Countertops for a kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere in your home can really make or break the design. Stone selections seem endless these days and the prices vary so widely that it’s really hard to get an idea of what something costs. I want to share with you all that I’ve learned through the process of searching for counters, not just what type of stone we considered for various reasons but also what the cost projections were for those different options and what we ended up choosing and spending! I also asked for a lot of opinions regarding types of stone and I’ll be sharing those too!
So I’m no expert in countertops but after a whole month of research, I consider myself at least one or two steps below expert… kidding… kind of… but I can definitely spot the priciest stones (my special skill) and the difference between each type of stone now! Countertops can vary in price and some charge per square foot while others charge per slab and per anticipated install hours or per job. We worked with Chicago Stone Gallery and Our pricing included the selection of stone, the fabrication and the install. (not sponsored, we are just REALLY happy with the company) The install team was so fabulous and our fabricator was amazing too. He was in communication with me the whole time and even allowed me to make some changes to the layout of the cuts to make sure specific pieces were the way I wanted them.
All Things Countertops!
So what did we consider…
Quartzite: The more expensive of the natural stone materials regarding it’s base price. It’s beautiful and very hardly for a natural stone. It won’t stain or etch as easily as a soft stone like marble and will beautifully patina over time. (Yosemite Falls Quartzite pictured) **This was my top slab choice but ended up being too expensive for the amount we needed!
Dolomite: This was a “new to me” stone as I had never heard of it and very quickly fell in love. It’s patterns can resemble those of marble and quartzite, it’s almost like it marries the two stones. It’s stronger and more resilient that marble but not as strong as quartzite. It’s slightly less expensive than quartzite. (superwhite Dolomite Pictured)
Soapstone: Soapstone is beautiful but is a softer stone and will need maintenance. It can be more vieny or less and can be sealed to a shiny black or leathered. Some variations come in a charcoal grey color (my personal favorite) It can also come in a matte finish, similar to a honed marble.
Marble: Marble prices can vary by types. Carrara being the least expensive and calcuttas and statuatory selections being much pricier. We fell in love with some very expensive slabs of marble and trust me, it was easy to do. The variety of Marble and the classic feel makes it a very popular natural stone. It’s a softer material so it will require more upkeep than the two listed above which is why it’s not for everyone. (Top to bottom pictured: Breccia Capraia Marble **top choice but too expensive for this remodel. Calcutta Gold, and Bianco Carrara Venato Marble **what we chose**
Granite: Now, I know you’re thinking granite had it’s hey day in the 90’s and now everyone wants to rip it out and while this is true, granite is making a little bit of a come back because it’s so hardy and affordable! The black leathered granite is stunning and I even found a few slabs of granite that I mistook for marble!
Quartz: For years, this was the top pick in kitchens. Quartz is a great alternative to a natural stone, can be more budget friendly for some slabs, and can be very durable… however… the biggest deterrent for us with quartz was this… if you do happen to have a blemish, stain, crack, etch in your quartz, you can not simply buff it out and reseal it. It must be replaced. This to us was a turn off.
Porcelain: Wow oh wow was porcelain a great option. It’s durable, cost effective and so gorgeous… They take pictures of natural stones like the higher end breccia marbles and then screen print them onto the large slabs of porcelain. It’s such a cool concept and we did consider this but unfortunately, this is a newer material and not popular amongst fabricators therefore the install is costly.
How Did we Set a budget for countertops and what countertops did we choose?
When we went to set up our budget, we factored in about 78 sq ft of counter space and looked up the national average of price per sq. Ft. For installed countertops ($50 per sq.ft) to see if we could come up with an expected cost… our total was projected to be around $3900 based on that calculation. We knew we lived in a higher market for all things construction and plus, we’re smack in a pandemic trying to renovate, things just cost more right now. Plus, let’s be real… My champagne taste on that beer budget wasn’t going to be picking out the lowest priced stone. We knew the cost would be higher so we raised our expected budget to $6500 for just the kitchen!
We got quotes for all the slabs I showed above… quartz came in about $7850 , quartzite was 410,500, Breccia Capraia marble was $10,500, Dolomite was $9450 and Calcutta was $10,500. Carrara marble came to $5900 and Boom! We had our answer… we had selected a Carrara Bianca slab that had some very dramatic viening that reminded me of some of the Calcutta slabs we had seen… I was shocked that the price for the slab and install was so low compared to others! We jumped on it and I’m so happy with it!
Had this been our “forever” home, or our home that we knew we would be in for 10 years, I would’ve selected the more expensive marble or the Quartzite for countertops! Given that we are a military family and move every few years, we knew that budget and resell needed to stay in the front of our minds alongside with staying true to the home!
We went with marble countertops for a few reasons besides cost. While quartz was definitely the most popular choice amongst my instagram community, the quartz with more dramatic viening that we were looking at just didn’t feel “real” in my opinion. Maybe it’s the photographer in me but I was able to see the pixels of the print in the stone and I just didn’t love it. The feel of a natural stone is unlike any quartz. Cold and smooth with a softness to it. It’s hard to explain. And I actually loved the subtle imperfections in natural stone. I read through tons of peoples comments advising against marble but then I read Althena Calderones take on marble and living with it and I was sold. This stone will tell the story of our kitchen for years to come and I’m so happy with it!
A few tips: Professionally seal it and clean it with PH neutral/balanced stone cleaner… some people say to use soap and water buy my Marble guy said not to because soap with discolor the marble over time. Embrace the etches and pin holes. The can be buffed out if it bothers you!