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 have become 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, constructing a home from the ground up or just daydreaming of new designs, you’ll find that not only are granite countertops more affordable, they’re also practical.
The cost of granite ranges greatly, depending on the variety of the rocky substance, and the form it comes in — anywhere from $15 to $200 per square foot. Figure on an additional $5 to $10 per square foot, at least, for professional installation of your new counter surfaces.
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.
Granite countertop cost breakdown
Tiled granite countertops are actually just squares of the stuff set on top of the counter surface. The cheapest option, they offer the basic visual appeal of granite countertops; but they leave visible seams from the grout work used to connect the tiles.
|Granite type||Cost per Square Foot||Cost per Square Foot with Installation|
|Tile: Tiled granite countertops are actually just squares of the stuff set on top of the counter surface. The cheapest option, they offer the basic visual appeal of granite countertops; but they leave visible seams from the grout work used to connect the tiles.||$5-$10||$60-$20|
|Modular: Larger than tiled granite, modular granite consists of mini-slabs; they are ideal for backsplashes and smaller surfaces like edges and corners. Typically used by DIYers, they’re a kind of compromise, delivering the granite-y look at a lesser cost (though they are thinner, and some seams do show).||$15-$80||$20-90|
|Slab: This is the traditional, most luxurious form of granite used for countertops. As the name suggests, it consists of large pieces cut and fabricated off-site and then delivered to your home. Quite heavy, slabs usually require professional installation, which adds to the price tag.||$35-80||$40-160|
Factors impacting granite countertop costs
- Granite grade: There’s no international standard for grading granite, so most manufacturers and retailers use their own system. Basically, though, commercial-grade granite has small minerals scattered throughout with less color variation, mid-grade granite features more vibrant colors and patterns, and high-grade granite includes a one-of-a-kind display of hues and configurations.
- Location: The granite’s location of origin can be significant. Granite imported from China tends to be less expensive due to that country’s low labor costs, while granite imports from Brazil and Italy are higher priced. Furthermore, because granite is so heavy, the farther you live from the slab’s original location, the more you’ll pay in shipping costs.
- Color: The more exotic and unique the colors of your granite slab, the more expensive it will be. For example, Blue Bahia granite out of Brazil is currently an in-demand color that fetches $90-$100 per square foot before installation costs.
- Size: Not only do the length and width of your granite slabs matter, but their depth as well. Thicker countertops are higher quality and more durable, so they run to a higher price.
- Edge details: If you’re planning to give your countertops intricate edges, you can expect to pay more, since the detailing requires additional work for the fabricator. Three of the most popular edge styles include oversized radius, bullnose and eased.
Granite countertop alternatives
While granite countertops exist in a range of price. points, you may still find their cost too much for your budget. Consider these alternatives for countertop materials if you need to spend less on your home project.
- Wood: Costing $50-$100 per square foot, wood countertops can be a good alternative, especially if a traditional or rustic look suits your style. While they may cost more than some types of granite, they still less than the priciest varieties.
- Laminate: Laminate countertops are the most budget-friendly option for your kitchen. You can expect to pay anywhere from $10-$40 for materials.
- Tile: Tile countertops can offer a unique look, but they are more difficult to clean than most other options. However, they are another affordable alternative with the cost of materials ranging from $2-$30 per square foot.
Financing options for granite countertops
A personal loan could be a great option for financing your granite countertop installation. If you have stellar credit and can secure a low interest rate on your loan, you can continue building your credit score while paying off your granite countertops and their installation over time.
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
Finally, you can consider using a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to finance your granite countertops. HELOCs work like a credit card that allows you to access the equity in your home. With a HELOC, homeowners can borrow up to a specific amount of money and then pay it back slowly over time.