouts. In addition, while some contractors include free delivery, others charge a separate delivery fee between $150 and $200.”
Cristina Miguelez, a home remodeling specialist with Fixr, says standard edging and polishing of the countertops are typically included in your installation price, “but be prepared to pay extra if you are looking for decorative edges or a specific finish.” If you want your slab to have styled edges, budget an extra $10 to $40 per linear foot, per Micetich. Some detailed edge profiles, such as beveled or bullnose, in particular cost extra.
Additionally, anticipate forking over more for exotic varieties. Veined granite (versus the traditional flecked type) in particular is having a moment, and since it’s rarer, it can cost a lot more — up to $400 per square foot (material plus to install), according to Fixr. Also, if you want to install a matching granite backsplash, that will add to your overall tab.
Financing options for granite countertops
Need to borrow money to finance the cost of your snazzy new granite countertops? Ponder these popular options:
- Home equity loan. If you own a significant percentage of your home, a home equity loan may also be a good way to finance your new granite countertops. This type of loan allows you to borrow against the value of your home and includes predictable monthly payments and low interest rates.
- Home equity line of credit (HELOC). Another consideration for financing your granite countertops is utilizing a home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC functions similarly to a credit card, providing access to the equity accumulated in your home. With a HELOC, homeowners can borrow up to a predetermined amount and gradually repay it over time.
- Personal loan. If you possess an excellent credit score and can secure a loan with a low interest rate, this option allows you to both improve your credit score and gradually repay the cost of your granite countertops and installation over a period of time.
The bottom line on granite countertop installation
Granite countertops can be a fantastic choice if you are seeking a durable, heat resistant and easy-to-clean countertop material. Just remember that granite isn’t completely maintenance-free – it will need to be re-sealed regularly.
Additionally, when considering which granite countertop to select and where to purchase it from, take the time to explore several showrooms showcasing a diverse range of granite slabs and obtain multiple price quotes. Pay close attention to the color and pattern options as well.
To get a better sense of how the granite will appear in your kitchen, bring home some samples to see how it plays in different lights and with your fixtures.