No matter where you live, kitchen counters see a great deal of wear and tear. It’s only a matter of time before they must be refurbished or replaced. While even experienced remodelers have been known to shy away from countertop installation, we can think of at least two reasons to try turning this into a do-it-yourself project: money savings and one-of-a-kind results.
This guide is the first step to designing and installing a luxurious and expensive-looking kitchen for less. We’ll explore all the popular options for cheap kitchen and bathroom countertops. Looking for kitchen renovation Melbourne? Look no further? Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Update Your Kitchen With Inexpensive Countertops
This is possibly the least expensive way to cover up old countertops, especially old wood or linoleum countertops. It’s very easy to paint your countertops yourself. Just sand, prime and then paint.
You can use a pad sander, but sanding by hand will work just fine. Avoid sandpaper with a rough grit; choose a medium to fine grit. You just want to lightly scuff up the surface so the primer and paint will adhere; not leave deep scratches that will show through your newly painted surface.
To avoid brush marks in your surface, use spray paint and sealer (remove countertops first, or thoroughly protect non-sprayed surfaces with plastic and painter’s tape) or a dense sponge roller to apply primer and paint. Afterwards, be sure to seal your paint with three to four coats of polyurethane to protect the finish.
There are several countertop paints on the market, but unless you would prefer a specialty finish, any quality semi-gloss or gloss paint should work just fine.
It is relatively easy to cover up your countertops with different materials such as wood veneer, fabric or metal. For example, you can fashion a laundry room countertop from an inexpensive wood door along with three yards of fabric and a couple of quarts of Modge Podge.
If you choose to recover your counters in fabric or paper (yes, paper can also be used), our video can help you understand how to decoupage. Use a 6-inch dense foam roller instead of a brush and cover the completed surface with several coats of polyurethane sealer.
Most any fabric or paper will work—wash the fabric first to preshrink and remove the sizing—but PaperIllusions has been used to give a faux marble look to countertops with great success.
Tile can also be laid directly on top of most existing countertops, as well as layers of concrete or other malleable surfaces such as wood veneers or thin sheets of metal.
Painting or Decals for Tile Countertops
Painting tile is tedious work, and a successful finish is hard to achieve or impossible without a lot of careful prep work. However, if you are financially strapped and don’t mind a lot of sweat equity, painting your tile is an option.
Another option for updating tile is the aptly named “Tile Tattoos” by Milo. These tile tattoos, or decals, are touted as being completely waterproof and are available in a variety of styles. These products will not completely cover outdated or ugly tile but may be used to enhance or add flair to the existing tile. Check out our range of kitchen renovation at Hitch Property Constructions.
Outdated countertops can be refashioned with just about everything—from a “found” object mosaic to a layer of copper pennies. In regards to countertop ideas, almost anything goes. You’ll want to keep a few key things in mind when updating or refurbishing an existing countertop. Ask yourself these questions: Will my chosen finish be able to withstand daily use? If in the kitchen, can it withstand heat? Is it waterproof? If so, you can do it.
Inexpensive Countertop Options
Finding a beautiful, inexpensive option comes down to your choice of countertop material which can range from $20 to $200 per square foot. Labour costs of $35 to $100 per hour for installation remain constant across all types of materials.
- Best budget options: tile and any type of laminate.
- Best DIY options: Any type of tile or wood. Some experienced DIYer’s can also attempt laminates.
- Environmentally responsible choices: Wood or recycled counters made with materials like paper, glass or aluminium combined with resin.
Cheap Kitchen Countertop Ideas
Are you looking to update or remodel your kitchen on a budget? There are dozens of ways to get that granite or marble look while leaving a little leftover to redo your kitchen cabinets, floors or update your appliances.
Ceramic and Stone Tile
Ceramic or porcelain tile costs $5 to $30 per square foot, while natural stone tiles tend to double the price. Tile counters even beat laminate for price and look.
It allows the most creativity for artistic expression in the kitchen.
Makes the best cheap solution for a DIYer.
- Requires regular maintenance and sealing.
- Hard to clean unless you add a layer of epoxy.
- Very cheap materials but requires the most time to install. If you’re going with a professional installation, consider laminates instead.
Inexpensive Laminate Counters
Laminate counters have always been the inexpensive route to updating your kitchen. Entry-level laminate countertops cost around $25 per square foot.
While they won’t win any design awards, they’ll still update your kitchens look. Upgraded options, like Formica’s 180fx line, come in stone, marble and wood grains for a comparable look of stone or wood at a fraction of the price.
Cheap Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops cost $50 to $150 per square foot. Different brands will vary in price; for instance, Cambria and Corian may differ from Silestone quartz counters cost of $1,500 to $5,000 to install.
On par with granite for cost, it’s still a much cheaper option for those looking for a marble or slate look for half the price. Unlike granite, it’s incredibly durable and requires no sealing.
Cheap Solid Stone Counters & Alternatives
Granite countertops cost and solid stone, like Soapstone, Slate, Granite and Marble, costs anywhere from $40 to $200 per square foot. Stone has always been the most expensive and luxurious option. With a little patience and research, you can find some cheap slabs. Hitch Property Constructions has an extensive range of kitchen renovation Melbourne to take the hassle out of deciding the right furniture that matches.
Tips for finding cheap options:
- Look for overstocked or oversized chipped slabs.
- Settle for a slightly off-colour or plainer option to stay on the low end.
- Big box stores, countertop specialty shops and even some online retailers offer discounts and closeouts.
- A professional installer can easily reshape these unwanted parts to fit your kitchen or bath.
Cheap alternatives to natural stone slabs include:
- Engineered stone. They’re often more durable and require less maintenance.
- Stone tile comes in a wide range of varieties and makes excellent DIY projects. They’re the most economical choice but require regular maintenance.
Corian countertops cost $35 to $65 per square foot. Solid surface countertops cost $2,000 to $4,500 with installation. After the patent on Corian solid surface counters expired, multiple competitors have entered the market, driving prices down.
Epoxy and Affordable Custom Counter Ideas
On par with tile and laminate, covering your existing counters with a coloured epoxy for $3 to $10 per square foot gives you a vast array of artistic options. It can mimic stone or any solid surface. You also have the option to go ultra-modern or add a metallic finish.
- Epoxy Kits: $500 for DIY application.
DIY Warning: While it is easy to install, it’s equally easy to make a mistake. Sanding off and redoing epoxy professionally costs nearly twice as much as simply hiring a professional initially.
Recycled Paper, Glass and Aluminum
Recycled options range from aluminium, glass and even paper mixed with resin for $30 to $95 per square foot. Recycled glass counters cost $2,600 to $4,200 installed.
Recycled Counters not only keeps trash from the landfill; they also cut costs. They are only slightly more expensive than laminate and much cheaper than most stone choices.
Wood counters cost from $35 to $200 per square foot due to the wide range of tree types, finishes and thicknesses. Butcher block countertops cost $1,700 to $5,000 installed. Wood requires a high level of maintenance, or simply have it professionally sealed with epoxy.
- DIY-able: Simple unfinished, premade varieties available at a big box store, for under $300 total.
- Custom Work: living edge, clear epoxy and wood combos can reach $10,000 or more.
Stainless steel counters cost an average of $95 per square foot or $4,000 to $11,250 installed. It’s one of the most expensive materials you can use. Choose stainless steel counters for cheap maintenance. Because they last the life of your home, they might just be the cheapest in the long run.
- Durable, corrosion-resistant and will last a lifetime.
- Requires no maintenance.
- Easiest surface to clean.
Concrete countertops cost $75 to $150 per square foot or $5,000 to $10,000 installed. Once of the most expensive options also gives you some of the best options for finishes.
- Multiple finishes and colours are available.
- Built-in concrete sinks for an added cost.
- Very durable with low maintenance.
Replacing Kitchen Countertop Ideas On a Budget
After you’ve decided on the designs and purchased the materials, you’ll need to get them installed. A professional installation runs $35 to $100 per hour. Cutting the install time down cuts the price by half or more.
Tips For Cutting Your Install Budget:
- Do it yourself. Wood, laminate, tile and epoxy are good choices.
- Mistakes can add up quickly and might cost more than hiring a pro. Do some of the prep yourself.
- Take out the fixtures yourself. Negotiate a price break for doing the prep and cleanup yourself.
- Hire a handyman. Find a professional handyman with experience for half the cost.
- Hire a professional. Are you ready to pay more for the mistakes you make?
- What’s the cheapest countertop?
The cheapest are tile at $5 to $30 per square foot or laminate at $25+ per square foot.
- What are the most expensive countertops?
The most expensive countertops at $40 to $200 per square foot are natural stone slabs including soapstone, slate, marble and granite
- What’s a cheap kitchen countertop alternative to granite?
The cheapest kitchen countertop alternatives to granite are quartz, granite tile or a recycled solid surface. Granite remains the most popular kitchen counter material in use today.
- What’s the most inexpensive, durable countertop?
Solid surface, like Corian, remains the cheapest and most durable available. However, for nearly the same price, consider a recycled type for more durability and eco-friendliness.
- Where can I buy a cheap counter?
You can buy premade laminates, the cheapest type, in big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes and Ikea.
- What’s the most low-cost countertop that looks expensive?
Choose a professionally installed coloured or stone design epoxy counter. They look luxurious at a fraction of the price of the stone.
- What’s the best budget kitchen island countertop?
Unfinished wood counters for $300 to $500 make the best budget kitchen island countertop while also blending into almost any type of design.
Recycled Glass Countertops
Countertops need to be tough and durable, especially in the kitchen. When you think of glass, however, tough and durable aren’t usually the first attributes that come to mind. Though it might look phenomenal, it is difficult to imagine glass as being strong enough to withstand the rigorous life of an everyday kitchen.
Strength and Sustainability
Many modern countertops are made of stone (like granite), or petroleum-based synthetic materials. Petroleum, as we are becoming ever more aware, is hardly eco-friendly. The quarrying practices used to obtain granite, and the energy it takes to move the material from one place to another makes it, to a smaller degree, a less than sustainable building material as well.
Recycled glass countertops are breaking the mould in both strength and sustainable living. By way of ingenuity and modern technology, recycled glass countertops offer a very hard surface that is not unlike stone. Plus, they’re environmentally friendly to boot!
Instead of becoming yet another piece of trash in an ever-growing landfill, some lucky bottles, mirrors, and plate glass are receiving a new incarnation in countertops that are as hard as marble. Depending on the brand, some recycled glass countertops can be made of up to 100% recycled materials!
Recycled Glass Countertop Styles
At this time, there are not as many options available that use recycled glass as there are ones that use new glass. This may change soon; as people’s concerns about the environment increase, so do the demand for products that use recycled materials.
The most popular type of recycled glass countertop is made to look like terrazzo marble. It is composed of both post-consumer glass chips and recycled concrete. There are a variety of sizes and colours of the glass chips. The cement that surrounds the glass is also available in multiple colours. It has the surface strength and feels of granite or marble. The price tag on this material is more than laminate or tile, but comparable to or less than granite and marble.
Ceramic tiles with recycled glass content are another environmentally-friendly choice. They can contain up to around 70% recycled material. They provide a scratch-proof surface that is as durable and easy to install as any other ceramic tile. This type of tile is often similar in price to that of a medium grade traditional tile, making it a good option for those on a budget.
Other Green Options
Though recycled glass countertops are not for everyone, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to be environmentally aware when remodelling your kitchen. Many recycled plastic counter coverings on the market will have a totally different look, and most likely cost less.
Some people are even making countertops out of bamboo, which grows quickly and is quite moisture resistant. In this day and age, it’s time to get creative. Using salvaged material of any kind that would otherwise be thrown away is a good idea. There are craftsmen all around the country who can turn discarded wood or metal into something beautiful enough to eat on!
One Last Tip
Counter and cabinet refurbishing is a great way to add beauty to an older kitchen, but depending upon the size of the project and the materials you’re working with, countertop and cabinet contractors may be in your home for more than just a single day. This is why it is important not only to plan your refurbishing project carefully but to understand what it takes to get along with the crew in your home, as both will have a direct effect on the project as a whole.
It is important to remember that no matter how much noise and commotion the project produces, counter and cabinet contractors are people you have invited to be in your home. Even if all the fuss is a little difficult to deal with at times, don’t forget that your crew is there to do a job that will make your house a more appealing place. If you find yourself getting perturbed, make sure to talk over a problem before you react. This will help the contractors feel acknowledged and will ultimately help both parties through the process.