Granite Cost Factors for Kitchen Countertop

Kitchen granite countertops

Granite for kitchen countertops is not as expensive as you think. You do not have to think twice about getting granite countertops just because you have a limited budget. The trick is to make the right choices so granite countertops are within your reach.
Fairfax Kitchen Bath offers package deals for complete kitchen remodels starting from $8,450 (10×10 square feet). However, if kitchen countertops are all you have in mind, then you need to know a bit more about the factors that will affect the total cost of putting in granite countertops.
Typically, the cost for granite countertops has a wide range, anywhere from $45 to $200 for every square foot. The reason for such a wide range of prices is because of the following factors.

Rarity

Kitchen granite countertops 

Granite is extremely common, as it is the most abundant type of natural stone in the world. However, they come in different colors and patterns, and some are more common than others are. Thus, rarity is one of the factors that will affect the cost of your granite slab.
When you choose a granite slab from our showroom, you will notice that gray and brown speckled slabs that most people associate with granite are the most affordable compared to slabs of other colors and patterns. This is because brown and gray speckled granite is quite common, while blues and greens in swirly patterns are not so common.

The rarity of the stone has nothing to do with the strength or other excellent qualities of the granite. It affects the price, but that is only because of market demand. If you choose the more common varieties, it will not detract from the function of your granite countertops in any way.

Source

granite quarry
Another factor that will affect cost is the source of the granite slab, primarily because it costs more to bring it from the quarry to your home. If you choose granite from Italy or Spain, for example, it will be more expensive that comes from nearer home, such as Brazil.
By that logic, you might think that granite from a local quarry would be the most affordable. It would be, but for one thing: labor costs. Granite goes through a long process to convert it from blocks to slabs, and that means paying for local labor. This offsets any savings you might get from lower transportation costs.

Format

granite
Typically, you want granite countertops made of slabs, and this is usually the best option, as you have to deal with fewer seams. The look is more cohesive and attractive. However, you can also get granite tiles or modules.
Granite tiles come in the same sizes as porcelain or ceramic tiles and usually available in tile suppliers and hardware stores. The price range per square foot is from $6 and $10, so that is sweet.

Additionally, you can install tiles for kitchen countertops on your own if you have an existing countertop, or if you have the DIY chops to make the support structures for the base cabinets. That can save you some money with installation.

One thing you should know, though, is setting granite tiles is slightly different from setting porcelain tiles. You use epoxy instead of mortar, and you set the tiles edge to edge with no space for grout. As you might imagine, the seams will be visible, but that has its own charm.
Another option is modules. These are like tiles, but larger. They are not as common as tiles, and available in fewer options in color and patterns. The price per square foot is less than for slabs at between $25 and $40, and you set it the same way as tiles.
The thing is, using tiles and modules for kitchen countertops make sense in terms of budget, but in the case of modules, the difference in price hardly seems worth the trade off because of the seams. However, you can use tiles and modules for backsplashes, where the seams will not matter as much.

Thickness

granite thickness comparison

Granite slabs come in standard thicknesses, usually 2 cm and 3 cm. Thinner slabs cost less, of course, but they are not usually recommended for kitchen countertops. You can work around that by building more support at key areas on the countertop to prevent stress cracks.
The idea is to pay less for the same countertop area without sacrificing durability. A 2-cm slab might not be as durable as a 3-cm slab, but with the right support, there is very little difference. You might want to avoid overhangs of more than a couple of inches, however.

Installation

crew installing granite countertops

Installation is a bigger deal in terms of cost than you might think if you choose granite slabs. Granite is extremely tough, so cutting them to fit a certain size and or cutouts is not a DIY project. You need special skills and equipment to do it, and that is just for simple edge profiles. If you want premium edge treatments, you are going to have to pay for it. Obviously, if you are on a tight budget, you want to keep it as simple as possible.
For the simplest fabrication and installation, expect to pay a similar sum for the granite itself. For instance, if the cost of the granite slab is $45 per square foot, you will pay close to $45 for fabricating and installing it. This is not set in stone, but that is close.

Conclusion

You can afford granite countertops if you make right choices. Choose slabs of common colors and patterns with simple edge profiles, or choose thinner slabs for more exotic varieties.

It helps to find a supplier that can advise you on how to stay on budget. Fairfax Kitchen Bath specializes in fabricating kitchen countertops and backsplashes to specifications, and installing them within budget and on time.
We service the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia that houses all our products, including actual granite, marble and engineered stone slabs from which you can choose.

You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products, and receive it much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores.
We carry the products you need for your kitchen or bathroom upgrades, from natural and engineered stone slabs, cabinets, shelves, sinks, faucets tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, and hardwood flooring. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic D├ęcor. They all come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.

Contact us today to get a free quote for your trendy kitchen remodeling project!

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Sam Kazanci <br/><span id="position">Owner</span>

Sam Kazanci
Owner

Sam Kazanci is the owner of Fairfax Kitchen Bath Remodeling. He has experience to build and remodel the kitchen and baths with his team and the author of fkb blog: You can find Sam on LinkedIn and Twitter.