A Quick Cost Breakdown of Granite Countertops
Longing to have granite countertops in your kitchen, but nervous about the costs? Here is some good news: you can always afford granite countertops. You just have to be willing to make some compromises.
KNC Granite offers granite countertop packages for as little as $34.99 per square foot (installed, mind you), and that is a deal you will find hard to beat. However, you should still know a bit more about granite countertops, how much they typically cost, why they cost that much, and alternatives available to you.
You will find with a bit of research that granite countertops (including installation) typically cost between $45 and $200 per square foot. You may be wondering about the price range. Well, the reason for this variation in prices is the variation in granite.
Granite varies depending on the color and pattern. The least expensive grade is level 1, which has the simplest patterns and the most common colors. Level 2 granite is slight more decorative and colorful, and thus a bit more expensive. Level 3 granite has exotic colors and patterns, and is the most expensive of the lot. There is no appreciable difference between the granite grades in terms of durability and quality, however, so you will not compromise the integrity of your kitchen counters by choosing level 1 granite.
Location, location, location. The origin of the granite will also affect the price tag, mostly because of transport costs. Granite is the most abundant type of rock in the world, so supply is not really the issue unless you are looking for the rarer types of granite such as blue granite. If you get granite locally, it will probably be cheaper than granite that comes from Italy or Brazil. On the other hand, high labor costs for processing the granite in the US might offset any savings from transport costs. Cutting the granite blocks into the slabs often happens at the quarry site prior to shipping.
You should also know that the thickness of the granite could greatly affect the price. The standard slab thickness of granite for kitchen countertops is 3 cm, and this will not need any type of additional support. You can get a better price for the same granite color and design with 2-cm thickness, but you will need to add some plywood support, especially if you have a long countertop. With the proper support, your 2-cm countertop will be just as durable as a thicker slab.
Granite is cut into slabs, tiles, and modules. The ideal format for granite countertops is the slab, because you have fewer seams. However, slabs are also the most expensive format for granite countertops. If you have a small budget for your kitchen upgrade, you may want to consider the alternatives.
Granite tiles will typically cost between $6 and $10 per square foot. You can buy them from any hardware or tile store and come in standard tile sizes. If you have an existing counter, you can install them yourself or hire someone to do it for you. However, you do not set granite tiles for countertops the same way as ceramic tiles. You place them end to end and set it with epoxy, instead of setting it on mortar and leaving spaces in between for grout. Even then, the seams are definitely visible, and you will not have the same high-end look of a granite countertop made of slabs.
The same things above apply for modular granite, which are essentially larger tiles, but much harder to find. Modular granite is still less expensive than slabs, but not appreciably so considering the less-than-ideal effect of so many seams on your kitchen counters. Expect to pay about $25 to $40 per square foot with modular granite.
A much better use for granite tiles and modules is backsplashes, walls, and floors, for which seams are not such a big deal. This is something you want to keep in mind if you are planning a kitchen remodel on a tight budget. Go for slabs for your countertops, and tiles and/or modules for other areas in the kitchen.
A big factor in the cost of granite countertops is the installation, which also includes fabrication. Most granite companies will sell granite slabs only, so you have the freedom to hire someone else to fabricate and install them for you. As a rule of thumb, expect to pay roughly the same amount for the installation as the granite. For example, if you choose a slab priced at $20 a square foot, expect to pay $20 a square foot for installation. This ratio may vary, depending on the installer, but this is a good approximation.
An interesting fact is many suppliers will charge less for installation when you choose the more expensive granite slabs. This might be to convince you to go for the pricier selections. However, you can still find good package deals for less expensive granite slabs with reputable suppliers.
Granite countertops are within reach of any remodeling budget if you make the right choices. One of those choices is your granite countertop supplier and contractor. KNC Granite has a large array of granite slabs from which to choose. You can check actual slabs at our showroom in Lanham, Maryland.
We do not only supply top-quality granite stones, however. We are experts at fabricating and installing kitchen counters or bathroom vanities. And also we specialize in kitchen remodeling and bathroom upgrade projects, delivering on time and on budget.
Aside from natural stones, we carry some of the top brands of engineered stone, including Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all of which come with manufacturer warranties. Give us a call or email us for your free in-home consultation and quote.