Author Topic: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?  (Read 1216 times)

mozar

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Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« on: July 10, 2019, 08:58:46 PM »
I will be remodeling my kitchen and I'm thinking about the process of buying countertops. There are so many options: IKEA, Lowe's, home depot, local places. Any thoughts on where to go? It is a small kitchen. And I also want to install an undermount sink. I know you can order holes for the faucet, would they put something for an undermount sink too? Many thanks.

Papa bear

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2019, 09:28:06 PM »
Any idea what kind of material that you want?  With an undermount sink, you’ll be working with stone, concrete, engineered solid surface types.

If you go that route, shop around, call a couple of local installers.  If you go with a stone, the price / sf will be based on type and the look. Typically the slabs are rated A-Z with expensiveness going up as the alphabet does.

For granite, you’re looking at 30-90/sf installed. Quartz, 50+? Solid surface 25-75?
Then you can go with other stones or even concrete.

Anyway, point of this is, your price points can be all over the place.  I would go local though, and shop around. There are probably dozens of installers.


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mozar

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2019, 09:51:38 PM »
Quartz

Papa bear

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2019, 10:12:01 PM »
So I’d say you’re looking in the 50-75 / sf range.  A local stone countertop place will be able to talk you through pricing, layout, corners, holes for faucets, sinks, etc.  they basically get it all set up and done for you.  Call around to start to get an idea where their prices start.  Most of these fabricators will buy their slabs from the same distributor, so price differences are due to labor and overhead. 


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mozar

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2019, 11:34:34 PM »
Thanks @PapaBear

newloginuser

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2019, 04:22:24 AM »
Yes definitely get at least 3 quotes. Just did this ourselves with a small kitchen and the price difference between them all was over $1,000. Easy way to save some money.

Falke401

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2019, 06:03:14 AM »
We have done Quartz and Granite both through Lowes.  They had the best prices and we have been happy with their install.  I think we got granite around $46 a sq/ft installed which included backsplash and undermount sink.  I couldn't find any other local business that could get even close to that.  Lowes was about $1000 cheaper than the other quotes i got. 

FindingFI

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2019, 06:32:28 AM »
We just finished a kitchen remodel and found that the look was a huge factor in price as papa bear mentioned. Our local supplier that many of the local installers buy from doesn't give out prices (those have to come from the installers) but they did have all the options grouped into pricing tiers. This was super helpful in that it enabled us focus on the options that we had a decent idea we would be willing to pay for vs the super expensive choices.

As far as process:
We looked around the supplier warehouse immediately ruling out the more expensive tiers and narrowed down to 3 stone selections. Then we got quotes for those stones from a couple local installers and chose one based on quote and reviews.  Next step was to go back to the supplier to pick out our specific slabs. Then the installer came to our house to make templates for the countertop sections including undermount sink and faucet cutouts. A week or so later they came back again to do the install of the countertops, backsplash and undermount sink. We had to do the faucet install ourselves.   

Can't speak for how the process works through a big box store like Lowes or Home Depot.

Papa bear

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 06:38:36 AM »
Lowe’s or HD will outsource the install to a local fabricator that runs a deal for some volume work. Inherently, it adds another middle man and markup to the process.  Sometimes, the volume of work will work out in your favor.  But 9/10 times you are better off on your own.


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affordablehousing

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2019, 11:24:27 AM »
Just a possible consideration but in my experience the one differentiator between getting countertops for $5K and $2K is the decision to do an undermount sink. If you can live with an overmount or farm sink you can have a handyman do it for cheap. Soapstone, butcherblock, solid surface, marble, tile are all candidates. Or you can spend an extra several grand to have an undermount sink with quartz. I think it only makes sense if you're selling in the next few years before quartz goes out of style. Just an armchair opinion.

mozar

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2019, 01:28:29 PM »
Is the cut for an undermount sink expensive or is the installation what makes it expensive? If it's the installation that looks pretty easy and I could do it myself. If it's the cut that's a hard choice. My kitchen is so small that the extra two inches would make a big difference.
I want to go with quartz because I read it requires zero maintenance, has high heat resistance and doesn't scratch easily. I thought soapstone was a type of quartz no?

charis

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2019, 01:53:56 PM »
Just a possible consideration but in my experience the one differentiator between getting countertops for $5K and $2K is the decision to do an undermount sink. If you can live with an overmount or farm sink you can have a handyman do it for cheap. Soapstone, butcherblock, solid surface, marble, tile are all candidates. Or you can spend an extra several grand to have an undermount sink with quartz. I think it only makes sense if you're selling in the next few years before quartz goes out of style. Just an armchair opinion.

Why does it cost an extra 3K to do an undermount sink?

affordablehousing

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2019, 01:58:28 PM »
The problem is finishing the undermount sink cut edge. You need pro installers and fabricators for that, hence the huge upcharge in labor. Otherwise you can get prefinished quartz or granite with a finished edge and backsplash and just cut to length with a diamond blade. You could pay a competent handy person and helper $100 an hour for a day and have them do it with an "off-the-rack countertop" from a distributor, or you can order a slab, get it custom cut, get the sink cutout done and polished, which you really can't do on granite or quartz yourself.

Soapstone is talc and cuts pretty easily with woodworking tools. You can finish the edge yourself.

MayDay

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2019, 02:03:39 PM »
For me, the whole reason to have solid surface countertops is the undermount. I have never heard anyone say they wouldn't pay extra to get that. In my experience as a tiny person is it is well worth the money. Otherwise just do laminate.

affordablehousing

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2019, 02:20:57 PM »
Don't let me stop you, I've just always found countertops one of the oddly extraordinarily high expenses that few people try to save money on. Knock yourself out!

MayDay

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2019, 02:39:18 PM »
Don't let me stop you, I've just always found countertops one of the oddly extraordinarily high expenses that few people try to save money on. Knock yourself out!

This is very true. I work in the building supply industry and we are always amazed that people will drop thousands to upgrade countertops but not on the structural integrity of the house.

mozar

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2019, 03:09:36 PM »
I see I've touched a nerve here. I've already spent thousands of dollars on the structural integrity of the house. I'm very interested to learn about prefinished quartz vs off the rack soapstone. Can I install an undermount sink myself?

MayDay

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2019, 03:46:07 PM »
I see I've touched a nerve here. I've already spent thousands of dollars on the structural integrity of the house. I'm very interested to learn about prefinished quartz vs off the rack soapstone. Can I install an undermount sink myself?

Nothing to do with you! More a situation with purchasers of mcmansions :)

SweatingInAZ

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2019, 07:33:49 PM »
Try to find a discount yard!
If your countertop needs are small and you can be flexible about the color, ask installers if they have any slabs sitting around collecting dust.

In the Phoenix area, Arizona Tile (who supplies a lot of new home construction) sells excess and discontinued whole slabs in their discount yard.

While not as cheap as prefab, I got my quartz slab for $380 and installation for ~$28/sf. For 34 sf, install was <$1000. I do have an undermount sink.

Another Reader

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2019, 07:58:48 PM »
Try to find a discount yard!
If your countertop needs are small and you can be flexible about the color, ask installers if they have any slabs sitting around collecting dust.

In the Phoenix area, Arizona Tile (who supplies a lot of new home construction) sells excess and discontinued whole slabs in their discount yard.

While not as cheap as prefab, I got my quartz slab for $380 and installation for ~$28/sf. For 34 sf, install was <$1000. I do have an undermount sink.

I'm doing a kitchen in the Tempe area.  Where is the yard?

SweatingInAZ

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2019, 09:35:11 PM »
Try to find a discount yard!
If your countertop needs are small and you can be flexible about the color, ask installers if they have any slabs sitting around collecting dust.

In the Phoenix area, Arizona Tile (who supplies a lot of new home construction) sells excess and discontinued whole slabs in their discount yard.

While not as cheap as prefab, I got my quartz slab for $380 and installation for ~$28/sf. For 34 sf, install was <$1000. I do have an undermount sink.

I'm doing a kitchen in the Tempe area.  Where is the yard?

PMed for more info!

(it's across Greentree from the main AZ tile)

mozar

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2019, 09:36:50 PM »
I need 20sqft. I would have to see if I could fit it in a car. If I had a slab already why would I need a professional installation?

SweatingInAZ

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2019, 09:55:35 PM »
"installation" includes cutting to fit, machining the edges, cutting a hole for a sink, drilling holes for fixtures, delivery, and installation.

If you are comfortable doing those things and have a way to transport the countertop, go for it. Slabs are very heavy, and not strong if you are laying them flat without adequate support. The professionals store and transport them up on an edge.

mozar

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Re: Thoughts on buying kitchen countertops?
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2019, 10:02:54 PM »
Now I'm thinking of getting stainless steel and using the current laminate for the form and overlay. I'm assuming I would have to cut off the bullnose and 4 inch backsplash.