Understanding Your Countertop Quote

Date: September 12, 2020
Author: Jon Smith
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Are you shopping for countertops for your remodel project or new build? Are you having trouble understanding your countertop quote? Don’t worry; we have you covered. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about countertop quotes.

First things first, you should always get a countertop quote from a few different countertop specialists. Getting multiple quotes will ensure you are getting a fair price for the installation. However, the cheapest quote may not be the best quote. An extremely low quote may look like it will save you money; however, in the end, it could cost you a lot more than other quotes.

Low ball countertop quotes may use inferior materials and basic edge profiles. Furthermore, you should beware of significantly cheaper countertop quotes because the craftsmanship of the installation can be shoddy.

Why Detailed Information is Needed

In order to get an accurate quote, the countertop specialist will need to come to your house and take measurements. The countertop specialist will create a detailed diagram that will include the length and width of your cabinetry/countertops, all window, door, and wall locations, the location of your sink, the location of your appliances (range, dishwasher, refrigerator, etc.), the size of any overhangs, appliance garages, and backsplashes. All angled cuts, curved arcs, radius corners, and seam location preferences will also be drawn on the diagram.

The diagram helps ensure that the countertop fabricator has the information needed to fabricate your countertops. The more detailed the drawing, the more accurate the countertops will be for installation.  For example, seams are typically placed in corners. Seams are used as pressure relief joints, which allow the countertop to expand and contract without shifting. Seams should never be placed around sinks, cooktops, or dishwashers as they can weaken the joint.

The standard size of a slab of natural stone countertop material is 9 feet by 5 feet. The standard depth of cabinets is 24 inches with a 1 ¾ inch overlap, which allows the installer to split the slab in half, thus creating two 9 foot long pieces of countertops.

Calculating the Total Square Footage of Countertops

To determine the square footage of countertops needed for the job, the countertop specialist will need the measurements listed above along with the height of the backsplash wanted. The standard height of a backsplash is 4 inches. A backsplash is much more fragile than a piece of countertop due to the height; therefore, a backsplash must be restricted to no longer than 80 inches to reduce the risk of breakage.

If the homeowner prefers a full height backsplash, the height of the backsplash will be approximately 18 inches. However, the countertop specialist will measure from the countertop to the bottom of the upper cabinetry.

The total square footage requires for the countertop is determined by multiplying the length of the countertop and/or backsplash by the width of the countertops and then dividing by 144. To determine the total square footage, you will add the square footage of the countertops and the square footage of the backsplash. The quote will round the square footage up to ensure there is enough countertop material to finish the job.

Calculating the Cost of Materials

For example, if the total square footage is 57.63 square feet, the price calculation will use 58 square feet. If the cost of the countertop is $50 per square feet, the total cost of the countertop material would be $2,900. This price covers the basic fabrication and installation charges; however, it does not include customization charges, such as cutouts, radius corners, and edgework.

Calculating the Cost of the Edge Profile

Most installers offer two or three free edge profiles. If you decide to opt for a different edge profile, the quote will include an edge profile charge. Countertop specialists price edge profiles by the linear foot. In this example, let’s assume that the cost of Ogee is $12 per linear foot. If there are 22 linear feet of countertop, then the cost for the edge profile would be $12 x 22 linear feet for a total of $264. This would be added to the cost of the material ($2,900 + $264 = $3164).

Calculating Miscellaneous Costs

Most countertop installers allow one cutout as a part of the basic install. If additional cutouts are needed, the quote will include them in the miscellaneous charges area of the quote.

The cost of this will vary from installer to installer. In this example, we are going to assume that each additional cutout is $250. Radius cuts are also not included in the standard installation fees.

Let’s assume that the charge for radius cuts are $25 each and your kitchen or bath requires two, it will add an additional $50 in miscellaneous costs. Using these examples, you can calculate the total miscellaneous costs at $300.

Typically a sink cutout of $300 will include a standard undermount sink.

The Total Cost of Your Countertop Quote

The total cost of your countertop quote includes the cost of your materials, the cost of your edge profile, and any miscellaneous costs. In this example, the total cost of your countertop quote would be:

$2,900 (material) + $264 (edge profile) + $300 (miscellaneous costs) = $3.464.

Miscellaneous costs can include, sinks, dishwasher mounting brackets, braces, and extra holes.

What Things Affect the Cost of a Countertop Quote?

There are several things that can impact the cost of your new countertops. First, there are numerous types of countertop materials on the market. In addition to this, the rarity of the countertop material can impact the overall cost of your countertop quote.

Many people are surprised to find out that different edge profiles can affect the cost of their countertops. Typically, the countertop quote will include a standard edge profile like ¼ beveled, square, and eased. Other edge profiles, including Ogee, Dupont, and Triple Pencil, will increase the cost of your countertop installation.

The amount of material required, and the number of cutouts needed will impact the overall cost of your countertop installation. For example, if your kitchen or bathroom has a long run of cabinetry, the countertop installation specialist will need to butt two pieces of stone together and join them together. This technique requires skill and takes time, which can increase the overall cost of your countertop quote.

How to Minimize the Cost of Your Countertop Quote

If you want to keep your countertop quote affordable, opt for a standard edge rather than a premium edge. Don’t worry, there are many beautiful, yet affordable edges available. You will not need to sacrifice appearance to save money.

Choose a common color to help keep your costs down. Talk with your countertop specialist and ask which countertop options are the most affordable. Typically, the most affordable countertops will be neutral colored, such as brown, white, cream, or gray.

Reduce the number of cutouts and angles in the kitchen or bathroom. Undermount sinks, multi-level islands, and angles in the kitchen all increase the cost of a countertop installation. Decreasing the number of angles and cutouts will reduce the price of your countertop quote.

Questions to Ask

Savvy homeowners understand that there are specific questions that must be answered to ensure they are getting exactly what they are expecting. Let’s take a look at some questions you should ask prior to signing a contract or an agreement with a countertop specialist.

The Thickness of the Stone

Stone countertops come in both 2 centimeters (3/4 inch) and 3 centimeters (1 ¼ inch) thicknesses. The thinner thickness is less expensive; however, countertop installation companies recommend choosing thicker stone countertops because they are more durable and provide better aesthetics in the kitchen or bathroom.

Choosing a Stone Slab

When it comes to choosing a stone countertop, one of the things many people do not consider is whether they have the ability to select the countertop slab that will be used in their home. Choosing your own countertop allows you to look at the full slab to ensure that the pattern continues across the entire slab. Many stone suppliers and home improvement outlets require you to choose a countertop based on a small sample. Unfortunately, the look of the stone can vary greatly from slab to slab, and even from side to side of the slab, which is why you should view and choose your countertop slab.

Countertop Sealing

Stone countertops require sealing to help reduce the risk of staining. Some stone countertop installers include sealing in the cost of the installation while others charge extra for this service. Many of today’s high quality sealers provide stain protection for up to 15 years. A stone countertop installer has the knowledge and experience to ensure your stone countertops have been properly sealed; therefore, it is recommended that you have your countertops sealed by a professional.

In Summary

Many homeowners call several stone countertop installation companies and choose an installer based on the cost of the countertop quote; however, there are several things that may not be included in the quote, such as the cost of an edge profile upgrade, miscellaneous expenses, and whether the installer seals the countertop.

Understanding a countertop quote and knowing what to look for can help you determine the best installer for your countertop installation. In addition to the information included above, it is always a good idea to check out a company. Ask for examples of their work and references from previous clients. Visit the Better Business Bureau’s website to see the company’s rating and how any complaints are handled. Finally, scour the internet to read reviews on sites like Yelp to find out more information about the company.

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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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