Concrete and quartz are two popular choices for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Many homeowners wonder whether concrete counters cost more than quartz. Here is a detailed comparison of concrete vs. quartz countertop costs.
When choosing new countertops, cost is often a primary factor. Concrete and quartz each have unique advantages that make them desirable options. Understanding how much you can expect to pay for each material will help inform your decision.
While quartz counters are known for being affordable, advances in concrete manufacturing have brought down costs. On average, quartz and concrete counters now have similar price ranges. However, many specifics impact the final price tag.
Below we’ll look in-depth at:
- Average cost for concrete countertops
- Average cost for quartz countertops
- Cost factors to consider
- Concrete vs quartz price comparison
- Pros and cons of each material
After reading this guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of concrete and quartz pricing. You’ll be equipped to choose the best option for your kitchen or bath within your budget.
Average Cost of Concrete Countertops
Concrete counters have an average installed cost of $80-$150 per square foot. However, pricing can range from as low as $50 up to $300 per square foot depending on numerous factors.
Here is a breakdown of what impacts the total cost of concrete countertops:
- Base material cost – The cement, aggregate, admixtures, and fibers that make up a concrete slab cost $12-$20 per square foot. Complex mixes with specialty aggregates, colors, or reinforcements run higher.
- Molding method – Counters cast in reusable melamine molds average $50-$100 per square foot. Custom concrete cast in handmade wooden molds costs $100-$200 per square foot.
- Casting vs precast – Cast in place counters are typically 10-15% less expensive than precast slabs. However, installation labor for precast is faster.
- Edge profile – Simple eased or beveled edges add little cost. Built-up thick edges and decorative treatments like inlays or metal accents increase the price.
- Patterns and textures – Stamped, polished, or stained finishes range from $15-$30 per square foot. Intricate designs can be much higher.
- Color – Basic concrete gray is the most affordable option. Integral pigments average $3-$8 per square foot. Specialty reactive stains cost $10-$15 per square foot.
- Location – Material and labor rates vary regionally. Urban areas are generally most expensive.
- Fabricator expertise – Highly skilled artisans command higher pricing for their work.
With so many variables, it’s impossible to give an exact cost estimate without assessing the specifics of your project. Be sure to get an itemized quote accounting for all desired features.
Average Cost of Quartz Countertops
Quartz counters range from $70-$150 installed per square foot on average. Entry-level options start around $50 per square foot, while high-end designer brands can be over $200.
Here are the main factors affecting quartz countertop pricing:
- Brand – Budget-friendly brands like Caesarstone start at $70 per square foot installed. Luxury designers like Cambria and Silestone range from $115-$200 installed.
- Pattern – Simple solid color slabs are most affordable. Stone-look patterns, bold designs, and unique finishes add cost.
- Edge details – A standard eased or pencil-round edge is typically included. Built-up edges like ogee, bevel, or dupont add $10-$20 per linear foot.
- Thickness – Most quartz is 3/4″ thick. 1 1/4″ or 2″ thick slabs for greater durability increase cost 20-30%.
- Fabrication – Simple cutouts for sinks cost little. Intricate edge profiles, backsplashes, or special features add fabrication time and expense.
- Local market – Material and labor rates vary by region. Countertop installers in high-demand urban locales charge premium rates.
With quartz, brand is by far the largest cost determinant. Be sure to price shop options at different tiers to find the best value for your budget.
Cost Comparison: Concrete vs Quartz Countertops
Due to the many cost variables, concrete and quartz have significant overlap in price:
- Entry-level – At the low end, basic quartz starts around $50 per square foot. Simple concrete with a melamine mold and eased edge can also hit $50.
- Median price – The middle of the market, most quartz counters range from $80-$120 per square foot. Typical concrete prices are similar from $80-$150 per square foot.
- High-end – Designer quartz can surpass $200 per square foot. Artisan concrete with intricate molds and detailing will also reach $200+.
The takeaway is that there is no clear winner on cost alone. Much depends on the specific products and fabrication details chosen.
However, quartz does have more lower-cost options. Budget quartz can meet as low as $50 per square foot installed. It is rare to find concrete counters priced below $70-$80 per square foot.
Factors to Consider Beyond Initial Price
While upfront cost is critical, several other factors affect the long-term value of your investment. Be sure to consider:
Maintenance – Concrete requires yearly sealing to prevent stains and etching. Quartz is nearly maintenance-free, only needing occasional cleaning.
Durability – Quartz is harder and more resistant to impact damage. Concrete can chip or crack if subjects to heavy impact.
Heat tolerance – Quartz endures heat well, only potentially showing signs of scorching over 300°F. Concrete can form hairline cracks under hot pans.
Longevity – With proper care, both concrete and quartz easily last 15-25 years. Neither material shows much sign of wear over time.
Resale value – Concrete offers unique customization that buyers appreciate. However, quartz has broader appeal for its low maintenance reputation.
Sustainability – Concrete counters use natural materials and can be recycled. But some quartz contains high levels of recycled content.
Analyzing these additional aspects will help you choose the best countertop for your home and lifestyle.
Pros and Cons of Concrete Countertops
- Highly customizable aesthetic
- Stains, textures, inlays offered
- Can be cast onsite to fit any space
- Durable and heat resistant
- Eco-friendly natural material
- Porous and needs yearly sealing
- Prone to impact damage and cracking
- Challenging do-it-yourself installation
- Needs gentle cleaning with non-acidic products
- Can develop hairline cracks over time
Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops
- Consistent low maintenance
- Nearly impervious to stains and etching
- Heat, scratch, and impact resistant
- Pre-fabricated for easy installation
- Some brands offer recycled content
- Limited to standard slab sizes and shapes
- Fewer aesthetic options than concrete
- Can scorch at extreme heat over 300°F
- Not fully heatproof for hot pots
- Less customization available
Bottom Line: Are Concrete Countertops More Expensive Than Quartz?
While there is overlap in pricing, the short answer is no – properly fabricated concrete counters are not clearly more expensive than quartz when all cost factors are equivalent.
Median prices for both materials in the $80-$150 range installed. What matters most is choosing a quality fabricator suited to your budget.
The main differences come down to concrete offering more customization, while quartz provides lower maintenance. Assess your priorities and project aesthetics to decide which material fits your countertop needs.
With smart shopping, high value options exist in concrete and quartz for every price point. Consult countertop installation pros early on to receive competitive bids that meet your budget.