Are Wood Countertops More Expensive Than Quartz?

When it comes to choosing countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, two popular options are wood and quartz. But which one costs more? There are several factors that contribute to the cost of each material. In general, wood countertops tend to be more expensive than quartz.

What Makes Wood Countertops Costly

There are a few key reasons why wood countertops come with a higher price tag:

Raw Material Costs

Wood is simply more expensive than engineered quartz. Natural wood must be harvested, milled, cured, and cut into slabs – all of which adds to the raw material costs. On the other hand, quartz is engineered from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. This makes the raw material for quartz less costly.

Labor Intensive Fabrication

Wood countertops require much more labor to fabricate and install. Each wood countertop is unique with its own distinct grain patterns and must be custom cut to size. Seams between slabs must be tightly bonded and finished. Quartz slabs are easier to cut and install using common stoneworking tools. The fabrication process for quartz is faster and requires less specialized skill.

Customization and Uniqueness

Since each piece of wood has its own one-of-a-kind look, wood countertops offer more in terms of customization options. Exotic and premium woods drive the price up even further. Quartz provides less customization since slabs come prefabricated in a limited number of colors and patterns.

Durability and Maintenance

Although quite durable, wood still requires more maintenance than quartz. Over time, wood countertops need to be oiled or sealed to prevent staining, warping, and cracking. Quartz’s non-porous surface makes it extremely stain and scratch resistant with virtually no maintenance required. The better durability and longevity of quartz translates to a higher price point.

Scarcity of Materials

Some wood types, like exotic imported hardwoods, are rare and closely controlled. Only a limited supply enters the marketplace each year, making it more valuable. Quartz counters are made from one of the most abundant minerals on earth, keeping costs lower.

Factors That Impact the Cost of Wood Countertops

Several variables impact the total installation price of wood counters. The biggest factors include:

Type of Wood

Domestic woods like maple, walnut, and cherry are generally the most affordable option. Exotic tropical imports such as teak, mahogany, and Brazilian cherry lie at the high end of the price range.

Regional species like mesquite, cypress, and alder provide a nice balance of cost and uniqueness. The rarer the wood, the more expensive it becomes.

Color Tone

Lighter colored woods tend to be cheaper since the raw material is easier to find. Darker exotic woods command a higher premium. Any extra staining or coloring during fabrication also increases costs.

Specialty Treatments

Distressing, hand-scraping, wire brushing, burning, and carving all add specialized hand labor to finish the wood. These extra treatments drive up the fabrication and installation costs.


Thicker countertop slabs (2+ inches) require more raw material and are harder to fabricate and install. This makes them more costly than traditional 1 1⁄4 inch thick counters.

Installation Needs

Simple slab installations over existing cabinets are the most affordable option. Custom cutting for unique angles, edges, inlays, and built-ins requires extra fabrication skills and costs exponentially more.

Size of the Installation

Larger total surface areas require more wood material, custom sizing, fabrication time, and expert installation. The price per square foot decreases with economy of scale, but big projects command higher total prices.

Edge Profiles

Fancy edge options like waterfall edges, bullnose corners, and custom profiles involve extra cutting precision and finishing. This adds labor and complexity that increases costs. Simple squared-off edges keep prices lower.

Sustainably Sourced Materials

Opting for woods verified for sustainably forestry and ethical harvesting can increase cost but provides environmental benefits. Non-sustainable woods are often cheaper.


Like many home improvement services, location affects labor rates. Installations in high-cost urban areas will cost more compared to rural areas with lower cost of living. Shipping costs for materials also factor in.

What Impacts the Cost of Quartz Countertops?

For quartz counters, the main factors that determine installed price include:

Color and Pattern

Quartz slabs come in a wide array of colors, from whites to blacks, along with realistic patterns that mimic granite and marble. Simple solid colors are typically the least expensive options. Dramatic swirling or heavily veined patterns cost a bit more.


3⁄4 inch thick quartz slabs are standard. Going up to 2 inch thick slabs provides more durability but also drives the price up substantially because it requires more raw materials.

Edge Styles

Decorative edges like ogee, bullnose, and chamfered add complexity requiring special cutting and shaping tools. This extra fabrication labor increases costs slightly over standard 90-degree edges.

Size of Installation

Bigger quartz installations mean higher overall costs. But due to economy of scale, the per square foot price drops as the total size increases. Small areas under 40 square feet can command premium pricing.


The top national quartz brands like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone are priced at the higher end. Lesser known regional brands offer similar stylish looks at more affordable pricing.

Premium Finishes

An anti-fingerprint coating can be added to quartz counters for easier cleaning. Though the upgrade costs more, the coating’s durability and maintenance reduction may offset the upfront price over time.


Like wood, quartz installation costs are tied to regional labor rates and material shipping expenses. Rural areas enjoy lower average costs compared to urban cities.

Repairs vs. New Slabs

Fixing chips or seams in existing quartz has a lower cost than purchasing entirely new slabs. But repairs are only viable for minor, localized damage.

Cost Comparison of Wood Species

To give an idea of price ranges, here is a comparison of various wood species and their relative installed costs:

|Wood Type|Cost per Square Foot|

The prices above assume 1 1⁄4” thickness with standard edged profiles. Exotic woods with extra thicknesses, special finishes or decorative edges would fall at the higher ends of the ranges above.

Cost Ranges for Quartz Counters

A price comparison of quartz counters by leading brands:

|Brand|Cost per Square Foot|
|IKEA (Most Affordable)|$40-60|
|Okite (Most Premium)|$250-300|

The wide range accounts for differences in pattern, thickness, and edge treatments. Simple solid white or black quartz with straight edges starts at the lower price points while heavily veined designs with decorative edges land at the top of the ranges.

Average Costs for a 10 ft x 10 ft Kitchen

To compare “real world” costs for a typical 10×10 kitchen between wood and quartz, we will assume moderately priced options:

  • For wood – red oak, 1 1⁄4” thickness, eased edge
  • For quartz – mid-range Silestone, 3⁄4” thickness, standard edge

| Countertop Type | Total Estimated Cost|
|Red Oak Wood | $2,500 – $3,000|
|Silestone Quartz|$1,500 – $2,000|

This illustrates that for an average kitchen, wood would cost $1,000+ more than quartz. The gap is less dramatic than the price per square foot estimates might indicate. The closer the size, the less impact the higher wood premium has.

Factors That Can Decrease Wood’s Cost Premium

Even though wood generally costs more than quartz, there are some cases where wood can be competitive:

  • Choosing lower cost domestic wood species like poplar or ash instead of exotics
  • Opting for slimmer 3⁄4” slab thicknesses
  • Using it only for a small area instead of full kitchen
  • Installing basic edged profiles like eased or square instead of decorative treatments
  • Simple construction without ornate edges or inlays
  • Using wood on surfaces that need less durability like islands or furniture pieces instead of heavy-use areas

Should You Choose Wood or Quartz Based on Cost?

While quartz almost always has the price advantage, cost savings should not be the only consideration. Useful questions to ask yourself when deciding between wood or quartz:

  • What visual aesthetic do you prefer – the stylish high-tech look of quartz or natural warmth of real wood? This personal style preference should guide any decision.
  • Do you require maximum durability at the sinks, stove, and prep areas? If so, quartz may work better than wood which can be prone to scratches, heat damage, and moisture issues.
  • Is this a rental property or future sale? Quartz may yield higher property value with tenants/buyers due to its reputation for indestructibility.
  • How important is customization to you? Wood provides almost endless options for unique looks compared to quartz’s inherent limits.
  • Are you comfortable properly maintaining and sealing real wood over time? Quartz requires virtually zero maintenance which is advantageous to many homeowners.
  • Which material best matches your existing cabinetry, flooring, and overall design scheme? You want your countertops to integrate into the kitchen aesthetically.
  • Can you afford the premium cost for your preferred material? Weigh your budget restraints carefully before deciding.

The best approach is to fully consider the practical pros and cons of each material beyond just initial costs. This helps ensure you select the optimal countertop for your priorities. While wood and quartz differ in maintenance needs, customization, aesthetics, and upfront pricing, either can provide years of beauty and functionality. Carefully weigh the options before committing to a new kitchen countertop installation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wood Vs. Quartz Countertops

Here are answers to some common questions that arise when choosing between wood or quartz:

Does quartz offer more styles and patterns than wood?

No, the opposite is true. Wood comes in thousands of species, grades, colors and grain patterns. Quartz has a comparatively limited range due to the engineered manufacturing process. Wood provides endless options for customization that quartz cannot match.

Is heat and scratch resistance better with quartz or wood?

Quartz wins on both fronts. Wood can be prone to burns, gouges and scrapes that permanently damage the finish. Quartz’s durability makes it virtually scratch-proof and heat resistant. Wood requires special care and maintenance to prevent damage.

Which material is more eco-friendly?

It depends on the perspective. Sustainably harvested wood is renewable and recyclable. But quartz uses high percentages of recycled content in an efficient manufacturing process. Most brands now use eco-friendly practices, so both can be green options.

Does quartz or wood add more value to a home?

In terms of ROI for resale, quartz may yield a higher payback. Its reputation for indestructibility makes quartz appealing to buyers. But exotic high-end woods can also attract interest from luxury homebuyers. Overall, quartz likely wins on adding property value.

Which material requires more maintenance?

Wood needs substantially more care, including routine oiling, sealing and refinishing to keep its luster and prevent damage over decades of use. Quartz is nearly maintenance free other than simple cleaning. This makes quartz the easier care option long-term.

The Bottom Line

When choosing a new kitchen or bath countertop, both natural wood and engineered quartz are excellent options that provide beauty and functionality. But based strictly on upfront costs, quartz generally offers more competitive pricing on average. Due to higher material expenses and extensive fabrication labor, most types of wood cost $25-50+ more per square foot compared to midrange quartz options. Exotic woods can cost 2-3 times the price of solid surface quartz.

However, cost shouldn’t necessarily be the determining factor. Personal style preferences, maintenance expectations, and customization needs may make wood the ideal choice despite higher prices. By understanding the cost structure of each material, you can make the best selection within your budget constraints. With proper care, both natural wood and quartz can provide many years of cruising good looks and solid performance for any home kitchen or bathroom.