If you are considering new countertops for your home, you will need to think about the look you prefer, the functionality you require and your budget. Granite countertops are popular for their appearance and their very hard and durable surface. Laminate is a popular choice for those on a budget or who prefer a low-maintenance countertop. The materials are very different, so careful thought is needed before a decision is made.
Granite Countertop Basics
House Beautiful explains that granite countertops cost on average between $40 and $60 per square foot installed. For most homes, this cost, including installation and other involved materials, will be between $2,000 and $4,500, depending on kitchen size. Installation may cost more in urban areas or places with high costs of living. In addition, if you opt for curved-edge granite countertops, you are likely to pay more for both materials and installation.
Granite countertops need to be sealed and coated for protection. This should be done every year or so, but no less often than every three years. You can seal your countertops yourself using a granite and stone sealer, which is usually available for purchase at your local home improvement store.
Granite is a very hard material, rating a 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. It's much harder than most other countertop materials. It is also much heavier than many other countertop materials, making it almost essential that you have a professional install the counter for you. Granite slabs weigh several hundred pounds in most cases, making just handling the material extremely difficult without having to install it as well.
Laminate Countertop Basics
Laminate countertops are ubiquitous in the United States and were very popular installations for several decades. Laminate is much lighter than granite and can be installed yourself, which could help you to save a significant amount of money.
Laminate does require regular cleaning and some basic maintenance. Foods with deep color, like certain fruit juices or wines, can easily stain laminate if spilled and not cleaned off promptly. In addition, laminate is more easily damaged by dropped pots, sharp knives and chips from bumping into the countertops with large or heavy objects. Always use a cutting board when preparing food on your countertop to avoid knife marks over time.
You can expect to pay between $10 to $40 per square foot of laminate countertops, explains Home Advisor. The installation cost of laminate will vary by your location, but installers are likely to charge $30 to $40 an hour. You can certainly install them yourself to save on costs, provided you are familiar with the installation process.
Granite vs. Laminate Countertops
The cost of granite vs. laminate countertops will vary, but granite is nearly always going to be more expensive to purchase and to install. However, if you would prefer a more durable material in your kitchen, granite may be a better choice. If you'd like decently durable countertops that you can install yourself or if you are on a budget, you might prefer to work with a laminate surface.
Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com).