When it comes to choosing countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, two popular options are solid surface and quartz. Many homeowners find themselves trying to decide between these two materials and an important factor is often cost. Here is an in-depth look at how solid surface and quartz counters compare in terms of price.
Solid Surface Countertops Overview
Solid surface is a man-made material that consists of acrylic resin, minerals, and pigments. Popular brands of solid surface include Corian, Gibraltar, Avonite, and Formica. Some key features of solid surface:
- Seamless appearance – sheets can be bonded together to create a continuous look.
- Easy to clean – non-porous surface resists stains.
- Repairable – minor damages can be sanded down and concealed.
- Customizable – material can be molded into integrated sinks and other unique designs.
- Limited colors/patterns – though more options have become available.
- Prone to cuts and scratches – needs frequent re-sanding and re-polishing.
Quartz Countertops Overview
Quartz counters are engineered stone made from quartz particles bound together with resin. Well-known brands include Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone. Some characteristics of quartz:
- Appearance of natural stone without the maintenance.
- Resists scratches, stains, heat.
- Wide range of colors and patterns.
- Seams are more visible between slabs.
- Cannot be repaired – damaged areas need replacement.
- Non-porous and hygienic.
In general, quartz countertops tend to be more expensive than solid surface. Here is a breakdown of average costs:
- Solid surface counters range from $50 – $100 per square foot installed.
- Quartz counters range from $80 – $150 per square foot installed.
However, there are factors that can bring the costs closer together or further apart:
The material cost for a mid-range quartz is $50-70 per square foot while solid surface slabs run $20-50 per square foot. High-end designer quartz can be over $100 per square foot.
Color and Style
Plainer solid surface colors like white or black are cheaper. Unique quartz patterns and bold colors cost more.
Simple countertop shapes and small kitchens mean faster fabrication and lower project costs for either material.
- Solid surface requires expert seam work for an invisible look, adding labor costs.
- Quartz is primarily installed in straight slabs so less labor intensive.
Higher-end brands of both solid surface and quartz run on the pricier end. Value brands help lower material costs.
Standard thickness is 3/4″ for quartz and 1/2″ for solid surface. Increasing to 1-1/4″ thick quartz significantly increases cost.
Adding a backsplash is one way to reduce quartz costs closer to solid surface since less material is required.
Area Labor Costs
Installation costs vary greatly by geographic region. Prices in New York City or San Francisco will be higher than midwestern towns.
Are Solid Surface Countertops Cheaper Than Quartz?
While there is some overlap in price ranges, on average, solid surface countertops are cheaper than quartz. Exact costs will depend on your specific project requirements. If budget is a primary concern, solid surface allows more flexibility to reduce the price. Quartz is generally the more premium option that comes with a higher price tag but also some added benefits. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each material based on your priorities. With some smart design decisions, it may be possible to get the look of quartz that you love for a cost comparable to solid surface.
FAQ About Solid Surface vs Quartz Costs
Is solid surface cheaper than quartz?
Yes, solid surface generally costs less than quartz for most kitchen countertop projects. Solid surface runs $50-100 per square foot installed while quartz often starts around $100 per square foot.
Why is quartz more expensive than solid surface?
Quartz is pricier due to the higher cost of raw materials and fabrication. The main component of quartz is natural stone which has a higher intrinsic value than man-made solid surface acrylic resin. Quartz is also harder than solid surface so cutting and installing it requires more effort.
What is the most affordable countertop option?
Laminate is the most affordable countertop choice at around $20-50 installed. But laminate is lower quality and not very durable. Of solid surface and quartz, solid surface provides the most budget-friendly option.
Can you get quartz countertops on a budget?
There are a few ways to reduce the cost of quartz closer to solid surface prices: Go with a simpler white or light-colored quartz rather than bold patterns which cost more. Select a smaller thickness like 3/4″. Keep your design simple – less cutting and seaming lowers fabrication fees.
Is it worth paying more for quartz over solid surface?
Quartz is harder, more scratch-resistant, and needs less maintenance than solid surface, so many feel the higher cost is justified. Visible seams with quartz are minimized. But solid surface allows for more custom designs like integrated sinks. Decide what features matter most to you before choosing a material.
Key Takeaways: Solid Surface vs Quartz Costs
- Solid surface counters range from $50-$100 per square foot installed.
- Quartz counters typically run from $80-$150 installed.
- Quotes for both depend on factors like color, thickness, fabrication, and region.
- Simple design and budget brands help lower prices of either material.
- Solid surface is generally the more economical option.
- Quartz comes with added perks like more durability but costs more.
- Focus on priorities like price, looks, and maintenance when choosing between the two materials.