How Much Do Granite Countertops Cost?
Durable and attractive, granite countertops are a long-term investment that can enhance and modernize the look and feel of your home through the rock’s natural beauty and ability to withstand heat and scratches. But are they worth the cost?
In this article, we explore the cost of granite countertops, how to shop and pay for them and whether they’re worth the expense.
- Calculating your cost of granite countertops
- How to shop for granite countertops
- 4 financing options for granite countertops
- Ways to cut the cost of granite countertops
- Should you invest in granite countertops?
Calculating your cost of granite countertops
1. The surface area you need to cover
The cost for granite countertops are affected by three major factors: How much area you’re covering, granite quality and who’s doing the job.
To begin calculating installation costs for granite countertops, measure the surface area the granite will cover. A contractor can take the measurements, or you can determine them yourself by following these steps:
- Start by measuring the lengths of all your countertops in inches, including base cabinets and islands.
- Multiply the total length by 26 inches (the standard width for countertops) to get your total countertop area in square inches.
- For the backsplash area, multiply the total length by four inches (the standard width for backsplashes).
- Add the total amount of inches for the countertop area and backsplash area.
- Divide that amount by 144 to determine the total square footage.
According to Home Depot, material costs for granite range from $40 to $100 per square foot with the average cost coming in at $58 per square foot, though Hagop Imasdoinian, a designer for Apico Kitchens in Toronto, puts the average between $42 to $50 per square foot.
“It also depends on how many slabs of granite they would need to buy,” he says.
2. Granite quality
Costs can also vary depending on the granite’s quality and its origin, too. Imported granite is usually 30% more expensive than locally-sourced stone. Characteristics like thickness, coloration, pattern and finish help determine costs based on whether the slab is low-grade, mid-grade or high-grade.
- Low-grade granite is the cheapest slab and usually originates from China. It’s typically thinner (⅜ inch), features only base colors and may need a piece of plywood to bolster the countertop.
- Mid-grade granite comes from India or Brazil and has an average thickness of ¾ inch. The slab is more colorful though the shades aren’t unique or unusual.
- High-grade granite is the most expensive, has the best quality and will have some sort of unique and lively coloring. The thickness ranges upward from ¾ inch to 1 ¼ inches.
While cheaper granite countertops can offer significant cost savings, consider how a stronger, more vividly-colored granite slab could positively affect your home’s value and appearance.
3. Labor costs
You’ll also need to consider more than just the granite itself when estimating the project’s total cost. Hiring a contractor, as opposed to doing the job yourself, involves covering basic labor costs, job supplies and waste removal. Depending on where you live and how much counter space you have, a contractor may charge anywhere from $19,000 to almost $28,000.
Keep in mind that 30 square feet of granite typically weighs around 570 pounds, roughly the average weight of three adult males. Inexperienced DIYers may damage or mishandle the slab, so the cost of hiring a contractor could outweigh the expense of having to repair or buy new granite.
How to shop for granite countertops
Avoid breaking the bank for your granite countertop project by getting cost estimates, shopping around and sticking to your budget — even if it means not getting everything on your wishlist.
Before calling a contractor for an estimate, do some research to get an idea of material and labor costs. Home Depot and HGTV offer useful tools and insights that can help you come up with a ballpark figure.
Angie’s List recommends getting three estimates before choosing a contractor. This allows you to discover the general price range for your countertop project and presents the opportunity to base your selection on things such as the contractor’s communication and professionalism as opposed to just the cost.
4 financing options for granite countertops
In terms of paying for granite countertops, there are plenty of options available:
- In-store financing: Some businesses offer in-store financing with rates as low as 0%. These offers allow homeowners to start their projects sooner, but they often require an application and credit approval.
- Personal loans: Fixed-rate personal loans for home improvements can be helpful if you want an unsecured loan and a predictable repayment timeline. However, your eligibility and your rates will depend on your credit. That means low-credit borrowers could see triple-digit rates.
- Home equity loan or home equity line of credit: Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit use your house as collateral but come with lower interest rates. They can be a viable option if you have a clear path to repayment and willing to risk borrowing against your home.
- Zero-interest credit card: If you have strong credit, search for a credit card with a 0% interest period, and pay it off before the promotion ends. Big-box chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s have their own credit cards that may offer 0% interest periods and fixed-rate financing.
Ways to cut the cost of granite countertops
Like any home improvement project, there are plenty of ways to find cost-saving measures to make the process of installing granite countertops more manageable.
- Find salvaged countertops: Award-winning designer Pablo Solomon recommends saving money by finding salvaged countertops. “Sometimes when cutting and polishing custom counters, the granite is damaged,” he says. “You can, on occasion, have these rejects cut to a smaller size at a much cheaper cost than starting from scratch as most of the polishing work has already been done.”
- Purchase thinner, low-grade slabs or go with granite tiles: Granite tiles tend to come in a broader range of colors and tones than slabs and are an average of 50% to 75% cheaper. The biggest drawback to granite tiles is the fact they can take three to four times longer to install than traditional slabs.
- Stick with popular colors: Imasdoinian suggests sticking with popular colors as the suppliers may have already liquidated the more unique colors. “See if they have anything that they have too many of,” he says.
- Find a local supplier: The origin of your granite also plays a significant factor in costs. Transporting a heavy granite slab from one continent to another is going to be much more expensive than trucking it in from the next town over. Finding a local company to supply your granite slabs is a great way to save some cash.
Should you invest in granite countertops?
When deciding if you should invest in granite countertops, ask yourself questions like, “How much time do I spend in the kitchen?” or “How much cooking do I plan on doing?”
You’ll also want to consider the maintenance. Repairing granite can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000 depending on your counter space. Sealing granite countertops can help increase their longevity but requires time and money. Though opinions vary, an independent property manager Tracey Conlgoue, based in Williamsburg, Va., recommends resealing granite countertops at least once a year to make cleaning easier.
Though some realtors claim granite countertops can increase a home’s value by up to $4,000, Conlogueis more conservative with her valuation. “I don’t know about those numbers, but granite can make a home easier to sell because it’s now the standard and is so popular as opposed to laminate,” says Conlogue.
The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.