Do Countertops Increase Home Value? And By How Much?

Date: January 25, 2020
Author: Jon Smith
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Many homeowners that want to sell their homes but need to make their homes more appealing to buyers wonder how much help installing new countertops would help with the resale value of their homes. However, much of this depends on the current appearance of your countertops, the new type of material you want to install for your countertops, and the size of your countertops overall.

Do countertops increase home value? And by how much? Yes, installing new countertops does increase a home’s value. However, figuring out “by how much” is tricky because it will depend on the type of new countertops you install, the current condition of your new countertops, the size of your kitchen, and how difficult it will be to install new countertops. In some cases, it is worth it to install new countertops before selling your home. However, in other cases, it isn’t worth it. A general rule of thumb is your new countertops will increase the home's value approximately 3 times the value of the countertops you had professionally installed.

Since there isn’t a lot of information available on the Internet today covering countertops and how they increase home value, we created this guide to help you out. Below we’ will discuss the impact that new countertops have on the resale value of your home and the prices for installing the different types of countertop materials to help you out.

Should You Replace Countertops Before Selling?

Many homeowners wonder if replacing their kitchen countertops will make their homes more appealing when they try to sell their homes. So, if you are thinking about listing your home and you are wondering if it would financially help you to install new countertops, we’ve got you covered. We’ll start by answering some questions about new countertops, and then we’ll discuss the costs of replacing your countertops, depending on the materials you want to use.

What’s the Condition of Your Old Countertops?

Before you try to determine what material you should replace your countertops with, you should take time out to assess if you even need to replace your old countertops. If your current countertops are neutral and still appear to be in good condition, then it probably won’t help you much to replace them before you try to sell your home.

However, if your countertops are dated, stained, or have a poor appearance overall, then the countertops can deter the sale of your home. Whenever a possible buyer looks at your home and sees something expensive that needs to be fixed, they’ll remember it. If you wind up with too many of those bad marks, then it will be more challenging to sell your home. So, if your countertops are ugly or in poor condition, you may want to replace your countertops.

However, you should only replace your countertops before selling your home if you truly feel you won’t be able to sell your home without replacing your countertops. Chances are, you probably won’t get all of your money back in resale value if you do replace your old countertops before selling your home. Some people are still willing to take this monetary hit if it increases the likelihood that they’ll sell their home faster. So, if that sounds like you, you may want to replace your old countertops.

Your Kitchen Countertops

Kitchen countertops often become essential selling points for homes because the kitchen area is usually central to any home. Whether a couple or a family resides in the house, people will wind up spending a lot of time in their kitchens. Also, the person that usually does the food preparation and clean up will most likely want a kitchen they can enjoy.

Selecting Your New Countertop

If you think you want to install new countertops before you sell your home, make sure you choose your materials carefully. You want your new countertops to match still the décor that you have present in your kitchen or bathroom in its current state.

So, think about using something pretty but also versatile. Many people love neutral countertops, so these are good selections. Try to avoid something trendy and go mainstream and not too expensive if you are going to resell your home.

Cost of Refinishing Your Countertops

If you know you cannot afford new countertops at this time, but you still want to do something fresh for your house, you can purchase a countertop refinishing kit for less than $300. With your countertop refinishing kit, some time and a little bit of effort, you can create a new look in your kitchen. Countertop refinishing kits usually feature sturdy peel-and-stick vinyl covers that work well for any DIYer and can be made to look like granite.

If $300 is still a bit pricy for you, then you can consider paint laminate tops, which can also give your kitchen countertop the appearance of granite. You can use a paint laminate top and show off your new DIY project with a beautiful, new look for your countertops in your kitchen. At the same time, you’ll also be recycling your old countertops and keeping them out of landfills, which is a green idea.

Small Repairs

If you’re worried about your budget and you are more interested in touching up your countertop and repairing a few scratches, gouges and chips, you can quickly fix these with a laminate repair paste, or using a color-matched repair pen. You can find both of these options at your local hardware store. When you go there, pick one that closely matches your countertop’s color. You should expect to spend about ten dollars on either one of these repair options.

Remember, when you opt for these types of repair products, you cannot sand off any excess without harming other parts of the laminate once the repaired product dries. So, you’ll need to fill each area carefully and slowly and make sure you don’t overfill. You want to make the defect blend into your current countertop

If your countertop has stains on it, you can easily remove those stains using a paste made from half baking soda and half water. Once you’ve made the paste, place it on the stains and let it sit for several hours. Don’t rub the baking soda paste into your countertop. When you are done, wipe it off with a paper towel. If that doesn’t work, you can use acetone or nail polish remover on those more stubborn stains.

If you’ve tried these ideas and your countertop still doesn’t look great, then think about painting your laminate countertop before replacing it if you are on a tight budget. We’ll cover how you can transform your laminate countertop with some paint and effort below.

Painting Your Countertop

You can create a faux granite look by using some sponges and dabbing your countertop with paint laminate. The entire process should cost you a little less than $150-$200, depending on the size of your countertop.

  • First, clean your countertops with soap and water.
  • Next, wipe your countertop down with denatured alcohol. Then, avoid touching the countertop again.
  • Look for any old caulk and remove it from the seams.
  • Next, use a repair pen or kit to repair the chips and large cracks in your countertop. Let the putty dry.
  • Apply painter’s tape to everything you don’t want to paint.
  • Use 100-grit sandpaper to de-gloss your countertop. Then, wipe up the residue.
  • Apply a primer and let it dry for several hours.

If you want to give your countertops a granite look, you’ll need to pick out three different shades of paint and work from light to dark, or dark to light, when you apply the coats. Your first coat will be the base, and it will have to cover the entire countertop area.

ROI on New Kitchen Countertops

You might be wondering about the return on investment (ROI) that you’ll get out of replacing your kitchen countertops. While it’s impossible to provide a precise number because that answer depends a lot upon your kitchen and the countertop you choose, most people that decide to replace their kitchen countertops get a lot of personal enjoyment and use out of them.

So, if you want to replace your kitchen countertops because you want to enjoy them for a bit before you sell your home, whether you lose money on them or not, we understand. Below we’ll talk a little bit about the ROI you can experience when you install a new kitchen countertop, including personal enjoyment and resale value

#1: ROI on Personal Enjoyment

Since ROI isn’t all about money to everybody, let’s consider the ROI on personal enjoyment if you decide to install new countertops. Typically, most families spend a decent amount of time in their kitchens eating together, doing the cleaning, talking before, after, and during meals, and entertaining guests.

So, if you enjoy cooking, cleaning, having people over for dinner and lunch, then adding new countertops to your home could be an immense uplift for you, which is something we’d encourage. That’s especially true if your old countertops are outdated, ugly, or falling apart.

#3 ROI on Resale Value

Buyers typically gravitate toward homes that have kitchens they like, mostly because they don’t want to have to spend a lot of money and time remodeling their kitchens.

Adding new kitchen countertops can make your entire kitchen look fresher and more modern. Also, if you update some other inexpensive items like paint, decorations, and window treatments, you can make your kitchen look like it’s been remodeled without spending ample amounts of money on your kitchen.

So, now that you understand the different returns on your investment that you can get out of new countertops, we’ll now move on to discuss how much different types of countertops cost. That way, you can decide on the materials you’d like and figure out if the cost is worth the benefits you’re likely to receive when you replace your new kitchen countertop.

The Cost of Countertop Materials

After you figure out whether or not replacing your kitchen countertops will be worth it for you in the long run, you’ll next need to think about the type of material you want to use for your new kitchen countertops. You’ll need to think about your budget and what kinds of faucets and sinks you’d like to use. These all cost money but you could possibly use your existing sinks and faucets. I recommend only reusing your exiting sinks and faucets if they are in good shape. For sinks, I recommend going with an undermount if you opted for natural stone or quartz countertops.

By understanding how much the different materials for countertops will cost, you’ll be able to figure out the elements that will work best for you. Below we’ll cover the cost of some different countertop materials so that you can figure out the type of material that will be right for you and your family.

Determining Countertop Cost

You can figure out how much your countertop will cost once you know the price of the material and the amount of content you’ll need to use to cover your new countertops. You can find some lovely kitchen countertop material choices for as low as $15 per square foot, and some for as much as $200 per square foot. To help you figure out how much each type of countertop costs, we’ll cover information on them in more detail below.

Since there are so many materials out there that you can use to replace your old countertops, we decided we’d focus on the elements that would give you the best resale value possible if you are planning on selling your home soon. While you probably won’t get the full amount of your investment back after you replace your countertop, you will get use and enjoyment out of it, and you’ll also be able to sell your home faster and easier when the time comes. Most homebuyers love a great kitchen countertop in a home they are purchasing.

So, all of the below materials should help you break close to even or not cost you too much money in the long run if you are trying to sell your home.

#1 Marble Countertops

Marble is a very luxurious material to use, but it’s a bit of a pain to deal with in the long run. If you are up to the challenge of pampering your marble countertop, then you’ll be able to have a nice-looking countertop for decades. However, you will need to pay close attention to the manufacturer’s guidelines about sealing, daily care, use, and cleaning. If you tend to use your countertops often or you have young children, then these countertops aren’t typically recommended for you.

Marble countertops typically cost anywhere from $75-$250 per square foot. Marble has a high maintenance cost as well. Some marble options can be in the low $50 range.

If you want to save money on your marble countertops, then consider installing marble tile instead of a slab. That way, you’ll be able to select from more affordable options and shades of marble. And don’t worry, it won’t make your marble countertop any less attractive. Remember that you’ll need to take good care of these countertops, and you’ll save money over time.

#2 Granite Countertops

Not surprisingly, the high maintenance and costs of marble scare away a lot of homeowners. If you feel that way about marble, then don’t worry. There are still plenty of other luxury material options, including granite. Granite is far more popular than marble because less maintenance is required, and granite countertops are traditionally gorgeous. Also, because granite has become so popular recently, it now costs less to install granite countertops, primarily if you use granite tile.

If you can follow the care and maintenance guidelines that come with your granite countertops, you’ll be able to make these countertops last forever. Check out the granite vs quartz article to learn more about maintenance for granite vs quartz Considering that, granite traditionally costs less than marble, running about $30-$200 per square foot. Granite does require some care and maintenance, but it’s far less than what’s needed for a marble countertop.

If you are looking for a way to save some money on your granite countertops, then consider installing tiles instead of slabs. If you do want slabs, you’ll need to pick a more common color of granite, but that won’t make your countertops any less beautiful. We also recommend installing a wood edge on your granite countertop so that you have protection against costly chips.

#3 Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are also sometimes called engineered stone. Regardless of what you call it, this material is lovely. With quartz, you’ll get a better variety of colors than granite could offer. Also, quartz holds up better than granite does under certain conditions. However, it’s not quite as pretty as granite by comparison. Still, since this is an engineered product, you can add pigment when you see fit to get a bevy of additional colors, something you could never do with granite.

Unlike natural stone, when you add pigment to quarts, the color looks more consistent than varied. However, you will get a very durable product because the polymer and resin binders combine with the 90% quartz in the product to make a non-porous, durable countertop. Quartz countertops cost anywhere from $45 to $155 per square foot and also doesn’t require much maintenance.

If you want to go with quartz and you are looking to save a bit of money on your countertops, consider getting quartz tiles. Quartz tiles cost much less than quartz slabs. However, with quartz, you might wind up offsetting your savings because quartz tile can take longer to install, and that can increase the price of the labor. However, if you are doing it yourself, you’ll be able to save a lot of money this way.

#4 Concrete Countertops

If you’ve never heard of concrete countertops before, then this might sound a bit funny to you. However, we aren’t talking about the concrete they use for sidewalks, although there are some similarities to that. With a concrete countertop, you’ll get a trendy, stylish countertop look that’s eye candy for any kitchen. These countertops aren’t cheap, however, and typically cost about $75-$125 per square foot.

If you decide to go with a concrete countertop, you won’t wind up with a slab of sidewalk on your countertop, so don’t worry. You’ll get something that’s quite pretty because you can get the surface stamped, acid-stained, or polished to create a bevy of different styles and designs. Also, concrete countertops are durable, attractive, and fully customizable, which gives them a huge benefit when compared to natural stone countertops.

If you do opt for concrete countertops, your countertops will still require a bit of maintenance. However, you can save some money on your concrete countertop by using a more straightforward design with rectangular sections and straight lines. That should help you cut down costs and make the installation of the project easier overall, too.

#5 Stainless Steel Countertops

Stainless-steel seems to waver as a popular material for homeowners, but many who love to cook often in their homes want something durable and sturdy that is easy to clean and able to handle their long cooking schedules. If that sounds like you, then you might want to consider stainless steel. Stainless-steel countertops cost between $80 to $225 per square foot and are very easy to maintain.

If you are considering installing stainless steel countertops and you need a budget-friendly option, remember that stainless-steel comes in several different thicknesses, finishes, and coating options. Unless you cook for long hours every day, you can get a cheap quality stainless-steel countertop, and you won’t need to worry about much maintenance.

#6 Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface countertops are usually comprised out of sturdy acrylic, which helps make these innovative and long-lasting countertops. Two of the best brands that make solid surface countertops include Corian and Swanstone. Those two manufacturers also offer the most pattern and style options out there. Many of their patterns are made to look like granite or marble.

So, you can use a solid surface countertop if you want an alternative to something more expensive that requires less maintenance.

Solid surface countertops cost about $35-$85 per square foot and are much easier to maintain than either granite or marble. However, you can still get the look of granite or marble for cheaper, and wind up with a material that requires less maintenance and lasts longer.

If you are looking to save money on your solid surface countertop, then consider using standard grades of the materials rather than opting for premium ones. That way, you can save a bit of money and bring down your overall price. Also, you should shop around and get many estimates from different contractors if you are an option for a solid surface countertop. That way, you’ll be able to get the best price on your installation.

#7 Wood or Butcher Block Countertops

If you are the type of person who loves cooking and you tend to spend hours upon hours making gourmet meals in your kitchen, then you might enjoy some wood or a butcherblock for your countertop. Many people that love working in the kitchen enjoy having wood and butcher block countertops. New wood options keep coming out, providing you unique opportunities in butcher block countertops yearly. That also means there is some variety in the price.

Wood countertops or butcher block countertops typically cost anywhere from $55 to $200 per square foot. The maintenance cost of these butcher block countertops is generally high, so you shouldn’t get this type of countertop if you are lazy or you want something low-maintenance.

If you are shopping for this type of countertop on a budget and you want to save a bit of money, then you should consider selecting from one of the more affordable wood or butcher block products out there. This path might work well for you if you don’t want to live in your house for longer than ten years. You can also purchase pre-fab butcher block counters and install them easily yourself.

#8 Tile Countertops

Tile countertops have a bevy of price and style options. Tile countertops can vary widely in price, so it depends on the size, shape, and quality of the tile you are purchasing when figuring out the price. You may wind up with an expensive tile countertop, or a cheaper one. However, tile countertops give you a bevy of options when it comes to customization. Even better, tile is durable, resists heat well, and doesn’t require much maintenance, either.

Tile countertops typically cost between $18-$35 per square foot. The more elaborate your design, the more your price will increase. Also, tile countertops are great for people that don’t want to do a lot of maintenance to their countertops. If you are shopping for a tile countertop on a budget and trying to save money, consider getting larger, individual tiles because they take less time to install and can cut back on your installation costs by quite a bit.

Also, if you avoid intricate designs on your tile countertop, you’ll wind up saving even more money.

#9 Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops are the most affordable types of materials around, and you can select your countertop from a bevy of colors and styles. Many laminate countertops can be designed to look like granite, marble, and other expensive materials. However, you’ll wind up spending a lot less, and you’ll have a lot less maintenance if you opt for a laminate countertop.

Laminate countertops typically cost between $15 to $40 per square foot. You can save money on your laminate countertops by finding stock and special-order countertops if you ask for them at your local home improvement store. You can also install these DIY pretty easily. If you hire a handyman, it shouldn’t cost you too much to install this countertop.

Final Thoughts

The above material options in countertops are all excellent choices if you are trying to sell your home. While you still may not get your monetary investment back if you replace your countertops and sell your home, you should get something relatively close. Also, besides the monetary value, you’ll get out of your new countertops, you’ll get some personal enjoyment and great functionality. Many people report enjoying more time in their kitchens after they replace their countertops.

So, if replacing your countertop will have any positive effect on you, your family, or the possible sale of your home, then it might be time to consider that new countertop!

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About Jon - Website Owner

Jon Smith

Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith. I have been in the granite business for many years and have worked my way up from an installer helper to an installer and then a countertop business owner. 

I started my countertop company with very little and grew extremely fast because of my knowledge and helpfulness. I started this countertop resource for 1 main reason. That reason is that there are no countertop websites with all the correct information and none of them are from an industry expert like myself. 

I am still in the trade every single day installing countertops, educating people on the type of material they are using for their homes, and making people's dream kitchens a reality.

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