Here we share the most expensive countertops, including some of their pros & cons and what you can expect to pay.
There are a wide variety of options for material when it comes to countertops. Within that, there are a number of patterns, designs, and colors you can select from. The best place to start is at the budget stage; how much do you want to spend, or how much can you spend?
Once you select that, it takes you to the right general idea of materials you can use. It is also important to remember that you need not just the slab or material but also the installation cost that comes with it. Typically, but not always, the price of the installation will rise with the price of the material. Often, the heaviness of the material and the time it will take are big contributors to the price of the installation.
Typically, the higher-end materials are not something you want to test for the first do-it-yourself project in your new house because if you did not want to pay for it once, I am sure you do not want to have to pay for it twice just for it to be done right. Tiles often take more time, while slabs are often heavier.
While there are many low-cost choices for kitchen counters, there are also some great choices at the higher end of the countertop market. The higher price tag comes with plenty of pros and cons. Often, higher-cost materials are higher-quality materials. This can be in durability, cleaning ability, or even the product’s life.
Most of the time, you get what you pay for with these. Some materials do not have the best durability levels, but you pay for the looks. In places that aren’t frequently used but are more for display, these can be important; just be ready to pay for it.
There are ways to get the best of both worlds, though a lot of these higher-end options have the choice to be made into tiles instead of just slabs, which can often bring the price tag down while still getting the style or the quality that you desire. Some of the most popular, higher-end options are listed and described below.
Quartz countertops can be engineered and are mostly natural quartz, with a few other materials mixed in for the best color and design options. That being said, quartz countertops can come in a wide array of colors and patterns and can be custom-made to how you want or need the countertop.
Customization and difficulty levels can cause the price range to vary on the higher side of the scale. Luckily, after the first initial payment, there are not much maintenance costs that are needed for quartz slabs; just keep them clean, and they will last.
The durability of quartz surfaces is phenomenal – they will often last a lifetime with proper care. To keep costs down, there are also tile installations available instead of the slabs.
Quartz countertops can run anywhere from $55 per square foot to $155 per square foot, not including installation.
Granite countertops are a great choice, and while they are on the expensive side, in recent times, the prices have gone down, making the end price tag quite a bit more reasonable.
Granite does require some maintenance, including regular sealing. This does require some dollars each time sealing needs to be done. Without sealing, the granite can be chipped. As long as that is taken care of, the surface is extremely durable and heat resistant.
Granite stone slabs have a wide variety of colors and patterns to choose from, making them extremely versatile. To keep the cost down, select granite tiles instead of larger slabs. This makes both the material and the installation costs drop. Due to the weight of granite, it is best to look into professional installation.
Granite countertops can run anywhere from $45 per square foot to $200 per square foot, not including installation.
Marble countertops are the most expensive stone for counters, but the immaculate appearance reflects the hefty bill. Using marble takes a kitchen from drab to fab in a second. These are often used in places that are not used very frequently.
Marble can chip, stain, and need a lot of maintenance. This is the price one must have for the beauty of marble. If you still want to use this product but want a slightly lower price tag – try using a lower grade of marble or even incorporating remnant tiles instead of larger marble slabs.
Marble countertops can run anywhere from $75 per square foot to $250 per square foot, not including installation.
Real wood countertops can bring a natural element into the design that looks gorgeous. However, wood can require much maintenance to maintain its beauty. Wood surfaces require oiling periodically, such as every 2 to 3 years. Cleaning up spills and wiping up excess water immediately is necessary to prevent the wood grain from absorbing any stains.
There are many types of wood varieties to choose from. Some of the most popular are oak, maple, and walnut, with more exotic types being teak, cherry, and tigerwood.
The price of wood countertops can change depending on the type of wood. Butcher block wood counters tend to cost from $35 to $85 per square foot.
Laminate countertops are the cheapest option, are durable, low maintenance, and are easier to install than other types.
With these pros come cons, such as the life span being about ten years before needing replacement. They are also susceptible to scorching from hot pans and scratching from day-to-day use. In addition, while made to look like real stone, laminate has very uniform patterns and a limited color palette.
Laminate kitchen counters cost from $10 to $40 per square ft, without installation.
Soapstone counters tend to be darker and richer in color and have a relatively smooth texture. Due to the darker color, stains are not too much of a problem, as well as the stain-resistant qualities. This makes for a light maintenance routine despite needing to be routinely polished with mineral oil.
Unfortunately, these are susceptible to scratching and damage. These are delicate pieces that must be professionally installed.
Soapstone countertops can run anywhere from $70 per square foot to $120 per square foot, not including installation.
Stainless Steel Countertops
Stainless steel counters are on the lower end of the high-end expensive countertops. Stainless steel is best used in commercial settings but is also used in residential kitchens. This type of countertop is resistant to heat and extremely easy to clean. Unfortunately, stainless steel is easily scratched and can attract fingerprints.
Stainless Steel countertops can run anywhere from $80 per square foot to $100 per square foot, not including installation.
Concrete countertops lean towards contemporary design. The design is typically pretty simplistic and straightforward. This makes them extremely versatile, especially since they can easily be colored to what you may want with varying dyes or stains.
Concrete is pretty easy to cut or shape, so custom items do not shoot the price up too much. Unfortunately, concrete surface materials will be very heavy, sending installation prices up, meaning it is important to ensure the countertop has the correct supports underneath to hold the weight.
While concrete counters can be labor-intensive, you can save substantially by pouring and installing them yourself. For a DIY project, concrete surfaces are a very affordable option.
Concrete countertops can run anywhere from $100 per square foot to $150 per square foot, not including installation.
Recycled Glass Countertops
Recycled glass countertops are the most environmentally friendly options for kitchen countertop materials. Unfortunately, while being environmentally conscious, you also have to pay for it. Recycled glass surfaces are the most expensive type of kitchen countertop material.
This style uses recycled glass mixed with cement to create a very durable surface. With the concrete component being the base of the countertop, it will take on a majority of the same qualities as a plain concrete countertop (please see above for details).
One big difference is the appearance, obviously with bits of recycled glass thrown in; the visual will be a bit different, typically with a unique look.
These are often customizable with the color of the glass and the size of the pieces. Sometimes, the custom work will be more expensive, and this product can be a little more difficult to find as it is not as common as some of the above-mentioned countertop types.
High-quality recycled glass is one of the most expensive options and can run anywhere from $100 per square foot to $160 per square foot, not including installation. See our gallery of glass kitchen countertops here.
Kitchen Countertops Cheapest to Most Expensive
Here’s our quick breakdown of the most affordable countertop to the least (with basic installation included, not including demolition and removal – updated for 2023-2024 prices.)
- Laminate costs from $20 to $50 per square foot for basic. Mid-range $30 to $40 and premium $40 to $60.
- Wood costs from $35 to $85 per square foot. Mid-range $70 to $100, and exotic wood $100 to $200.
- Granite costs from $45 to $60 per square foot for the lower-tier. Mid-range $60 to $80, and high-end $80 to over $100.
- Quartz costs from $55 to $70 per square foot for lower-tier quality. Mid-range $70 to $100, and high-end $100 to $150.
- Soapstone costs from $70 to $120 per square foot. Higher quality or rare materials can range from $100 to $150)
- Marble costs from $50 to $60 per square foot. Mid-range marble is priced at $60 to $100, and high-end $100 to $250 or more)
- Stainless Steel costs from $80 to $140 per square foot. (Higher gauge steel, thickness, and different finishes will increase the price)
- Concrete costs $100 to $150 per square foot. (DIY can be substantially cheaper)
- Recycled glass costs from $100 to $160 per square foot. (Unique colors, materials, edge designs, manufacturer brands, and patterns will increase pricing)
If you are creating your interior design, you can experiment with many different types of countertops by using one of the kitchen design software programs. Some of these programs provide close-up and three-dimensional views to help you visualize how different finishes and materials will look in your space.