An Ultimate Guide to Replacing Kitchen Countertops On a Budget

Replacing your kitchen countertops doesn’t need to cost a fortune. If you are looking for a way to improve the value and quality of your home but can only handle a single project, replacing kitchen countertops on a budget is the best way to go. 

New countertops are an easy upgrade, and you can either do it yourself or with the help of a professional. Moreover, you have different options for freshening up your kitchen surfaces. 

Today’s most popular countertop materials come in various styles, designs, sizes, and prices. This means you can give your kitchen a dramatic facelift without breaking the bank. 

Here are some most sought-after materials to choose from when replacing your kitchen countertop on a budget. 

Laminates

Laminate is one of the best materials when replacing your kitchen countertop on a budget. It is formed by a thin layer of plastic laminate material bonded to a core of particleboard.

Further, there are many manufacturers such as Formica and Wilsonart. There are also hundreds of color and style options available for you to choose from.

Price: $5 to $27 per square foot

Pros

  • Most affordable countertop material to date.
  • DIY is straightforward when you install pre-fabricated countertop sections.
  • Great variety is possible if you build a kitchen countertop using designer laminates. Moreover, hundreds of colors and patterns are available.

Cons

  • Laminates can peel up, scorch or chip easily.
  • Laminate countertops can feel void and lightweight in comparison to other materials.

 

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile countertops are made using individual clay-based tiles adhered over a cement board core using a thin-set mortar adhesive. 

For kitchen countertops, grout seams make tile a less ideal countertop material. Still, newer variants of ceramic and porcelain tiles are available in large sizes that can help minimize the number of seams and make things easier. 

Price: $8 to $28 per square foot

Pros

  • Comes second to laminate in terms of cost. 
  • Ceramic tile is easy for a DIYer to install. 
  • Contemporary porcelain tiles offer diverse design options such as natural wood, real stone, and many other materials.

Cons

  • Grout seams can be stained and are difficult to clean.
  • Ceramic tile is brittle and cracks easily. Moreover, the repair is complicated, and full replacement of damaged tile is required. 

 

Modular Granite

Another best option for replacing kitchen countertops on a budget is modular granite. Modular granite occupies a space between solid surface slabs and granite tiles and are among the best stone countertop options.

Further, they can be described as large tiles pieced together to make a countertop. While modular granite is heavy, these pieces are still lighter than actual granite slabs, making them a decent option for DIYers. 

Price: $15 to $100 per square foot

Pros

  • Easy to DIY by homeowners. However, the most challenging part is lifting the slabs and moving them.
  • Inexpensive when compared to standard granite countertops. 

Cons

  • Modular granite countertops will have some seams making them different from solid slabs. 
  • Slabs are relatively thinner than solid slabs and can be cracked or broken.

 

Slate

Slate is also a natural stone that is quarried straight out from the earth, cut into slabs, and surfaced-grinded to a matte finish. Unsurprisingly, it is a good material for kitchen countertops because it is non-porous and resists stains. 

However, most people think of slate as a dark gray or black stone, but there are types of slate with shades of green or pink within them. Also, they have subtle veining but less dramatic than marble. 

Price: $20 to $60 per square foot

Pros

  • Slate is non-porous and stain-resistant.
  • Slate resists bacteria.
  • These countertops are hard and durable.
  • Relatively cheaper than granite, soapstone, or marble. 

Cons

  • Slate has a gritty, matte texture that may not appeal to everyone or may not suit every kitchen.
  • There are fewer color options available than other materials. 

 

Solid Surfacing

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

Solid surface is an artificial material that was initially created as an alternative to granite. As a result, its design resembles granite and other natural stones. 

Further, it is made mostly from blends of synthetic acrylic and polyester materials, seldom with a small amount of natural stone dust mixed in. 

The material is held together with resins and shaped into slabs for use in countertops. Also, you can model the material into one-piece units with sinks integrated into the countertop. 

Price: $20 to $70 per square foot

Pros

  • Solid-surface is among the most affordable countertop materials.
  • The looks of solid surface resemble that of granite and quartz.
  • You can sand out minor scratches or buff out with sandpaper. 
  • Thousands of colors and patterns are available, making solid surface a versatile material for kitchen design. 

Cons

  • Solid surface is prone to scorching and scratching. 
  • Earlier it was regarded as a high-end material, but now it is often seen as a cheaper alternative to natural or engineered stone. 

 

Quartz

When replacing kitchen countertops on a budget, quartz countertops are still one of the best choices. This material is composed of pulverized waste rock along with resins for hardness and binding. 

As a result, quartz countertops aren’t solid slabs of quartz mineral but are engineered stone countertops. Besides, quartz is quickly overcoming solid-surface as a convincing alternative to natural stone for countertops. 

Price: $15 to $70 per square foot

Pros

  • Very beautiful and charming due to the inclusion of quartz crystals and other natural minerals.
  • Very durable and less susceptible to scratching than solid surface.
  • Endless colors and styles are available. 
  • Offers good resale value in a home.

Cons

  • Quartz countertops are extremely heavy.
  • Need professional installers, as there is no DIY option. 

 

Marble

Photo by Collov Home Design on Unsplash

Marble is a natural stone countertop option that is always in high demand. Its unique appearance and veined patterns make it one of the most attractive stones. However, marble is comparatively soft and must be carefully and repeatedly sealed if you are buying marble for kitchen countertops. 

Similar to granite, marble countertop is available in three forms, i.e., solid slabs, modular marble, and marble tiles. Among these, solid slabs are the best choice for use as countertops. 

Price: $15 to $190 per square foot

Pros

  • The natural veining of marble makes it one of the most beautiful natural stone and countertop options.
  • Each marble countertop is unique. 

Cons

  • Marble is porous and can be easily stained if not sealed regularly with top-quality sealing products. 
  • Marble is a soft stone and can get scratched with knives and other sharp kitchen utensils.