Granite and other natural stone countertops like marble and quartzite are on the top of the list for many homeowners planning a kitchen or bathroom remodel. In this article we explain the factors a homeowner must take into account in order to budget appropriately for their next countertop project.
Don’t be fooled by the old bait and switch. We started Countertop Discounts with the mission to bring transparency to a market where it is lacking. Shopping for new countertops can sometimes feel much like buying a car. Just like new car dealers advertising the $199 per month lease on that new Toyota. When you get to the dealership you find out there was one car and either its bright orange or it has already been sold. Sound familiar?
Countertop fabricators advertise a low price per square foot because they understand price is one of the top decision making criteria for any homeowner. This advertised low entry price is commonly referred to as “the bait”.
Once you arrive you are told they have a limited supply or only offering two or three granite colors in their ad. You've just experienced "the switch". Beware of the fine print and be prepared to be upsold. By the time you get out the door you end up spending 15-35% more than you anticipated because of add-ons like sink cut-outs, backsplash, edge profiles, sinks, sealers and faucets.
One of the most common gimmicks in the countertop industry is the FREE SINK offer with the purchase of kitchen countertops.They usually have a minimum number of material you must purchase. Do you really think that sink is FREE? Or are they just factoring that into the bottom line. There is no such thing as a FREE SINK….they are simply burying it in their cost. That’s why we ask our Certified Countertop Fabricators to provide all-in quotes so there are no hidden charges.
Every fabricator prices add-ons differently. Do your homework before you buy. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Just like the car dealerships that sell you a vehicle at “ Cost “ then once you sit down with the finance manager where you negotiate all over again. Car dealerships make money by offering you financing, selling you overpriced gap and life insurance policies in addition to paint sealers that you don’t need.
Countertop fabricators often make their money by following a similar practice. These countertop fabricators advertise a low price per square foot on the countertop to then charge exorbitant prices for items that you can buy for half as much elsewhere.
What factors will go into determining the cost of my new kitchen countertops? There an number of things that are taken into consideration when determining the cost of countertops. We've compiled a list of some of the most crucial things to understand when shopping around for countertops.
Natural Stone Slabs vary in size. Granite countertops are mined in various sizes so understanding the scope of your project before choosing a particular slab can help you keep costs down especially if you are able to get your kitchen from a single slab. 3cm slabs are one and one quarter inch thick. 3cm countertops have grown in popularity as natural stone prices have continued to fall. This thicker countertop material does not require additional support and can be placed directly on your cabinets.
2cm material is three quarters of an inch thick and traditionally have been less expensive. However 2cm natural stone material has less structural rigidity and make chip or break during manufacturing and installation. One other thing to consider is that 2cm slabs may not be readily available in your market.
Whether you select a natural stone surface like granite, marble or quartzite for you new kitchen countertops or you prefer to go with an engineered surface like quartz will have an impact on your overall budget. The most common granite slabs, ones you might see at your local Holiday Inn start in the mid 30’s per square foot and the most rare can run upwards of two hundred and fifty. When it comes to quartz (engineered stone) you would expect to pay between fifty and ninety dollars per square foot.
As is the case with all commodities pricing is dictated base on the basic principles of supply and demand.
Supply: When it comes to all natural resources mined from the earth we must determine how accessible is the material in question. So we ask first where is the quarry located? How difficult is the natural stone to excavate?
Demand: Scarcity and exotic colors will drive up the overall cost of your project. The more rare the color and the more difficult those slabs are to mine the more expensive the finished product. Why does the country of origin matter? There are a couple of reasons. First the cost of wages varies greatly from one region or country to another. For instance granites minded in China typically cost less than similar granite mined in Spain or Italy. The cost of shipping is another factor. The further those slabs have to travel to their final resting place the higher the costs to the end user.
Granite, marble and quartzite countertop materials are typically priced by the square foot with prices ranging from as low as $35 per square foot to as much as $250 for the most exoctic stones. The fabricator or installer typically takes into account his costs for preparing, fabricating, and installing the material according to the amount of time they estimate it will take to complete the project. Material costs start as low as $15 per square foot and can run as high as $125 per square foot. You can expect to pay between $25 and $60 per man per hour for labor.
Getting accurate measurements, fabricating and installing custom natural stone countertops requires a number of skilled laborers in order for your finished product to end up with glowing applause. Each type of material has its own characteristics and traits. Some natural stones like granites are harder and less likely to break during fabrication and installation. Other natural stones like marble and quartzite can scratch and pit easily often times they are more likely to break during fabrication and installation.
How to choose your fabricator wisely? All of the countertop fabricators in Countertop Discounts - Tampa have met strict guidelines and all passed our litmus test. Countertop Discounts does a thorough review of the most important “trust authorities”in the field: the Better Business Bureau, Government Consumer Affairs Organizations and State Contractor Licensing Boards. Don’t take a chance. Download a Complete Reputation Report for FREE before hiring them.
Everything we’ve discussed in this article will factor into how much your countertops cost. Give us a call if you would like us to review a competitors quote. Countertop Discounts will gladly help you secure multiple bids. Our experts will help you plan, bid and manage every aspect of your remodel. Make sure you get every dollar out of the budget you have set aside taking all the cost factors described above when putting together your budget for your next kitchen or bath remodel project. Remember when companies compete you win.