Looking to update your beat-up, outdated countertops? Forget the old standbys like granite and concrete. Quartz is now a popular choice for new counters, and it's a solid option for a variety of reasons. As durable as concrete but with a wider range of colors than granite, it's definitely a popular pick for new countertops. Luckily, there are several ways to estimate how much it would cost to bring quartz countertops into your home.
Benefits of Quartz Countertops
One of the biggest reasons many homeowners are opting for quartz countertops is their incredible durability. Countertops take regular beatings. Between sharp knives, hot pots and nonstop spills, household countertops need to be able to withstand all kinds of thrashings.
The reason quartz countertops are growing in popularity is their ability to hold up against constant pummelling. The stone is as durable as granite and concrete, and thanks to the resins found in quartz, it's even more resistant to chipping and cracking than those materials.
Quartz is also nonporous. That means that in addition to being easy to clean, it's also highly resistant to stains. It will withstand spills from liquids including wine, oil and coffee – a huge plus for people who want sleek white or light-colored countertops. Plus, as a nonporous material, it doesn't have any tiny pores to house nasty bacteria.
Quartz countertops are made up of mostly natural materials, but it's ultimately manufactured to include some synthetic materials including glass and metallics. Engineered quartz is still made mostly of natural materials, but the extra ingredients help give quartz that added durability and stain resistance.
That manufacturing makes it possible for designers to make a wider variety of quartz in different designs. Instead of having to rely on the colors they've dug up from the ground, quartz engineers can give this material incredible colors and patterns, making them a more interesting addition to your kitchen than regular granite may have been. That manufacturing ability means they can also be molded into the perfect sizes and configurations for places like tile backsplashes or floors in kitchens and bathrooms.
Is Quartz for Me?
Of course, using stone for a countertop is based largely on personal preference, but some people prefer to go a different route than quartz.
For one, some people don't like that quartz is manufactured as opposed to natural. Its manufactured qualities are what gives it many of its advantages, such as durability, stain resistance and cleanliness, but some people still prefer knowing they have an all-natural product in their kitchen. They might also prefer the more classic looks of concrete, wood or granite countertops, whereas quartz gives off a more contemporary, modern vibe.
Additionally, since quartz comes in slabs, it needs to be seamed together. If you're looking to replace a small countertop, you can probably just use a single slab. But if you're building a larger one, the seams will be visible. A skilled installer can minimize that, but they'll still show. For some people, this isn't a big deal, but others prefer a seamless material.
Quartz also has a tough time dealing with extreme sun and temperatures. If you're looking to install new counters near your pool or on a backyard patio, for instance, you might want to look into surfaces like concrete. You'll also need to be careful with hot pots and pans, as they shouldn't make direct contact with quartz.
Quartz Pricing vs. Other Options
The quartz price per square foot is comparable to materials like granite, marble and slate, but up against DIY materials like wood and laminate, quartz becomes a pricey option. Wood and concrete go for less than $15 per square foot, while quartz can start around $90 per square foot, including the lamination. Prices can go as high $200 per square foot for some of the more intricate designs, colors and quality grades. On top of that, you have to factor in fees for installation.
Estimating Quartz Countertop Prices
It's difficult to give an accurate, universal quartz price per square foot since many factors go into determining how much the materials and installation will cost. However, many online home improvement retailers offer a calculator that can help give you a ballpark estimate of how much it might be to add quartz countertops to your home.
For instance, the Home Depot countertop estimator is a great tool for judging how much it might cost you to update and replace your current countertops. With a simple measurement of your countertops, you can enter your information and compare estimates for the job. If you're not feeling up to a DIY job, the estimate will include the design, delivery and installation of the new countertops.
If you're unable to install quartz countertops yourself and are hoping for a discount on installation fees, try shopping for quartz during the early winter. That's the season that many contractors' work slows down, and they're willing to offer breaks in price.
Costs to Consider
Even without knowing the exact cost of quartz countertops in your area, it's possible to estimate how big of an investment it. There are a lot of different costs to consider when estimating how much new quartz counters will cost:
Type of Quartz: This is partly based on personal preference, as you'll need to decide what color and design you want. Because quartz is manufactured, you can get creative when it comes to color and design. You might opt for sleek, contemporary metallic red countertops or choose a quartz that has been made to look like marble. Depending on how much work and materials are needed to achieve those colors, you may need to pay more for unique looks. You'll also need to make decisions about the thickness of the material.
Quality: Higher-quality quartz countertop prices can go as high as $200 per square foot, but most homeowners opt for less expensive middle-grade quartz that's still great quality.
Supply: Check around with local contractors to get several estimates. Depending on where you live, you may be able to save money by going directly to a supplier that sources, fabricates and installs the quartz all in-house. However, if you don't live near a supplier, you might have to pay more to go through a middleman.
Installation: Most installers charge a per-hour rate for labor. It can vary greatly among contractors, but you can expect to pay at least $50 per hour for installation. On top of that, you have to factor in the shape and edges of the countertops. If you're looking for a unique shape, such as a countertop that needs to be trimmed to fit around a sink or an electrical fixture, you'll have to add on costs for the cut, which could be anywhere from $75 to $250 or more. A big countertop will also need to be seamed together, which could bump up costs. Finally, your installer will have to put an edge on the counter, which usually starts at around $20 per foot of countertop.
While the cost of materials and fees can add up quickly, the material can look great for years to come, often making quality quartz countertops a great long-term investment.
Rachelle Dragani is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn with extensive experience covering the lifestyle space. Her work on topics including smart home technology, pest control, living green, budget home repair and helpful household tips have appeared in publications including Bob Vila, Esquire, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo and Yahoo.