Granite countertops are usually the preferred choice for traditionally minded home owners looking for quality and a unique and long lasting finish, but which aren’t worried about price. Nature creates granite in a variety of colours, from white and gold to red, burgundy and black, with varying vein patterns that give each granite countertop a unique look.
Most people disregard granite countertops as being too expensive, and while it is true that a countertop made of this material will never be cheap, it can be affordable and very good value for money. The trick is finding the type of granite that suits your pocket, and looking for cheap granite countertops on stores and trade shows to get the best price.
Granite countertops made of a single piece of granite are, for obvious reasons, the most expensive and luxurious kind of countertop. Each granite slab is unique and the price of granite of this kind will be set by its colour, the intensity and movement of the natural vein patterns, and the size. A granite slab countertop installation needs to be handled by a professional, so don’t even think of lowering the price by doing a DIY job. They are very heavy and expensive slabs of granite stone, that need to be carefully placed and installed to avoid cracks due to the weight not being distributed correctly. If you are looking at your granite countertops as an investment, then granite slab is definitely where it’s at.
The latest innovation in granite countertops, composite granite slabs are artificially created with crushed granite crystals, epoxy and colouring agents. They are also known as quartz countertops, as that’s what granite dust are made off. They are easy to clean and repair, and they come in any imaginable colour and style. This makes them great if you are after an unconventional colour scheme for your kitchen countertops. They are also considerably cheaper than natural granite countertops, both in terms of cost and maintenance.
Instead of being a single, large slab those countertops are made of different pieces of a smaller size, but still bigger than a tile. They are not as expensive as a granite slab countertop, but the surface won’t be as even and there will be visible seams where the pieces are joined. They are usually cut to the depth of a standard kitchen countertop and about 12 inches wide. They are also thinner than slab granite, and so more likely to crack if handled incorrectly. A good installer will make sure the seams are as discrete as possible, and seal the granite so water or dirt can’t affect it. Most households looking for affordable granite will be very well served by this type of granite countertops, and you may be able to install them yourself if you are an experienced DIY and have help (they are still very heavy!).
Even smaller than modular granite pieces, granite tiles are smaller and easy to join together by non-professionals, lowering both the material cost and installation costs. They are also thinner than modular granite, and in some cases that may make them unsuitable if you plan on resurfacing countertops in the future. In general they are better suited to small surfaces with a mainly decorative use (like a kitchen island) rather than the main work surface in a kitchen. They can easily be installed as a DIY project (by an experienced DIY-er) as they are similar to ceramic tiles. However, instead of using grout you’ll attach them side to side to each other with epoxy resin. You can find tile granite for as low as $7 per sq. ft, which is a huge discount compared with modular granite which often starts at $25 per sq. ft at the very least.
Those are left-overs from previous work cutting granite slabs, and its irregular shape and colouring makes them much cheaper than any other form of materials for granite countertops. You can even buy the materials for as much as a quarter of the price of a granite slab, and done with skill it can create a unique and eye-catching statement piece. This of it more of an artistic project (with added green credentials as you’ll be recycling stone that would otherwise go to waste) than an actual practical choice for a kitchen, but it can pay huge dividends if done right.
If granite is out of your budget you may want to look at other cheap countertops ideas, such as laminate countertops. However, it’s worth investigating cheap granite countertops because they will last for much longer and may be the cheaper alternative in the long run.